One of the more interesting statistics that has caught my attention recently is the fact that Ayn Rand’s notorious opus ‘Atlas Shrugged’ has steadily climbed Amazon’s bestseller list since the start of the financial crisis; as I write this it’s #36 on their literature list. Setting aside the fact that the book has no business being on any respectable list of American literature – it’s a trashy pulp novel written for the sole purpose of delivering a treatise on Rand’s philosophy of ‘objectivism’ – that’s a pretty impressive sales number. Or perhaps ‘scarily impressive’ is a better word.
Need I say more?
Perhaps I should at least quote my dear, departed grandfather:
“Ulcers are what you get from kissing the asses of the people who shit on you.”
I don’t know about anybody else, but my tummy’s starting to feel a little queasy….
The two real political parties in America are the winners and the losers — Kurt Vonnegut
There is an old, decidedly un-PC joke which goes:
Q: What do you say to a woman who has two black eyes?
A: Nothing – she’s obviously not a very good listener.
Although it will no doubt offend some for being misogynistic & crass, the deep truth from which this bit of barroom bonhomie derives its comedic punch (as it were) has nothing to do with gender. No, what triggers a grimacing chuckle is the recognition of the universal truth that when first and second bruisings don’t engender wisdom, words are hardly likely to make much of a difference.
From ‘The Conservative Lie‘, one of my fave emperor’s-new-clothesers, a link to a schadenfreude-fully wonderful set of profiles of (mostly) right-wing war-mongers who somehow managed never to expose their shiny white heinies the one human endeavor they otherwise so enthusiastically promote.
What an excellent idea! We’re going to try to head down…maybe we’ll see some of you there?
In response to:
New York Times | April 29, 2010
Young Ross indulges himself in the tired right-wing canard of using a one-off counter-example to try to gloss over a statistical reality. My rhetoric professor would have given him high marks, but my political science professor would probably have flunked him for trying to sell such an absurdity. Read more…
In response to:
New York Times | September 1, 2010
What strikes me about Beck’s stranger-than-fiction jeremiad, (or jihad, if you prefer), and about the whole Palin/Armey/O’Reilly axis of “virtue” in general, for that matter, is the artful way in which Christian themes are grafted onto the discussion. As we all know, Christianity has absolutely no franchise on values of decency, compassion, respect for others, or the acceptance of what Mr. Brooks calls “a restraining values system.” In fact, Christianity (like most every other religio-political movement) has a notably mixed record with regards to those universal human values…its unfortunate tendency to bully unpopular minorities (Jews, gays, Muslims, etc.) is ample evidence that relying on “The Good Book” to provide the warp and weft of our social fabric yields a weak cloth, at best.