[identity profile] box_in_the_box.insanejournal.com posting in [community profile] scans_daily
For as much fail as it churns out, Big Hollywood occasionally offers some genuine gems.

I can't stand Objectivism, but I find Steve Ditko's treatment of it irresistibly compelling, perhaps because the comic book medium is a far more appropriate venue for such a Manichean philosophy than the thousand-page rape-justifying tomes that Ayn Rand routinely shat out (it certainly helps that none of Ditko's characters ever barfed up a 70-page screed like John Galt, not to mention the fact that Ditko actually managed to create characters who were more believable as human beings than any of Rand's strawmen or Mary Sues, even when his characters were radioactivity-powered superheroes).

The following four pages constitute "In Principle: The Unchecked Premise," a short story originally published in the 160-page graphic novel Steve Ditko's Static in 1988:






As crudely simplistic as it is, it's still better than either reading or watching the "fireplace scene" between Howard Roark and Dominique Francon in The Fountainhead, but then again, so is getting punched in the crotch until you hemorrhage internally and die.

Date: 2009-08-28 09:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mcspakypants.insanejournal.com
I can see the point Ditko was trying to make, and I somewhat agree with it, but damn I felt that while reading this someone was pressing a megaphone to my ear and screaming at the top of his lungs.

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Died of a theory

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Date: 2009-08-29 01:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] btravage.livejournal.com (from insanejournal.com)
That's funny, I can see the point the antagonists were trying to make, and I completely agree with them.

Date: 2009-08-28 10:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taggerung301.insanejournal.com
This was truly inspiring.
I'm never going to give money to charity, donate blood, or volunteer at a soup kitchen again. I need to completely focus on helping myself from now on, and I'm only going to help others if it is to my benefit. Why, I might go kick a few homeless people while I'm at it too.

Date: 2009-08-28 10:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mcspakypants.insanejournal.com
To be fair, I think Ditko's point was he doesn't like the concept of redistribution of wealth.

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Re: Okay, let's get this out of the way.

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What?

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Re: What?

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Re: An even darker view:

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Re: An even darker view:

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Re: An even darker view:

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Re: An even darker view:

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Re: What?

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Re: What?

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Why care about the difference?

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Date: 2009-08-28 10:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] runespoor7.insanejournal.com
No, it still just makes me want to start humming L'Internationale loudly.

Date: 2009-08-28 10:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fredneil.livejournal.com (from insanejournal.com)
While reading this, I thought that it just might be the dumbest thing I'd ever read. Then I got to the comments. The approving comments. The fawning comments. Those might be the dumbest things I've ever read.

Besides, I think the Romita era is the one where the characters-or at least Peter and Gwen- got their iconic looks, and things like this make me think that creating characters that were believable as human beings was what Stan Lee brought to the table.

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Date: 2009-08-28 11:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sandoz_iscariot.insanejournal.com
Besides, I think the Romita era is the one where the characters-or at least Peter and Gwen- got their iconic looks, and things like this make me think that creating characters that were believable as human beings was what Stan Lee brought to the table.

As talented and important as Ditko is, Romita's arrival really saved characters like Gwen and Harry. His "softer" art style helped change the way they were written, since by the end of his run Ditko's pen and "Peter against the world" attitude made them both very pinched and angry and toxic.

Date: 2009-08-28 10:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mechanicaljewel.insanejournal.com
It is very telling that he equates money with blood.

I'm too skeptical to belong to any religion, but screeds like these always make me appreciate Buddhism and Jesus (wish I could say Christianity, but that is so rarely applicable anymore). For all idiotic things people do in the name of God, as long as religion can occasionally make people think, "yeah, but is money really that important?" I'd say it's doing its job.

Date: 2009-08-28 11:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yaseen101.insanejournal.com
Actually though, moments like this makes me appreciate that I am a part of a religion. It helps keep me focused when it comes to things like Objectivism.

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Date: 2009-08-28 10:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jlbarnett.insanejournal.com
I'm glad more objectivist stuff was posted here. Because the more I've been thinking about it the more I realized something, but I didn't want to butt in on some random Question post or something.

