Sunday, January 17, 2010

Molly and Ross!

"So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was."—quoted by John Nichols for The Nation[21] Original source: "The Fun's in the Fight" column for Mother Jones, 1993.[22]

Today I have made two discoveries while taking a short break from helping the Haitians.  One is Molly Ivins, quotes above, refering to the (Second) Iraq War. 

The other is singer/.songwriter Ross Altman.  Please go to YouTube and listen to his stuff.  It's good, really good chardi kala stuff.

Here is one sample, appropriately, his tribute to Molly Ivins.

OK, OK, I know that these are people I should already know, as an ancient activist, but, please, givem me a break. What with the stroke and my own efforts at nation building (Khalistan) and my various other actvities, I stay busy, and my 3/4 brain has only so much room. I am just one aging Sikh activist hippie (sort of, after all.) Please also check out Ross' song about Tienanmen Square. It's very chardi kala and yet brought tears to my eyes.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ayn Rand

Recently, I was asked what I think of Ayn Rand, the author.  Then the same subject came up on IHRO.  Here is my response. 

I have always considered Ayn Rand to be an interesting character, a period piece from the Stalin era.  She could write.  Man, could she ever write!  She could tell a story that could grip the reader from the first page to hundreds of pages later (skipping through the speeches, of course).  "Plot,"  she used to say, "plot, plot, plot and plot."  The woman could write.

Her most entertaining book, imo, was The Fountainhead, one heck of a good read.  And it is FICTION.  The most popular passage is where Howard the Hero rapes Dominique the Diva.  If you don't believe me, visit any library and open its copy - any copy - of The Fountainhead and see where it opens.  Case made.

This is pure fantasy.  She is an extremely imaginative fantasy writer who has created a fantasy world that some people mistake for our physical universe.  She herself was a  megalomaniacal person who first created this world and then attempted to live in it.  She was the god there and she managed to find others who worshiped her.  Some, including one of my dearest friends, still do today.  Quite an accomplishment for an atheist.  She reminds me of my high school friend who asserted that the perfect government system was a theocracy with himself as god.   She beat him to it.

My suggestion is to go ahead and read Ms. Rand's books - it is OK to skip over the speeches unless you want to study the structure of her Utopia of Ubermenschen - and enjoy them;  just remember that they are the fictional ravings of a deluded madwoman.  Her world is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there!  

And remember, it is all fiction.  Even her nonfiction, such as The Virtue of Selfishness,  is fiction.

And she romanticised smoking.

Top picture adapted from the cover of the book, Ayn Rand and the World She Made by Anne C. Heller: