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Everything posted by JohnRgt

  1. Patrick Henry

    Betsy, Thank you! John
  2. Hello Gang, How about a game? Scenario: You’ve just seen Spielberg’s _War of the Worlds_. While waiting for your first course at that flawless but unknown bistro by the train yards, _H.A.’s_, you’re discussing how Hollywood product doesn’t need to be mind-numbing to make money. Your mastery of esthetics, your passion, your understanding of the movie industry’s “physics,” and the endless examples you pull up to concretize your points, impress the Hollywood executive in the next booth. When you mention that Hollywood refuses to make Ms. Rand’s novels into movies even though it’s been demonstrated any numbers of times that they can make money, the movie mogul comes over with a bottle of champagne and that raw bar platter with the 4 ounces of iced osetra he heard you pass on because of the price. After swearing you to secrecy he sets the context: - Because of the intensity and unpredictability of both the Special Effects War, and the Most Mindless Product War, his investors want to diversify the studio’s product line. - After reviewing all available research, the studio has committed to testing the market by releasing one star-studded, “serious”, plot-heavy movie a year for the next three years. (This is a huge commitment, as one unprofitable movie can put a big studio “in the red” for the year.) - The numbers indicate that a big-budget remake of “The Fountainhead” is the best way to launch this effort. - He slyly reminds you of what everyone knows: there isn’t a single actor, director, or grip that can say “no” to him and/or give his producers a hard time. - He’s committed to giving veto power to an ARI intellectual to assure that the final product stays true to Ms. Rand’s intentions (his rock-solid marketing team has assured him that upsetting the “Randites” will kill the movie). His Qs: 1) How would your approach differ from the original film? 2) Who would you cast as Roark, Dominique, Cameron, Wynand, Keating, and Toohey? Why? (The make-up gurus can add or subtract up to seven years to a given actor’s age. At this time, careers are boosted when established actors gain or loose significant weight for a given role.) 3) Which well-known director would you pick, and why?* 4) Which cinematographer would you want, and why? 5) Which architect would you hire to design Roark’s buildings, and why? (Please provide a link for each talent you name.) * Given the millions of decisions a director makes, “The Fountainhead” should be directed by an Objectivist who has thoroughly integrated the philosophy into his life. No number of ARI intellectuals with veto power can make up for a director who either doesn’t “get it,” or “gets it” but doesn’t agree with it, or agrees with it but hasn’t integrated into his subconscious deeply – no matter how bright or benevolent he may be. Couple this with his obvious talent, and Mr. Paxton is the only real option for director. However, since I’m curious about which popular directors the membership likes, the game requires that the director be well known. JohnRGT
  3. GAME: You Have A Movie Mogul's Ear

    I’ll get us started: As many have said, I’d like to see the movie’s pace slowed down. The architecture used in the movie needs to be of the highest quality. No expense should be spared in the commissioning of the designs, realted sets, and the CGI-work needed for wide shots of the buildings. Roark: Viggo Mortensen Strong face. Good presence. There are worse actors out there. For Dominique: Nicole Kidman. Her presence gives her a decisive edge over my favorite Hollywood actress, the far more talented, far more alive, Kate Blanchett. ( ) (Just imagine both of these gals, in a Channel suit, standing over the granite quarry. Kidman, hands down.) Cameron: Paul Newman. Wynand: If the do-all be-all workout regiment can get him anywhere near an acceptable physique, I want John Malkovich. Irrespective of scene, JM always comes across as thoroughly in touch with the ugliness too many non-Objectivists think of as “reality.” I like that presence in the actor portraying Wynand. Further, JM is a stronger actor than most household names. Otherwise, Peter Coyoyte. Not a big star but he has everything else. Keating: Dermot Mulroney His presence fits the bill, he’s somewhat known. Toohey: Miguel Ferrer Good actor, strong presence, great voice, can look evil with ease. Director: Sam Mendes. His theatre background comes through in his films in a why I enjoy. I like the visual feel of his movies, something I attribute to the fact that both of his films were shot by one of my favorite cinematographers (see next answer.) Cinematographer: Since I just learned that Conrad Hall ( ) died a few years ago, I’m having a tough time with this one. I’ll go with Emanuel Lubezki because of the feel of “Meet Joe Black.” Architect: I don’t have one, which is one of the reasons I put this game together. I love most of the Frank Lloyd Wrights I’ve experienced but he died long ago. Further, he hated cities and didn’t like skyscrapers – so he claimed. I love his Mile High design. (Back in the 80s, a Japanese concern was thinking about a 500-story building in Tokyo. As soon as I saw drawings of this unbelievable undertaking in either _Popular Science_ or _Popular Mechanics_, I knew that Mile High was the main influence of the design.) Comments would be appreciated. JohnRGT
  4. Who Said this?

    Hello Gang, My two cents: I think Dr. Binswanger once said that in order to grasp Ms. Rand's meaning fully, one needs to spend something like 30 to 45 minutes PER PAGE. (Certainly Galt's speech qualifies for such analysis.) I think Dr. Locke once said that if one scans Atlas for mind-body issues, one will be underlining constantly. Regards, JohnRGT
  5. New York Sun LTE

    Hello everyone, I had the following LTE published in the 6/15 issue of the New York Sun. The “Cinderella Man” review I responded to poked fun at the depiction of Braddock as able to stand alone against the adversities of the Great Depression. The review criticizes the movie for not showing the actual mechanisms used by GD survivors: Community, Sacrifice, Hopeless Struggle, etc. (Capitals mine.) I trust no one on this forum would be surprised to know that the reviewer, James Bowman, writes for conservative publications. His site: <LTE> Re “The Fight Of Their Lives,” James Bowman, Arts & Letters, June 3, 2005. Mr. Bowman’s sly attacks on the notion that an individual can prevail against adversity were necessary; without them, he couldn’t use the Great Depression to argue for the altruist creed in a movie review. Though billions of dollars have been spent to convince us otherwise, Americans should never forget that it was bleeding-heart altruism that caused the Great Depression – not the determination of Americans to take advantage of a booming economy. In order to help postwar Britain rebuild, the Federal Reserve was “asked” to keep interest rates far below what the ever-increasing demand for capital necessitated. Removing the Invisible Hand from the valve that controlled the flow of investment moneys created a bubble whose heard-around-the-world burst is still seen as indisputable proof that unfettered capitalism doesn’t work. Where would prominent commentators, regardless of political leanings and religious inclinations, be without the millennia-old superstition of Original Sin? <End LTE> For more on the actual cause of the GD see Richard Salsman's material at ARB. JohnRGT
  6. New York Sun LTE

    Hello everyone, The following was printed in the 6/2 edition of NYSun. It's in response to the Sun's review of "Red Star Over Hollywood": "In 'What Made Them Talk,' Christopher Willcox asserts that, 'Artists, even empty-headed actors, should not be denied a livelihood because of their political beliefs.' "Setting aside that most of those blacklisted did far more than just hold radical political views, there can be no such thing as immunity from how others chose to respond to one's beliefs and actions -- not in a free society. "The mechanisms needed to provide such immunity negate the very concept 'Rights.' "Right, Mr. X?" <End LTE> (Mr. X is a Republican who lives in New York's Upper West Side. His OpEds discuss the hostility he's subjected to by the UWS's Ubber-Lefties.) The piece I replied to with the above featured a popular pic of Ms. Rand being sworn in by HUAC. The pic's caption reads, "NAMING NAMES/ Ayn Rand testi-/fies at a HUAC/ meeting in 1947." I reread Ms. Rand's HUAC testimony, here: To stretch the term "Naming Names" to apply to Ms. Rand's testimony is to negate language. If anyone would like to send a quick note to the Sun: Thanks for reading, JohnRGT
  7. Hi Gang, I'm not sure where to post this... Does anyone have an opinion on how damaging the editing of the Oxford Unabridged Dictionary, which started in 1922, has been? I ask because I’m torn between hunting down an old set and buying a copy of the tool-loaded CD-ROM edition. Thank you for your time. JohnRGT
  8. Oxford Unabridged

    For the millionth time, on as many subjects, Stephen, THANK YOU JohnRGT
  9. Weekly live discussions

    What a great idea!!! Chats with a theme (OPAR, CTUI, etc.) would be very helpful. If needed, our host "could present a bill for such services. Afterall, we are not communists..." Johnrgt
  10. Divesting Terror

    Mr. Salsman, Thank you. JohnRGT
  11. Mr. Salsman, Several investment funds have been pressuring companies to stop doing business in countries whose governments support terrorism. (From what I can tell, most of these companies are in the energy sector.) Can this practice force the regimes that control the world’s energy reserves to cut back the support they offer to terrorist organizations? Thank you for your consideration. Johnrgt
  12. Good Idea But...

    Hi Tom, It was a typo. Due to hardwre issues I'm using the local Internet cafe's computers. I guess I need more time on the keyboard model they use. Thank you for your time. Johnrgt
  13. Good Idea But...

    I had the following LTE published in the March 4 edition of the New York Sun: In “Uncle Sam Wants Tu,” Max Boot reminds us that the Pentagon can easily meet any foreseeable recruitment quotas by trading American citizenships for X-amount of military service with foreigners who are eager to become Americans [Opiniion, February 25, 2005]. If exercised, the effectiveness of this option will mask the crucial message America’s youth is sending by not signing-up to take part in the crisis that will, in all likelihood, define their generation, their Untied States of America, their world: If we would fight the War On Terror as we’ve fought wars in the past, America’s youth would answer the call for the same reasons they always have – it’s in their interest. If we continue on our current path, it won’t be long before even those most desperate to become Americans question our understanding of the situation and our determination to prevail. <end LTE> My submission was shortened. As printed, the LTE doesn't spell out what I mean by “as we’ve fought wars in the past.”
  14. I’m posting this badly written LTE to show the influence one can have on the media. (The day’s agenda left little time for a much needed sequence of rest and edits.) Background: The New York Sun has made the horror that is public education in New York City one of its issues. They’ve been strong supporters of improving the system through a variety of ways; they’ve even expressed support for approaches like tax credits and vouchers. On 10/4, the Sun ran a piece on Public Schools Chancellor Klein’s efforts to lift a NY State imposed limit on the number of charter schools NYC’s Public Schools can fund (this limit was put in place, and fiercely defended by, NY State’s very powerful Teachers’ Union for reasons Objectivist understand all too well.) On 10/6, it was announced that shock-jock and overall misanthrope, Howard Stern, was moving his program to satellite radio. (The FCC has been giving Stern and the companies that run his program a very hard time for more than a decade. Shortly after Stern switched from Iraq War supporter to critic, the FCC was no longer content with hearings and fines. It looked like Stern’s show, one of the highest rated and most profitable syndicated radio programs in the world, was about to be muzzled.) That afternoon I sent in my LTE. It wasn’t published until 10/12. In that edition there’s a piece by a former FCC commissioner on how out of control the FCC has become (I can’t help but think that my LTE got the Assistant Editor thinking that the usually reserved Sun should expose some of the FCC’s nonsense by using Stern’s situation as a springboard.) As published in the lead spot, my LTE read: Here's a multiple-choice question for charter school agnostics/opponents ["Klein Is Seeking To Lift The Limit On New Charters", October 4, 2004]: Howard Stern's move to satellite radio is to the Federal Communications Commission as choice-empowered parents will be to: a) Teachers' unions. The legislators, judges and bureaucrats these unions have significant influence over. c) The thoroughly discredited teaching methods these unions continue to embrace. d) The social engineering being done at the expense of the three Rs and the American Sense of Life. e) All of the above. The answer is: e) All of the above. A clever idea will enable Mr. Stern to simply bypass the arbitrary, potentially destructive, rights-defying practices of the FCC. If Mr. Stern establishes satellite radio as a viable alternative, and he probably will, the broadcast industry will grow beyond all recognition. Charters allow parents to bypass many of the entities and practices that have the mightiest nation on Earth graduating students with less academic skills and abilities than are required by the public school systems of many Third World nations. How do we maximize the benefits of sidestepping the entrenched, offer them to all, and do so in the fastest way possible while keeping costs under control? By bringing in, and diligently keeping the road clear for, key laissez-faire mechanisms: vouchers. <End LTE> (The biggest mistake in the above was using the term “laissez-faire”.) In the 10/15 weekend edition, a Sun editorial, _The Schools at a Crossroads_, reads: “But the more we observe the maneuvering of the politicians and the disappointment of parents, the harder it is to escape the conclusion that the best way to provide choice and quality would be to unleash some market forces with vouchers.” JohnRgt
  15. LTE Category

    Hi Stephen, How great that there's now a forum were Objectivists can work on LTEs. I'll certainly post the next one that geats published -- as I hope all members will. All the best. Johnrgt
  16. LTE Category

    Writing a Letter to the Editor (LTE), be it to a newspaper, a radio station, or a TV program, is one of the most effective ways to disseminate rational ideas. Even if they’re not published LTEs are read, and, if written well, they do have an impact – if only because they remind the entrenched that someone out there is watching/seeing through them. I suggest that this forum offer a category where LTEers can post their work, both to help those interested in refining this crucial skill, and for motivation. (MAybe as a subcategory in "CULTURAL ACTIVISM." I’ve had a few LTEs published. I rarely use Miss. Rand’s name for several reasons: 1) I’m not thoroughly familiar with all of Miss Rand’s work yet. 2) ARI’s writers do an incredible job at targeting LTEs and OpEds in a way that publicizes her very effectively (I’m eacquainted with a producer of a major conservative radio talk show. He’s made it clear that ARI LTEs and OpEds are read thoroughly.) 3) Publishable LTEs are very, very short, leaving little room to both make a solid argument and publicize Objectivism (“Ayn Rand said so” is the opposite of what, I think, is called for at this time.) 4) As incredible as Objectivism’s growth has been, and as certain as it is that it will prevail, there are still many in the media who have a negative, knee-jerk reaction when they come across Miss. Rand’s name. Why make it easier for these creatures to evade rational viewpoints? Robert Tracinski has published a great course on LTE writing. It’s available at ARB: Thank you all for your time. JohnRgt
  17. Toohey's Speech to Keating

    I always thought Witch Doctors were mystics. I don't see Toohey as a mystic; he just sort of plays one on The Banner so he can tap into the collectivism that typifies the masses. Toohey is extremely practical. He knows exactly what's going on in the world and has an excellent feel for what it will take to bring about a world where he rules, a political objective. He knows Roark is on of the greatest architects of all time. He knows what everyone around him is thinking and what they're likely to do. He knows what the clubs he sets up will "achieve". He works towards controlling unions and staffs in key positions. He knows that what he praises in his column, and how he justifies this praise, will make value judgments by those who fall for his manipulation impossible. He knows he needs the populous incapable of seeing right from wrong in order to rule. I don't see how any of this can be attributed to mysticism -- not primarily. Satirist Mort Saul appeared on the Leonard Peikoff Show once. Here’s a relevant exchange (from memory): MS: I never understood how an architecture critic amassed so much power. LP: Well, he worked and wheeled power behind the scenes – like Hillary Clinton. (I'm almost certain this show aired during Bill Clinton's first term.) Toohey, being a Rand villain, is a hundred times smarter, a thousand times more conniving, a millon times stealthier, and a billion times more effective/dangerous. He still failed. All the best. JohnRgt
  18. Toohey's Speech to Keating

    I think the term “selfish” should only be applied when what’s desired/pursued/achieved is pro-life. Toohey seeks to stall the motor of the world. This isn’t selfish – it’s suicide, no matter how gratified Toohey feels when he stalls Roark’s career by manipulating the ignorant and the cowardly. BTW, I’m not sure Toohey could turn things around: there must be a limit to how far a mind can go down a destructive path and still have the option of “coming back.” (Keating can't become an artist -- "it's too late." Wynand shuts down.) JohnRgt