Objectivism is so wrongheaded to me, it feels like some sort of communist plot. Convince the richest that they shouldn't have to help anyone, get them to step on the people below them until lower classes have no choice but to band together and remove them.

Date: 2009-08-29 01:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cmdr_zoom.insanejournal.com
It actually came out of Rand having the communists seize everything her family had, "for the people." Being on the receiving end of that can fuck you up in various ways.

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Date: 2009-08-28 11:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sandoz_iscariot.insanejournal.com
OH STEVE DITKO NO

Date: 2009-08-28 11:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] volksjager.insanejournal.com
Reminds me of Heyaks "The road to serfdom"

Date: 2009-08-29 08:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jlroberson.insanejournal.com
Very closely related.

And those that followed his ideas, the "Chicago boys," were able to justify Pinochet with it, on the basis that he turned Chile's economy around. Oh, and killed and tortured lots and lots of people, but if you ignore that--and Friedman did--sure. Omelets and eggs and all that. Or heads. Blood in the streets definitely helps traffic go quicker.

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Date: 2009-08-29 12:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greenmask.insanejournal.com
That is crazy.

Is all objectivism balanced on such shaky struts? :/

Date: 2009-08-29 12:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] iesika.insanejournal.com
Yeah, pretty much. Also bad writing and hyperbole.

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From: [identity profile] volksjager.insanejournal.com - Date: 2009-08-29 12:19 am (UTC) - Expand

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From: [personal profile] kingrockwell - Date: 2009-08-29 03:54 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2009-08-29 12:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thanekos.insanejournal.com
so the story is about a society of lazy vampires who've worked out a scheme that doesn't involve owning a blood bank.

gotcha.

Date: 2009-08-29 12:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greenmask.insanejournal.com
Vampires were my first thought also.

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From: [identity profile] greenmask.insanejournal.com - Date: 2009-08-29 01:11 am (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2009-08-29 01:41 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
"A man chooses. The Slave Obeys."

Date: 2009-08-29 01:51 am (UTC)

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From: [identity profile] proteus_lives.insanejournal.com - Date: 2009-08-29 02:19 am (UTC) - Expand

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Date: 2009-08-29 02:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] proteus_lives.insanejournal.com
Interesting to say the least.

Date: 2009-08-29 02:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dr_hermes.insanejournal.com
JUST IMAGINE... Steve Ditko as a radio talk show host!

Date: 2009-08-29 03:01 am (UTC)
kingrockwell: he's a sexy (Snarky Vic)
From: [personal profile] kingrockwell
It all makes sense!

Date: 2009-08-29 02:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pi216.insanejournal.com
Notice you never see a lot of medical practitioners or emergencies in Objectivist texts? There's a reason for that:

You can't negotiate between Most Equals, shining beings of world-spanning intellect and godlike economic prowess when your appendix ruptures.

That open market consists of "the guy with the knife, Shop-Vac, fishing line, and bread mold". Either you pay everything you have and everything you can be leveraged into promising, or you die.

Oops.

Date: 2009-08-29 02:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] colonel_green.insanejournal.com
That's fair, as far as Objectivists see it. Rand even goes so far as to have the world's top doctor be among the persecuted inventors taking shelter from the world. He shows Dagny a dazzling array of medical technology and procedures he has come up with, but which will not be shared with the outside world because the world doesn't own him.

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From: [identity profile] vignettelante.insanejournal.com - Date: 2009-08-29 07:35 am (UTC) - Expand

Oh my lord

Date: 2009-08-29 02:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nefrekeptah.insanejournal.com
You know what is? People are making educated arguments, and actually respecting what the other guy has to say! People are debating many of the finer points of objectivity or evolution, but NO ONE has resorted to name-calling or insults. In short, we're having intelligent conversations here.

...isn't this breaking the laws of the Internet? Quick, someone say something offensive or insulting before somebody caches us!

Re: Oh my lord

Date: 2009-08-29 02:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pi216.insanejournal.com
Welcome to the results of the aging of the Internet. The wrinkles and creaking are hell, but the side benefits are GREAT ;-) .

