The Baystate Objectivist

The Baystate Objectivist

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Someone in Amherst is a critic of the Springfield Newspapers.

But no one is critical of the beautiful calm enveloping Amherst while the students are away on winter break, as evidenced by this serene scene of the footprintless snow at Amherst College.

One of the main dudes in the history of Amherst College is Henry Ward Beecher, who is suspected of having had a passionate homosexual relationship in his youth.

From the Wikipedia:

Henry had a childhood stammer and was considered slow-witted; his less than stellar performance at Boston Latin School earned him punishments such as being forced to sit for hours in the girls' corner wearing a dunce cap. At age fourteen, he began his oratorical training at Mt. Pleasant Classical Institution, a boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts, where he met a fellow student, Constantine Fondolaik, a Smyrna Greek whose parents had been massacred by Turks.

The sensational poet Lord Byron was the ultimate in romantic ideals of the day, having died of fever fighting for Greek independence against Turkey, and Beecher saw that exoticism, as well all the romantic passion that his family frowned on, embodied in Fondolaik. Beecher referred to him as "...the most beautiful thing I had ever seen...a young Greek God". Both students attended Amherst College together, and it is probable that in his relationship with Fondolaik, Beecher, for the first time, received the sort of unstinting affection that had been lacking in his family life.

He described the "contract" of friendship and "brotherly love" they entered into, and wrote that they were "connected by a love that cannot be broken." Beecher signed this contract "H.C. Beecher", with the "C" standing for "Constantine". Fondolaik died of cholera in 1842, just hours after his return to Greece, but Beecher's worship of him would endure for the next thirty years. He named his third son after him, and never attended any Mount Pleasant reunions, since the one schoolmate he would hope to see "will never greet me."

Just because someone is a good actor, or a talented musician or sports hero doesn't mean they necessarily know shit about current events. Yet we often pay attention to the political pronouncements of performers as if their artistic or athletic ability somehow automatically translates into political wisdom. In fact, their political pronouncements are just as likely to be as silly and uninformed when it comes to public policy as anyone else, and celebrities often embarrass themselves when doing so. For example, John Lennon was one of the great musical geniuses of the 20th century, but his political activism with Yoko Ono was impossible to take seriously.

Sometimes however the celebrity activism goes beyond mere good intended foolishness and into the realm of hypocrisy. Such is definitively the case in the "public service" announcement by Hollywood stars about the recent tragedy in Connecticut where numerous children were tragically killed as a result of mental illness. Fortunately some clever person has cut up the ad and inserted after each celebrity's appearance a snippet from their most violent movies. As one YouTube commenter pointed out:

Never owned a gun, never fired a gun, never even HELD a gun in my life. No one in my life here in NY is part of the gun culture. The ONLY people who bring guns into my house, and children's lives, are Hollywood liberals. THE ONLY ONES. Watching a football game with my daughter over Christmas I had to be diligent to avoid violent commercials laden with guns for Django, Tom Cruise's movie, Mark Wahlberg's movie. These sick bastards have some fucking nerve lecturing me.


Blogger Andrew Sullivan has decided to charge a subscription for his blog - and got over a third of a million dollars in subscribers in the first 24 hours!

Paul Constant noted yesterday, Sullivan "is one of maybe five names that could make a reader-sustained blog financially viable." Dean Starkman of the Columbia Journalism Review writes that Sullivan and his staff are "an anomaly on the Web—one of only a handful of established bloggers able to draw what amounts to a mass audience, month after month, year after year." Nevertheless, Sullivan's failure or success serves as a test-model for others in the industry.

I don't know who the other "five names" are who could raise that kind of cash from subscribers, but I don't think I'm one of them - yet.

Read more here.

This is cool:

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