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Ayn Rand interview with Donahue

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konerko14
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I ran into these on another Objectivist forum (the one that Barbara Branden frequents) and watched the whole set. I missed that show because it aired while I was at work, so this was a wonderful opportunity to see her one last time. It made me feel wonderful again! Gawd, I love that woman for her sharp mind and clarity of thought!

Did anyone get the impression that she has a terrible temper? The reason I ask, is because folks on that "other" forum consider her almost a monster. I have attended many of her lectures throughout the 1960s-70s and never once got the impression that she retorted in a bad way--when a stupid or insulting question was asked, the person got the response they deserved. Rand is blunt, to the point and doesn't waste time on BS questions. And I thank her for not wasting my money by spending a minute more than necessary on those idiots. She dispatches them effectively and with facile.

There is a war of factions going on: the Brandens vs. the "Sense of Life" Objectivists. It's pretty polite, but there is a rivalry going on. But I see the truth when I watch Ayn Rand on television.

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I got the opposite impression; Rand was unexpectedly polite given that schlep of a host Phil Donahue. In fact, I thought she must have been in on a secret concerning him, because I saw no reason why she would agree to appear on his show.

That is the first I've seen of Rand "in action," off of the pages of her book, and I was surprised by how mellow she was compared to her tone in her essays.

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Did anyone get the impression that she has a terrible temper?

No, not at all. That person was being a total and complete rude jerk and was smiling with smug satisfaction when Donahue and the crowd reacted negatively to Miss Rand's proper response.

The whole thing gave me the impression of a world run by children with a lone adult calmly trying to explain the way things really work.

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Ayn Rand is just great!

It's her face, her eyes, her expressions as she thinks that I enjoyed the most. It's amazing to see her philosophy embodied in herself: in her mental focus inwards, in her eyes that are bright with intelligence and enjoyment, in her sharp tounge.

If this is how a sad person looks like, how on earth does she look when she is happy? :fool:

I just love watching her.

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What is the expiration of copywrights for television shows?
The interviews were taped in May 1979, as I understand. Expiration dates aren't subject to differences of type, i.e. books, paintings etc. are all the same. For works created after 1-1-78, the duration is according to current law, namely "life plus 70", and I would imagine that the "life" in question is the life of Phil. I'm not really trying to stir up a hornet's nest, I just find the whole treatment of IP in contemporary society kind of depressing, and yet I don't actually think that IP-lawbreakers are generally evil, they are literally not aware that these items are still considered to be property, and not in the public domain.
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I got the opposite impression; Rand was unexpectedly polite given that schlep of a host Phil Donahue. In fact, I thought she must have been in on a secret concerning him, because I saw no reason why she would agree to appear on his show.

That is the first I've seen of Rand "in action," off of the pages of her book, and I was surprised by how mellow she was compared to her tone in her essays.

Can you believe that the folks who wrote PAR cited her behavior on that Phil Donahue show episode as 'evidence' of her "terrible" temper? My reaction was to say "Bovine excrement!!!"

It does seem like Barbara Branden has spent the last 38 years of her life in a smear campaign. I could not believe some of the charges. It makes is seem like Miss Rand was totally irrational and emotionally-driven, outside of her writings. This, I cannot believe or accept. And I have met her myself, in the late 1960s and got nothing but a positive sense of her personality.

I only stumbled into that forum, OL, because of a search for the name of Allan Blumenthal, an Objectivist psychologist whom I had seen in 1971. I had been at one of his concerts at Carnegie Hall a few years earlier, too. What a talented man!

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I woudn't say that Rand displayed a 'terrible temper,' but she was a bit on edge. Nothing terrible, but when that woman implied that she ran a cult, the best thing Rand could have done would have been to laugh at her. As it happened, Rand's words expressed one thing, and her voice tone and body language expressed something totally different, as if what that woman had to say actually mattered.

Also, if I read the posts on this thread and had not seen the inteview, I would have believed Rand to be flawless as a television personality. This just wasn't the case. She was quite nervous, though nothing detrimental to her performance. Her posture was tight, she looked down every so often, and her voice seemed to quiver.

Rand was a great thinker, but a great personality she was not.

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I woudn't say that Rand displayed a 'terrible temper,' but she was a bit on edge. Nothing terrible, but when that woman implied that she ran a cult, the best thing Rand could have done would have been to laugh at her. As it happened, Rand's words expressed one thing, and her voice tone and body language expressed something totally different, as if what that woman had to say actually mattered.

Also, if I read the posts on this thread and had not seen the inteview, I would have believed Rand to be flawless as a television personality. This just wasn't the case. She was quite nervous, though nothing detrimental to her performance. Her posture was tight, she looked down every so often, and her voice seemed to quiver.

Rand was a great thinker, but a great personality she was not.

One must also take into account that this interview occured just a few months after the death of her husband, Frank O'Connor. I'd say she handled it remarkably well for the first public appearance since becoming a widow.

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Also, if I read the posts on this thread and had not seen the inteview, I would have believed Rand to be flawless as a television personality. This just wasn't the case. She was quite nervous, though nothing detrimental to her performance. Her posture was tight, she looked down every so often, and her voice seemed to quiver.

Rand was a great thinker, but a great personality she was not.

I think that what you may have seen as nervousness, I wrote off to the fact that she was 80 years old at the time of the interview. In fact, she sounded and moved almost like my 80 year old grandmother before she died, except that Rand's intellect was razor sharp.

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I think that what you may have seen as nervousness, I wrote off to the fact that she was 80 years old at the time of the interview.
I did the same thing. Her accent was difficult (and surprising) for me, as well; I think it would be reasonable to assume that she exhibited common mannerisms of people in Russian, not America, and especially not American television.
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Also, if I read the posts on this thread and had not seen the inteview, I would have believed Rand to be flawless as a television personality. This just wasn't the case. She was quite nervous, though nothing detrimental to her performance. Her posture was tight, she looked down every so often, and her voice seemed to quiver.

Rand was a great thinker, but a great personality she was not.

How do you know she was nervous? How many 80 year olds do you know whose voices don't quiver? A great personality she was!

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One must also take into account that this interview occured just a few months after the death of her husband, Frank O'Connor. I'd say she handled it remarkably well for the first public appearance since becoming a widow.

Maybe her husband's death had been weighing her down, but it wouldn't be noticeable on national television. She would have forgotten her misery, at least for a few moments, sharing her philosophy under the bright lights. If not, then maybe I don't understand love.

I did the same thing. Her accent was difficult (and surprising) for me, as well; I think it would be reasonable to assume that she exhibited common mannerisms of people in Russian, not America, and especially not American television.

Body language is universal. You can tell if someone is confident by the way they conduct themselves, regardless of where they're from.

Also, if Rand wasn't nervous, or on edge, then she wouldn't have become stilted and upset when that woman implied objectivism was a cult. To quote Dagny: "We never had to take any of it seriously." Rand showed she wasn't at ease by taking something seriously that wasn't. She didn't take it seriously with her words, but rather with how she acted.

Think about it. Have you ever made a point, or held a position in a discussion that you knew was unassailable, then someone interjected with a criticism that was either unimportant or of no relevance? What do you do? You don't get mad, you don't become stilted or self-conscious. You laugh. You are able to recognize the insignificance of that person's remarks.

How do you know she was nervous? How many 80 year olds do you know whose voices don't quiver? A great personality she was!

And age has nothing to do with it. Some of the most confident people I've seen have been elderly.

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Maybe her husband's death had been weighing her down, but it wouldn't be noticeable on national television. She would have forgotten her misery, at least for a few moments, sharing her philosophy under the bright lights. If not, then maybe I don't understand love.

Uh, no. You don't. And that's a gross understatement.

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Think about it. Have you ever made a point, or held a position in a discussion that you knew was unassailable, then someone interjected with a criticism that was either unimportant or of no relevance? What do you do? You don't get mad, you don't become stilted or self-conscious. You laugh. You are able to recognize the insignificance of that person's remarks.

And age has nothing to do with it. Some of the most confident people I've seen have been elderly.

Since there was absolutely nothing humorous in that lady's statement, I can't imagine that a person who responded with laughter would be confident or anything other than psychologically disturbed. I didn't percieve Ayn Rand's reaction as stilted, nervous, on edge, excessively angry, or self-conscious. She dismissed the person, and was courteous enough to provide a reason for why she was dismissing her. Perhaps Ayn Rand recognized a significance in that lady's remarks that you are overlooking, because AR took ideas seriously, and was aware of the disaterous consequences that bad ideas can have?

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I see that some of you are suggesting that Ayn Rands personality or the way she speaks was altered by her old age and the fact she just lost her husband. So if you want to compare an older Ayn Rand to a slightly younger Ayn Rand, heres an interview she did in 1961:

http://www.americanwriters.org/archives/player/rand.asp (click on ayn rand interview)

Edited by konerko14
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It was delightful and inspirational to watch Ayn Rand in action at age 74 (she stated during the show that she was born in 1905 and the show was published in 1979, therefore, I conclude that she was 74 give or take a year given her exact DOB).

To those who conclude based on their personal observation that she appeared "on edge" or "nervous"... I don't necessarily disagree. I had a similar first impression. Let me be clear: Ayn Rand is the epitome of moral and psychological strength in my assessment; however, her mannerisms do not correspond to my personal stereotypes of moral and psychological strength for the following (subjective) reasons:

1) Her body language was "defensive"...she appeared to anticipate disagreement as a response to her statements either from the host or the audience (in my opinioin, this expectation was warranted and likely based on empirical evidence),

2) Her eye movement and her verbal reactions are quick and precise. In my experience, many individuals associate this behavior with guilt (i.e., they infer that this behavior is in response to an a priori expectation of accusation). In Ayn Rand's case, I attribute these reactions to the following:

a) A superior, and consequently more efficient intellect (one that is able to process questions/comments very quickly and thus react to such in an efficient manner),

:nuke: The cumulative experience of a 74 year old philosopher who is used to her statements being subject to criticism, ridicule, or exagerated reaction.

In my opinion, what you may have just viewed is analogous to the result of Atlas bearing the weight of the world on his shoulders for 74 years. Ayn Rand stood her ground to the end and did not budge. If possible, I respect her now even more than after reading The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.

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I see that some of you are suggesting that Ayn Rands personality or the way she speaks was altered by her old age and the fact she just lost her husband. So if you want to compare an older Ayn Rand to a slightly younger Ayn Rand, heres an interview she did in 1961:

http://www.americanwriters.org/archives/player/rand.asp (click on ayn rand interview)

This link should launch the video directly.

Edited by Bold Standard
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