Ghostbear wrote:No, I would have you not be condescending to a wide swath of people just to feel better about yourself. So people insulted your taste in books -- what does insulting their taste in books back at them accomplish? It doesn't make anyone want to side with you, it doesn't make anyone more likely to like the books you like, it doesn't make those people hold their opinion any less, it doesn't make you enjoy your books any more, and it doesn't make them enjoy their books any less. It does, however, make you an asshole (joined by them, also being their own brand of asshole). So we have no net gain, with the net loss of becoming an asshole. If your only interest in joining a discussion is to be an asshole, then, well, congratulations, you've just wasted everybody's time, including your own. If you want to enter a discussion to show the other party is wrong, or to support an argument that you think is right, or something similar, then you should do that, instead of insulting other, uninvolved people. You don't even need to ignore the insult to not be a jackass to other people -- you just need to actually think through what you're saying and articulating it properly. The satellite view of what you were trying to say "I like these kinds and books, and dislike these kinds of books" could have been made without being condescending or disingenuous.
Respectfully, I disagree with this point. When I enter a discussion, I enter it at the tenor that it's being held at. If someone else is being an asshole to me, or assholishly arguing against a point I agree with, you're saying that I should either not enter into the discussion or raise the level to a more rational position. That's not my methodology. Instead, I meet my opponent on the level he has established. In my experience this is the best way to advance your position.
As an example, if a political opponent dug up a story on me about how I allegedly mistreated a pet dog, I could either make a rational case for why it wasn't poor treatment, or I could dig up a story on him about how he ate dog meat. The latter choice is more effective. The former is more noble, and it would be nice if that nobility translated to effectiveness, but in my experience it does not. It merely makes you a victim who happens to have principles.
I'm calmly and rationally arguing this point with you because you're doing the same to me. If you decided to descend into base insults and just bash Rand's ideas and mine, I wouldn't maintain this level of discourse. But if you don't, I will stay rational.
I honestly have no idea where your second part came from here. Nobody is anymore likely to make you a helper because you're being an asshole. You can avoid being an asshole without being a chump. You can even be an asshole and a chump at the same time. You can be somewhere in the middle, you can be both, you can be neither. Is your interpretation of Randism so lacking in shades of grey that you can't see that? Do you seriously need to resort to your philosophy derived from a single person to defend being being intellectually lazy and overly condescending?
Are you content with being wrong? Ignore your opinion on if you think you are being wrong -- I mean that question honestly and generally: are you OK with knowingly and intentionally being wrong? I don't think you are, but your responses are stating otherwise.
I put these two together to best answer your question. Aren't there shades of gray in right and wrong? And carrying from above, if you do what's right and suffer for it, is that really a white shade of right? Contrapositively, if someone does wrong and prospers, is that really a black shade of wrong? So my answer is that I am OK with not adhering to the pure-white standard of right and wrong.
Then those people are also wrong. Being wrong yourself doesn't do anything to make them more wrong -- if anything, your actions are legitimizing their approach. As you see them doing it as justification to do it yourself, they'll see you doing it as sufficient grounds to decide that it's a fair tactic. You don't need to respond to every person in an argument.
And they don't need to make every argument against the book, nor do you need to respond to me. So what is the incentive for me to be the only one to take the high road?
Arguing for or against the merits of various tastes can be a valid discussion, while it'll certainly always have the fact that, in the end, individual taste differs and you can't prove an individual's taste right or wrong, you can go over things that give a greater tenancy towards quality. You can discuss things that make it more enjoyable, combinations work well, or don't work well, together. You can even go over what makes something good within those individual tastes, or why that is. You haven't done that though, all you've done is made an incredibly intellectually lazy deconstructionism of what they like and used it to handwave the opinion of anyone who likes them away. It's the literary equivalent of the people who call those who want to raise (or lower) taxes as "freedom haters", or calling people that don't vote for a security measure (PATRIOT Act, CISPA, whatever) as "not real patriots" or someone that doesn't support a video game sale regulation as "not caring about the safety of our children", or calling out whoever is in the 'opposite' party as "not believing in the constitution". In all those cases, it's painting an extremist, intellectually lazy view of them, and all it helps to do is cause everyone to be jackasses to each other without discussing things. It is factually wrong and does not help induce intelligent discussion; in fact, it actively discourages it. And that is exactly what you did with your "difficult, dull, depressing" analysis. There could have been an intelligent discussion on the merits of specific literary methods and styles, but you helped make sure it wouldn't happen.
Yes, I helped, but if I hadn't, then the discussion would have been held on my opponents' terms. The first post I quoted used emotionally charged language--"terrible taste," "horrible writer," "cardboard cutout characters," "completely ridiculous plots" and "they [orcs] have more character and depth than Rand's mouthpieces."
If I had ignored this, the thread becomes red meat for Rand-haters. If I posted and just said, "You're being insulting, raise the level of the dialogue and defend your positions," rather than find intelligence I would expect more insults like, "Why? You can't understand it." If I just said, "Well, I like Rand, that's my taste," then I'm opening myself up to "So, what you're saying is that you *like* horrible writing, cardboard characters, and ridiculous plots."
Again, by taking the high road, what's in it for *me*? I'm not an altruist or a collectivist, you can't convince me to raise the level of the discussion for the discussion's sake, or for the sake of those who disagree with me. Why do you say that, from my perspective, I shouldn't have made my three-d point?