“Ayn Rand Assholism” as Institution/Ideology

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GQ link via Tertiary, thanks.

If you read any rant today, make sure it’s “The Bitch Is Back”. (Be warned: should you happen to think Objectivism is nifty, you may not appreciate it quite as much.) Andrew Corsello’s essay for GQ concerning author/philosopher Ayn Rand’s followers and her work’s lingering influence over global economics and politics is a raw, rambunctious, damning piece of work. Here’s a choice excerpt:

In the end, it’s not the books but the smug, evangelical certainty of Ayn Rand Assholes that causes me to loathe Ayn Rand in a personal way. The thing I liked most about college was being around so many young people who were as earnest as they were dauntingly smart. People who didn’t (yet) feel the need to own every room they walked into. People who knew how to ask questions. That was it. All that elevated question-asking, and the pliancy of temperament it entailed.

We were children. Then came Rand, “the Rosa Klebb of letters,” as entertainment journalist Gary Susman calls her, to body-snatch some of the best of them. Rhetorical question: Is there anything more irritating than a 20-year-old incapable of uttering the words “I don’t know”?

Actually, there is: an 82-year-old Alan Greenspan admitting in October 2008—at least ten years too late—that he’d found “a flaw in the model that I perceived as the critical functioning structure that defines how the world works.”

WORD. Wish I still had the email address for this kid in my high school econ class who used to carry Rand’s photo around in his wallet and habitually referred to people as “subnormals”, just so I could send him the final, frothing paragraphs of Corsello’s essay.

See also:

Better Than Coffee: 5 Octaves

We can’t all be Freddie or Klaus or Alfred or Jimmy.

Still, ain’t no harm in tryin’, is there?

Well, is there?

Take a listen to these gents before you decide.

Nadya’s Birthday Beefcake

Happy birthday, comrade Nadya. Can you believe it’s already been a whole year?! So much has happened in that time. You endured intense hardship and celebrated huge victories, moving from LA to London to San Francisco. You collaborated with remarkable people and accomplished admirable feats. Hell, you even manged to stop biting your nails! Congratulations.

Every single day, your efforts and encouragement continue to hold Coilhouse together. You really are our tiny, sexy tube of superglue. We’re stuck on you like clock gears hot-gunned to a cosplayer’s cotton poly-blended bloomers.

Now, we realize it’s not much (certainly not a $53K Lady Yu porcelain action figure), but still, we wanted to  make a concerted effort to celebrate your birth properly this year, with vaguely unsettling Russian animation…

Plenty of cake…

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…and of course, party hats.

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Now blow out the candles! (Hint: they’re under the shar peis.)

Love on ya, Lev. Many happy returns.

Friday Afternoon Movie: They Live

It’s been quite a hiatus for the FAM. Why that was, no one knows. Perhaps the FAM was in hiding, on the lam after a particularly large methamphetamine deal went decidedly South; or maybe the FAM has been kept in a dank, dingy basement for the past two or three weeks, the unwilling plaything of a cruel and demented mistress. Like I said, we’ll never know. But the FAM is back, albeit with a gaunt visage and a faraway look in its eyes. Poor, poor FAM.

To ring in its return we present to you, our adoring, viewing audience Rowdy Roddy Piper’s breakout film, They Live; directed by the one and only John Carpenter. Now, I realize that there has been a particularly heavy dose of Carpenter on the FAM as of late and, rest assured, this will be the end. For a while. Hopefully. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. They Live is the story of a young man named George Nada who comes into the possession of a pair of sunglasses that allow him to see the truth lying under the surface of our perceived reality. That truth being that the world is controlled by skull-faced aliens who jerk us about like puppets through the use of hidden, subliminal messages. This lifting of the veil terrifies Mr. Nada and he is encouraged to save the human race by masticating chewing gum and “kicking ass”. He is partnered with Kieth David — who previously appeared in Mr. Carpenter’s The Thing — who plays the part of Frank Armitage. Frank Armitage is also the pseudonym that Carpenter used when he wrote the script and is also the name of a character in The Dunwich Horror by one Howard Phillips Lovecraft. The story of They Live a has equally pulpy roots, the plot being taken from both “Eight O’Clock in the Morning” by Ray Nelson, originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and a story called “Nada” from a comic entitled Alien Encounters by both FantCo and Eclipse.

It is no surprise then that They Live turned out the way it did. This is a classic sort of quick and dirty sci-fi, with brash, one-liner-spewing heroes and a central premise masquerading as social commentary. But you know what? As cheesy as They Live can be — um, Rowdy Roddy Piper stars in this — it is still fantastic, a delectable morsel of Carpenter’s truly over-the-top films that are both unabashedly silly and truly enjoyable. It is mindless, yet guilt-free entertainment and sometimes, that’s all one need.

Exquisite Tymoshenko Doll Helps Orphans


[Image courtesy of Reuters]

Can one of you guys please get me this Yulia Tymoshenko doll for my birthday? A $53K porcelain representation of Lady Yu as Robin Hood, complete with a bow and arrow and leather boots fitted with spurs, isn’t too much to ask for this year, is it? Anyone? …guys? Okay, fine. I’ll settle for the homemade Barbie version. (Unless Marina Bychkova decides to take a stab at it.)

The dolly above, along with other figures of prominent Ukrainian politicians, was crafted by artist Yelena Kuznetsova for yesterday’s Ukrainian Doll Parade, an auction aimed towards raising money for the construction of an orphans’ rehabilitation center. Tymoshenko’s doll was by far the most popular; it was auctioned off for ten times the estimated price, according to news source RT.


Top row: L: Yulia shows the babybats how it’s done. R: Yulia and the Prince of Darkness. Bottom row: L: Yulia and her pet tigress, Tigrulya. R: Yulia knows how to accessorize.