Re: Oh my lord

From: [personal profile] kingrockwell - Date: 2009-08-29 03:05 am (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2009-08-29 03:02 am (UTC)
kingrockwell: he's a sexy (Snarky Vic)
From: [personal profile] kingrockwell
To be fair, everyone in Ditko's Question were either Mary Sues or strawmen. It was pretty bad.
(deleted comment)

Date: 2009-08-29 06:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jlroberson.insanejournal.com
I hate to say this, but this kind of Ditko has always made me think of "What if Jack Chick were an atheist?"

The main problem with Ditko, and Objectivism(and this is coming from someone who in high school was part of the cult, so I'm more critical perhaps than most of it), is that it mistakes its strawman principles for exact reality. It's one thing to say it as an allegory. But when reading this I get the feeling that when Ditko looks at the world this is what he actually sees, just like this.

It's also one thing to say one should have the CHOICE to help others. Fine. But some objectivists take this as an excuse to NEVER help others, as a matter of principle in itself. It's not that you should never help others, it's that you should have the freedom to choose. But many just use it as a justification for their own lack of any empathy for others and think the act of freedom is in the refusal, not the consideration of the question. This is where it becomes a philosophy of sociopathy.

Rand was never helpful on this as she always looked at it from the negative angle. I remember the essay in VIRTUE OF SELFISHNESS that started my own break with her. It had to do with the question of whether you should save a drowning man if it puts yourself at risk. She did not even address the question(because, I don't think she could) but rather spent pages avoiding the question as not worth considering in the first place. That, to me, was cowardice.

Also, I believe that Objectivism nearly always, if taken to Ditko's(or even Rand's--if you've read THE ROMANTIC MANIFESTO, and I do not recommend it) level, nearly always results in bad art. It has a way of turning it into nothing but more regurgitation of Objectivist talking points, and artists into missionaries. And no, the "hero" is not the only worthy subject of art, and art is not always meant as a moral example, a type of thinking that only can lead to stiff, useless propaganda. Those principles are the same as those that inform socialist realism, an irony also not lost on me back then.

Date: 2009-08-29 07:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sandoz_iscariot.insanejournal.com
VIRTUE OF SELFISHNESS

I still can't get over the fact that she actually has a book with that title. In a way, it says everything about Ayn Rand in three words.

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From: [personal profile] kingrockwell - Date: 2009-08-29 04:37 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2009-08-29 11:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] psychop_rex.insanejournal.com
You know, it would be a lot easier to take Ditko's little sermons more seriously if he'd stop taking EVERYTHING to the illogical extreme. I mean, I agree with him up to the point that I don't think it should be a law that you HAVE to give blood, but after that, he goes crazy-wackers-nutso-wacky-jamjar. Even allowing that it's meant as a metaphor for something else, and not to be taken literally, the whole 'one drop of blood turns into millions' concept is preposterous. It wouldn't be just one person involved - it'd be millions, and if you take the initial premise of giving one drop of blood a year for one person, that's actually a very good idea - same with the last-panel example of one cent. If every person on Earth, or even just in the US, donated one drop of blood and one cent a year, there'd be enough donated to take care of every blood transfusion in the world and pay for every operation - not to mention disaster relief, etc. But no, Ditko has to go for it being ONE MAN, and the horrible death and the begging and the sucking dry and the crazy weeping maniacs and bleh.
Also, did anyone else notice that the allegorical first panel makes absolutely no sense, and has nothing whatsoever, that I can see, to do with the rest of the story?
...
Ditkos is da cwaaaaaaaziest peoples...

Date: 2009-08-29 01:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xandertarbert.insanejournal.com
Uh, you might want to inflate that penny to something more drastic. We're at around six billion, last I checked, so a penny from each is sixty million. That's not enough to even give everyone one meal a year. National debt for America is going to hit the nine trillion dollars point in 2012.

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Date: 2009-08-29 04:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mania21.insanejournal.com
I do believe that the reason God allows evil in the world is so that it gives good meaning and allows one to strengthen ones soul, I feel Boy in the Box is forgetting that where there is God there is also the Devil.

My mother once said something that made a lot of sense to me.
Man can only understand things that have a beginning and an end, while God always has been and always will be.

Date: 2009-08-29 07:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jlbarnett.insanejournal.com
only because God created him.

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