July 2013

Ayn Rand, Fictitious and Real, on Pop Culture

by Joey deVilla on July 26, 2013

Fictitious Ayn Rand on Pop Culture

john hodgman ayn rand

In the current edition of the New Yorker, John “I’m a PC” Hodgman takes her 1980 interview on the coddler-of-the-weak Phil Donahue’s show (it actually happened — see below for more!) and imagines a slightly different universe in which that appearance gave her a pop-culture boost, leading to her becoming one of the celebrity panelists on Match Game and a special guest on Fantasy Island as the Spirit of Capitalism. In this alternate reality, Ms. Rand was also given a column in Parade magazine, from which Hodgman “transcribed” some excerpts in a Shouts and Murmurs column titled Ask Ayn.

My favourite bit:

My moral philosophy is founded on the idea that there is an objective reality, and that man’s senses can perceive this objective reality. This faculty, which is man’s reason, is paramount above all else. He takes for evidence only his own experience, his own judgment, and that is why I do not hesitate to say, objectively, definitively, that “Caddyshack” is the year’s best movie.

Rodney Dangerfield plays a self-made man who is not ashamed of his ambition, who does not apologize for his success, and who gets excitement from the joyful reality that we are all going to get laid if we are willing to be productively selfish and to stop coddling the weak. In other movie news, I did not like how easily the boy escaped Jack Nicholson in “The Shining.” I have solved all the hedge mazes in the United States and Europe, and I can tell you they are not that complicated.

I loved Caddyshack too! Go and read the rest of the article; it’s quite amusing.

Real Ayn Rand on Pop Culture

charlie's angels

Ayn Rand may not have really been a fan of Caddyshack, but she was a big fan of Charlie’s Angels. In April 1980, Jerry Schwartz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution interviewed her, and she went on about a number of topics. Among them were her being unimpressed with Jimmy Carter (not a surprise) and Ronald Reagan (cue the sound of a lot of Republican heads exploding over this fact), the differences between Europeans and Americans, and her appreciation of the TV shows Kojak and of course, Charlie’s Angels. The recording is available online, but don’t think you’re getting it for free, you nanny-statist parasite! It’ll cost you 99 cents at the Ayn Rand Institute eStore.

You can hear her talk about her love for Charlie’s Angels in her interview with Phil Donahue, which took place not long after the Jerry Schwartz interview. He asks her about the show starting at the 5:55 mark.

Why does she love the show? In her own words:

It’s the only romantic television show today. It’s not realistic. It’s not about the gutter, it’s not about the half-wit retarded children, and all the other kind of shows today. It’s about three attractive girls doing impossible things. And because they’re impossible, that what makes it interesting. It shows three young girls who are…better than so-called “real life”.

That is both an apt summary of Charlie’s Angels and my definition of very good porn.

farrah fawcett

Damn right I had this poster in the late 1970s!

Farrah Fawcett and Ayn Rand shared a birthday: February 2nd. They also shared a correspondence, in which Rand expressed great admiration for Fawcett as well as a wish to cast her as Dagny Taggart in a movie version of Atlas Shrugged. In Farrah’s Brainy Side, an article published in 2009 in the Daily Beast, Amy Wallace presents some excerpts from an email conversation with Fawcett (which is surprisingly coherent, but perhaps that’s the funny/sad appearance on Letterman — here’s part 1, here’s part 2 — that’s colouring my opinion).

I’ll close with a quote from Farrah from the email exchange:

I don’t remember if Ayn’s letter specifically mentioned Charlie’s Angels, but I do remember it saying that she was a fan of my work. A few months later, when we finally spoke on the phone (actually she did most of the speaking and I did most of the listening), she said she never missed an episode of the show. I remember being surprised and flattered by that. I mean, here was this literary genius praising Angels. After all, the show was never popular with critics who dismissed it as “Jiggle TV.”

But Ayn saw something that the critics didn’t, something that I didn’t see either (at least not until many years later): She described the show as a “triumph of concept and casting”.