The Coilhouse obsession with Tymoshenko (and, more recently, her tribe of Amazonian defenders) dates back to 2007. Since then, she’s been busy – negotiating oil disputes with Russia, campaigning for health reform, and galvanizing global support for leg-o-mutton sleeves and black lace. After falling out with President Yushchenko earlier this year, Tymoshenko announced her bid to run in the January 2010 Presidential Elections. While I’m neutral on Tymoshenko as a politician, I’m a staunch supporter of her hair and its commitment to solving the gas crisis.

Today is Tymoshenko’s birthday, so here’s wishing our Ukranian Dune Priestess the very best on her special day. Your update on Yulia’s gothic agenda, after the jump.

The Miniature Machines Of Szymon Klimek

Polish artist Szymon Klimek creates startlingly small models out of paper thin sheets of brass, which he displays in glass goblets. Even more astounding are his lilliputian, moving engines powered by the rays of the sun with the use of tiny solar panels. I have a raging nerd-on for work like this. I spent much of my youth attempting to hastily construct various types of models and miniatures. My lack of patience was a considerable hindrance, meaning that I left a long trail of shoddily painted plastic and wood behind me; amorphous piles of acrylic, enamel, and glue that in no way resembled the images that adorned their respective packages. One really must enjoy the process in order to construct magnificent pieces like Klimek’s and I, like many, am much more interested in the destination than the journey. I suppose that’s why they invented money.

via The Automata

(Belated) BTC: Yep, Douglas Wolk is Still Totally Rad

Have you guys been keeping track of Ignite? Such an invigorating concept: give a sharp-minded, silver-tongued, unabashedly geeky speaker five minutes on stage to present a “speedy presentation” on a topic of their choosing.  Said speaker gets 20 slides which rotate automatically after 15 seconds. “Enlighten us, but make it quick” is the motto.

In the three years since Ignite was founded in Seattle (by Brady Forrest and Bre Pettis), hundreds of these speedy presentations have been given. Ignite communities are cropping up in major cities worldwide. Earlier this year, the lovely Zoe Keating gave a chat titled “Should You Quit Your Day Job and Join a Rock Band?” at an Ignite event in Sebastopol. Just last week, Coilhouse’s favorite Eisner Award-winning culture journalist, Douglas Wolk, dropped this bomb on an appreciative audience in Portland:

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Click Wolverine to watch the video.

His talk, titled “Kant’s Critique of Aesthetic Judgement: Drastically Condensed Awesome Version“, is illustrated with a dazzling array of comic book panels. It is 100% pure Douglas, and 100% pure BADASSTICAL. Enjoy.

The Mysterious, Musical Megumi Satsu

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Intrigued. Enamored. Deeply amused. This is how I’m left feeling after watching Megumi Satsu videos. The striking French singer’s voice cascades like velvet and breaks like glass, while her hat collection is rivaled only by that of Grace Jones.

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She left her native Sapporo, Japan for Paris in the seventies. In France, the enigmatic Satsu captured the attention of surrealist poet Jacques Prévert who wanted her to interpret some of his work. After doing just that, Megumi befriended sociologist Jean Baudrillard and artist/filmmaker Roland Topor. Both wrote songs for her. It’s hard to say whether she’s exactly “known” but the avant-garde underground clout can not be denied with such a repertoire. Among her song titles, Monte dans mon Ambulance [Ride My Ambulance], Motel Suicide Below, and Silicone Lady. Below, one of her few songs in English, Give Back My Soul.

The drama! The floorwork! The camp! I had an impossible time choosing which version of this song to post. The others are here , here, and here for your perusal; you decide which is best. Researching her, I’ve come across several Nina Hagen comparisons, but my friend Q. and I agree there’s more Anna Varney on enka than anything else. Megumi Satsu has stayed true to herself, maintaining a decidedly stark haircut, browless face and love of hats and cigarettes to this day. You can see recent photos of the singer along with another video below the jump. And! She has a new album out as of last week titled Aprés Ma Mort [After My Death] which can be obtained on her website. My new role model, indubitably.

Cookie Misfortune and Stocking Stuffage

Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner. For many of us, these two holidays represent an opportunity to give thanks for the many blessings in life with creatively stuffed bird carcasses and to observe the sacred, immaculate birth of baby Jesus with hemorrhagic spending sprees, respectively. For others, they’re merely an excuse to go see schlockbuster matinees and pig out on massive quantities of Chinese buffet food.

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[via Whittles]

No matter how you choose to celebrate T-Day and JC’s B-Day, your experience can only be improved by Cookie Misfortune:

For too long, the world of fortune cookies has been nothing but banal platitudes and generic hopes for a brighter future. That’s all over now. Cookie Misfortune is making it possible to blow minds and ruin dinners everywhere.

[The cookies’ messages] range from the quotidian (Fuck you) to the particular (You will die alone and poorly dressed) to the classical (Life is nasty, brutish, and short). You’ll never get two of the same in any given box of ten. Furthermore, our Misfortunes will be changing frequently, according to our whimsy.

I have to admit something– I’ve fantasized about doing EXACTLY what Cookie Misfortune has done for years, but could never quite muster the funds (or the vitriol) to follow through. Three cheers for Russell and Jason and their fang-ed wee upstart. I hope you guys sell a fuckload of these as white elephant gifts for the holidays.

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Other choice Coilhouse-sanctioned stocking stuffers:

Scrappy teensy indie vendors, have you got holiday wares you’d like to promote? Add your link in comments. (Please, just keep it short and sweet. A brief description and a URL, thanks!)

Positive Reinforcement Therapy

This one goes out to Nadya, Zo, and especially Courtney Riot, our beloved creative director. Hang in there, babies.