December 29, 2005
Well, first of all, there's a reason people do that and it's because those terms are well defined in Objectivist texts. There's no point to making up new words and phrases when there is already a word that means exactly what one intends to say. It may sound repetitive, but if one is to complain about clarity and specificity, then one is not to be entertained in debate.
In other cases, particularly where alternative phrases could be efficiently substituted without sacrificing clarity, the use of a particular phrase is used to both communicate the specific meaning as defined in the Ayn Rand texts and pay homage to their originator.
Secondly, these same individuals said that these particular phrases are strange, weird, and robotic. They said no one talks or thinks like that. Except Objectivists, right? If Objectivists didn't talk or think like that, then there would be no complaint about the use of these phrases. And if everyone talked and thought like Objectivists, then everyone would be Objectivist.
But what I think was cute in the particular discussion I was reading, is that the speaker who made the vapid complaint about re-use of certain words and phrases went on in the discussion to ignore the definitions offered by Ayn Rand and substituted his own to try to disprove the Objectivist argument. Yes, that's right. He complained about the use of certain words, but ignored the meaning that was being used. Talk about dishonest!
In essence, his complain boils down to little more than displeasure over certain sounds in the English language.
Posted by: Martin Clarke at December 29, 2005 09:48 AM (3Pkqv)
I've seen variations like "AR," "Rand," and "Miss Rand."
So, yeah, as long as the reference is clear, I don't see anything wrong with variations on her name.
Posted by: Trey Givens at December 30, 2005 01:49 AM (jty8l)
For example in Gotthelf's book he uses "Ayn Rand" only. It gets annoying after a while.
Posted by: Martin Clarke at December 30, 2005 02:31 AM (xpn8s)
Also, it's extremely strange to use just the last name to refer to people (men or women) that you know (or knew). It seems rather rude, actually. So I've found it hard to continue referring to Leonard Peikoff as "Peikoff" in my writings (as I have for over a decade) since meeting him in the last few months, since that short usage seems dehumanizing, not to mention contrary to the "Leonard" way in which I think of him now.
It's also the case that last-name-only references aren't as clear when the name is fairly common, or when both a man and a woman share that name. (If someone started speaking of "Hsieh" this and "Hsieh" that, would they be speaking of me or Paul? And does "Peikoff" refer just to Leonard or also to Amy?)
I strongly dislike the whole "Miss Rand" usage, although I can see why people who used to call her that call her that still. And if an editor wanted me to just use "Rand" in an essay, I'd be happy to do so.
And frankly, if anyone seems obsessive, it's the people who want to see her referred to as only "Rand." I find that puzzling.
Posted by: Diana Hsieh at December 30, 2005 05:40 AM (m7u+F)
I don't know anyone who says Ayn Rand should only be referred to as "Rand." On the other hand, there seems to be an unwritten rule in certain camps that she must be called "Ayn Rand" (with maybe an occasional "Miss Rand" or "AR").
Posted by: Martin Clarke at December 30, 2005 12:28 PM (xpn8s)
From all that I've seen, the appellations commonly used are nothing more than the personal choices of various individuals, likely with people picking up on the habitual usage of others with whom they engage in intellectual discussion. And that's hardly noteworthy, since that's standard practice in any community.
Posted by: Diana Hsieh at December 30, 2005 01:21 PM (m7u+F)
Posted by: Britton at December 30, 2005 01:46 PM (V6WWL)
If someone says "Rand" how do we know they aren't talking about Austin Rand, Ivan Rand, or Remington Rand or even Rand al'Thor?
At least in an essay, if a person says "Ayn Rand" at the start, it's clear that all following references to Rand refer to her -- excluding cases in which the essay references multiple individuals who might be called Rand, of course.
Posted by: Trey Givens at December 31, 2005 05:46 AM (jty8l)
The only proper place for quoting her is establishing that the quoter and the questioner are 'on the same page', subject-wise (especially in definitions). --- Any quoting beyond that is clearly making oneself appear to be dogmatic-sounding (as in quoting 'The' bible.)
I accept Peikoff's (and Sciabarra's) dropping the use of the term 'Objectivist' (not to mention 'student of O'ism'). Unfortunately neither came up with a useful alternative term, (though Sciabarra does use 'Randian'). O-t-other-h, an SF writer, actually did come up with one (neutrally) in one of his long-ago novels: "Randite".
Re problems about there being more than one Rand (though there seem to none re Jefferson, Marx, etc)...this is a picayune concern; give it a break and get serious.
Posted by: Rowlf at December 31, 2005 09:07 PM (ksGTl)
No one is talking about quoting Ayn Rand and passing off the response as their own. We're talking about cases in which clear credit is given.
If Ayn Rand's words are correct and efficient, the appearance of being dogmatic is really of very minor concern. Such quotations do not merely make it clear that the quoter and the quoted on one the same page, but on the very same letter of the same sentence. If the original formulation is clear and correct, why bother trying to reinvent the wheel?
(Perhaps you can guess why I'm ill-suited to academic life.)
As for there being more than one person with the last name Rand, bear in mind that the fact is pointed out in response to a joking statement that "Rand" is an acceptable response on Jeopardy. My response, seriously, is an explanation of why I think the quiz show is wrong.
I see no good reason for constraining my remarks to only the broadest of topics. If I want to talk about acceptable quiz show answers or entertain explanations of traditional editorial practices when referring to external sources and speakers, then that's my business. For you to imply that I'm unaware of the scope of the particular topic is for you to insult my intelligence and assume the worst of not only me but my readers as well.
I am sad to report that I can't refer you to another blog that does restrain itself to the highest levels of abstraction eschewing all concretes below a certain level of specificity along with humor. I will suggest, however, that if the topics of discussion found here displease you, you should go read something else.
Posted by: Trey Givens at December 31, 2005 10:13 PM (jty8l)
Posted by: Diana Hsieh at December 31, 2005 10:40 PM (m7u+F)
VERY good question!
Unfortunately, I have a VERY dumb answer: NEVER.
I have no idea what I was thinking of (beyond redundantly over-thinking LP's dropping the use of 'student of...')
Let me rescind that dumbkoff statememt/implication which I made, here and now. Consider that statement 'no longer operative'. L Peikoff NEVER dropped the use of the term "OBJECTIVIST." --- I'll not make that kind of fawks passe again (slap, slap).
Clearly, from your response, I did misinterpret the subject of your main commentary; however, I was not responding to the follow-up comments to it. I thought you were talking about the subject of there being many so-called self-styled "O'ists" passing themselves off as bona-fide ones merely by quoting Rand as answers to others' questions (while occasionally arguing points against O'ism). Apparently my mistake; you weren't. Ok.
You say that I imply that you are unaware of the scope of a particular topic, ergo I have insulted your intelligence, ergo I have assumed the worst of you, and all (your readers) who read everything herein.
I don't see anything like that in what I wrote, Trey. Apparently insults are easy to see where they were never meant.
Such as what I see in your response.
Ok; I can take a hint.
GL w/your blog.
Posted by: Rowlf at January 06, 2006 07:47 PM (ARfSg)
I know that this particular discussion has been at points very small and the overall scope is very, very narrow. I would even say it's relatively unimportant. But for you to just flounce in here and tell everyone to give it a rest because you're annoyed that we're amusing ourselves with a relative triviality is just plain rude.
But I am glad you came back to clear up the Peikoff thing. That was really puzzling me.
Posted by: Trey Givens at January 07, 2006 03:58 PM (xYfsS)
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