Me vs. the Eldredge Tie Knot

by Joey deVilla on July 25, 2013

Even though I think that the Eldredge Tie Knot announces to the world that you’re trying too hard, I’ve given it a try our of sheer curiosity. I’ve followed the diagrams, but my attempts generally end up looking like the photo on the bottom:

eldredge tie knot

I get the feeling that it was created by men’s store owners in order to create more wear and tear on ties and boost sales.


whitehorse gavel

What happened when the production team at a local cable TV channel in Whitehorse was told “hey, you’ve got to make an ad promoting our broadcast of city council meetings…and try to make it look interesting”? They got creative and gave their promo a wonderfully over-the-top “based on the best-selling John Grisham novel” treatment using only stock footage and library music:

This is brilliant, and it’s an idea that local cable TV here in Toronto should borrow. We’ve got waaaay more interesting footage to work with, including this “never gets old” gem:

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Star Wars vs. Game of Thrones

by Joey deVilla on July 24, 2013

star wars vs game of thrones 1

star wars vs game of thrones 2

star wars vs game of thrones 3

star wars vs game of thrones 4

star wars vs game of thrones 5


photoshopped abs

Either that, or he’s found an exercise that gives you the elusive ten-pack, or “metric abs”!

This and many other things that suggest that people should take a break from dating all appear in a funny/sad Buzzfeed article titled 30 People Who Should Have Their Dating Privileges Revoked.


This Morning’s Ride

by Joey deVilla on July 23, 2013

I spend most of my days working for a client in the Bloor and Sherbourne area, which makes for a nice bike run to and from “the office” on the bike pictured above. By taking my bike, I get gym time — the aerobic part, anyway — and an almost cost-free commute, all at once!

Here’s yours truly at the start of the ride:

bike ride 1

I had a pretty straight run of green lights from Bloor and Keele all the way to Bloor and Shaw:

bike ride 2

…then got a quick look at Christie Pits

bike ride 3

…got a good look at the Honest Ed’s sign, because it might not be around for much longer

bike ride 4

…and then had a good run of green lights from Bathurst to Bedford.

That’s when I saw this gentleman on his electric bike. C’mon, kid, you’re young, have both legs and seem to be in shape — either get a moped, motorbike or motorized wheelchair, or just stop being lazy and do some actual pedalling! 

bike ride 5

From this point on, I can practically coast into the office:

bike ride 6


If you read National Lampoon back in the 1970s and ’80s, you probably saw ad like the one below near the back of the magazine:

the pick up system no girl can resist

Back before Neil Strauss’ The Game (which I wrote about in My Invitation to Become a Pickup Artist) and the rest of the Pickup Artist and Seduction communities, before the Red Pill Reddite, before evolutionary psychology douchebags and before thealpha malesites in an increasingly whiny section of the ‘net calling itself the “manosphere” — before the current glut of how-to-date-and-live resources for guys where the overarching philosophy seems to align with Peter Griffin’s (“Women are not people. They are devices built by the Lord Jesus Christ for our entertainment”) — before all that, there was Eric Weber’s How to Pick Up Girls.

how to pick up girls

Written when it was still a relatively new thing to approach a woman to whom you hadn’t been introduced, How to Pick Up Girls made tantalizing promises of techniques that you could use to have the ladies eating out of the palm of your hand.

picking up girls made easy

There was enough demand for the book to justify the creation of an 40-minute album, in which you can listen to people in various settings — at the beach, walking in the dog, in a clothes store, at the library — acting out textbook-perfect pickups.

larry from threes company

The scenes sound as if they’re being acted out by “Larry” from Three’s Company (he was Jack Tripper’s womanizing buddy who lived int he apartment upstairs), and while they may have seemed a bit sleazy back then, in today’s pretty ungentlemanly dudebro/douchebro-driven dating scene, they now have a retro charm, and they remain high-larious. I’ve shared the album on SoundCloud, and you can listen to the entire thing below:

If you prefer Picking Up Girls Made Easy in single servings, the folks at WFMU have broken the pickups into individual MP3s, which you can listen to below: