David_Hayes

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  1. Atlas Shrugged Video Contest

    The Atlas Shrugged Video Contest has been collecting entries for some time now; the deadline for entering passed December 8. Votes from the public (which results in a different prize than the decisions of the contest organizers' chosen judges) are ongoing, and will continue until December 22 -- just days away. I've viewed at all the entries on the site, and have prepared a guide to narrow viewing by Objectivists who are daunted by the high number of entries, distressed by seeing some unworthy entries, but who nonetheless want the most votes to go to entries that accurately convey what "Atlas Shrugged" is about, and which conveys that message in a skilled, coherent way. My remarks -- prepared for another forum, but presumably of value here -- are posted at: http://www.dhwritings.com/temp/VideoContest.html Despite the length of the remarks, I don't mean for them to be taken as the final word, and I encourage those who disagree or who want to supplement my remarks to add responses here. Nonetheless, there is a risk at present that the most votes will go to an entry that doesn't deserve to win, an entry from someone who managed to get friends to pump up the vote total. It would be better if that didn't happen.
  2. As Objectivists, most of the readership of this Forum should have come across several factually-based reports which tell what can be known with certainty of how Ayn Rand came to have that name (changing it from her birth name of Alissa Rosenbaum), reports which debunk the story of her having choosen her new surname from a Remington Rand typewriter. Still, the false story has turned up repeatedly in profiles of Ayn Rand, even after the published stories had made available the facts that make it clear to any researcher that the name-by-typewriter theory couldn't possibly be true. With that being the case, I have created a new web page which places at one convenient URL a documentation-filled (and illustration-filled) resource which should convince all but the most impossible-to-educate proponents of the name-by-typewriter theory. My page is Did a Remington Rand typewriter give Ayn Rand her name? Please be my guest in linking it on any web pages or in any message exchanges where you think it will reach people who would appreciate the facts -- or reach people who won't appreciate the facts but need to doubt what they thought they knew. -- David Hayes
  3. Man on Wire (2008)

    "Man on Wire" is indeed a fascinating documentary film. If you want to see another film with a character whose face tells onlookers that he is thoroughly absorbed by what he is doing, take a look at a fascinating work of fiction, a 1935 British film called "The Tunnel" (released in the U.S. as "Transatlantic Tunnel"). Richard Dix is a builder (in a future setting) obsessed by his construction of a tunnel under an ocean to connect two continents. Another virtue to the film: a fascinating discussion of music in an early scene that lets the audience see the connection between personality and tastes.
  4. Betsy at the Tea Party

    I have put online a selection of my photos of the Tax Day Tea Party in Washington, D.C.: http://taxday2010dc.dhwritings.com/ I have put into one section the various photos referencing "Atlas Shrugged."
  5. "YOU CAME ALONG"

    Those interested in knowing how the script of You Came Along came to take the shape that it did, may want to read my article “Ayn Rand vs. Hollywood Self-Censorship.” The article details where deletions and additions were made to the script, which I learned about by reading correspondence sent by and to Paramount Pictures and the movie industry's self-censorship organization (the Production Code Administration). The article covers not just You Came Along but also the two other films on which Ayn Rand receives screenplay credit. The article is available to be read freely at: http://productioncode.dhwritings.com/AR/AR_fr.html Those who read above about the “Pour la Merite” medals, “little black books” and “vital statistics” will find that such indicators of womanizing as those were among the script elements which troubled (if not alarmed) the script readers in the self-censorship office and resulted in correspondence asking that these character traits be eliminated or toned down. -- David Hayes
  6. I remember listening to the Limbaugh program in the early 1990s when a typical middle-America-type caller, obviously thinking Limbaugh would side with him, asked something like "What are we going to do to put our country back on the right course when there are all these ATHEISTS getting their feet in everywhere?" Limbaugh properly challenged the premise, saying (as best I can remember), in a gentle tone, "There's not a problem necessarily with people being atheists, because atheists can have their own moral base." He then went on to answer the question about how he saw the country being put back on the course he wanted to see it, and it was an answer that steered closely to the conventional Republican/conservative/mid-western line. Still, for that brief moment, he acknowledged that religion doesn't have an exclusive on morality, and he spoke as if he'd talked with perhaps a small number of people who'd figured out a structured moral system built without a god. At the time, I sensed the moment was uncommon for the radio program, but I had no reason to believe that anyone would care about it even a few years later. I believe that the Limbaugh radio show had yet to reach the full number of stations it eventually would, and that even some major cities did not yet have affiliates. Wouldn't there be a new hot host to replace him a few years later? At the time, I thought so. Limbaugh's reign on top of the ratings in his field at the national level for 15+ years was something I didn't foresee. Limbaugh has grabbed onto religion and religious morality to an extent that wasn't evident nearly two decades ago (Limbaugh's humor could be outrageous on sexual matters back then), even as he has made the positive step of discovering, understanding and endorsing Ayn Rand. I recall a listener who called in and spoke of the two authors he was reading whom were helping him understand and appreciate capitalism. One of them was a typical conservative hero, and the other was Ayn Rand. Limbaugh encouraged the reading of the first, then in closing the call, encouraged the caller to continue reading "that other author you mentioned." The tone was hurried, and I got the impression that Rand's name simply didn't register and that Limbaugh was glossing over his ignorance by hurrying through the wrap-up. Shortly thereafter, Limbaugh was absent for the day, and he had a substitute host who did know of Ayn Rand and wasn't about to give her a full endorsement. Getting a call similar to the one I recount in the previous paragraph, the fill-in host -- then-Congressman Bob ("B-1") Dornan -- said it was great that the caller continue to read Ayn Rand, "-- but don't let it lead you into anarchism"!!! Oh, brother, such "recommendations" (and such levels of "understanding" Ayn Rand) we don't need. Anyway, I think that we long-time Objectivists know the rest. In time, a few more callers brought "Atlas Shrugged" to Limbaugh's attention, and he began to read it. Even before finishing it, he began to share with listeners his interest in it, sometimes reading for five minutes passages that he discovered to be worthy of his audience's attention. The Ayn Rand Institute's newsletter reported specific dates that these broadcasts occurred, and approvingly noted the large size of Limbaugh's audience as boding well for Ayn Rand having an influence in the future. Returning to the subject of religion: There was a time when Limbaugh was careful to not speak in a way that pointed to himself as a believer. When he recounted to his audience that he saw Tim Robbins's movie "Bob Roberts" (1992; Limbaugh saw it shortly after its original release) and discussed a scene in it where a Republican politician excused himself from further speaking to reporters about a tragic incident because "I need to pray," Limbaugh prefaced one remark by saying "Now, you people who believe in prayer, you're not going to like this --." Limbaugh didn't say that he didn't like it nor identified himself as a believer in prayer. Speaking on other topics, on other dates, he sometimes prefaced a remark with a line such as, "Now you people who don't like abortion, you're not going to like this." One time when Bob Grant substituted for Limbaugh, Grant mentioned that Limbaugh knew that abortion was a divisive topic for his audience so Limbaugh didn't let it be a topic of conversation. There may have been audience-retention strategy involved in that decision by Limbaugh to let his own opinion not be expressed in his own voice. Whatever the case, those days are over (unfortunately).
  7. During most of the term of the first President Bush, Limbaugh ridiculed Bush (41) for not living up to the precedent set by Reagan. Of course, Bush deserved this. There was rich opportunity for comically berating the one-term Bush for such miscalculations as going to Japan to argue that Japanese should buy more American cars when American manufacturers were not willing to make cars with the steering wheels on the side of the car that Japanese need!! Anyway, such Limbaugh content disproves the assertion that Limbaugh campaigned hard for the earlier Bush to win. Limbaugh softened up as the 1992 election approached, but his practice was to slam Bill Clinton for his policies and then to remark, vis a vis Bush, "AT LEAST" the Republican candidate didn't go so far afield. Saying "AT LEAST" (words he emphasized) is far from a ringing endorsement; rather, it's acceptance of a lousy bargain. It's well-known that Limbaugh was invited to spend a night in the Lincoln Bedroom of the White House between the 1992 Republican convention and the 1992 general election. Reportedly, the Bush Administration was not aware of Limbaugh's popularity until he received thunderous applause while riding in the parade leading into the convention in Houston. At that point, the party or campaign may have sought to co-opt him. Arguably, Limbaugh did soften to the party as an institution. The days when Limbaugh seemed most to be doing the party's bidding occurred over two years later, after Newt Gingrich took over as Speaker of the House and began talking often to Limbaugh. I'll address Limbaugh's shifting attitudes on atheism, and his change in knowledge about Ayn Rand, in a subsequent post.
  8. The Tea Party Movement Goes to Capitol Hill

    I was at the 9/12 March and Protest in Washington on Saturday and shot numerous pictures. About 125 photos are online. The link is http://912dc.dhwritings.com. I made a point of showing a variety of the messages written on signs. Those naysayers who claim that the attendees were all of one mindset and that the mindset was mindlessly hate-Obama, aren't going by what is obvious in the facts. Anyone reading this who would like to forward the link to any disbelieving acquaintances so that they can see past what was in the major media, has my approval to forward the link. You'll see in the pictures that Objectivists were there. In addition, there were signs carried by people promoting "Atlas Shrugged" in a positive way. I write "in addition," because several may be fans of the novel without being Objectivists. Either way, they promoted a worthy message. As for the question several people have been asking here (as well as elsewhere): "How many people were at the march and rally?" I would like to be able to tell you. Like so many others who was both there and who knows the DC landscape, the number has to be at least in six digits. Other than that, I'll continue to read intelligently-deducted analysis and look at crowd-overview photos as they become available. Just so everyone knows before they visit my linked page: I don't have expansive crowd shots. I simply didn't shoot any.