Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Atlas Shrugged: James Taggart Rants

James Taggart unleashes a rant in this page of Ayn Rand Comics. It's a rant that I have heard quite often in "real life" from people I've grown up with. You can always blame your lack of success on the pressures of competition from other people in the field. No one gave you a chance...they all were pushy, obnoxious, untalented, culture-less hacks who thought they were something, and they put themselves forward like merchants, and they drowned out your own pure, refined, non-commercial high quality offerings.

Also note how Rand has her wormy villain character always introduce his statements with "It seems to me" or "I think," or "I'm not so sure...". In editing, these are sometimes called "weasel words," included in dialogue or article text in order to cover yourself against having to state a fact or an outright falsehood. Again, this is part of my own experience. When I was growing up, I was told to always add this sort of language to my own statements, because otherwise I would be making false assertions or "sweeping generalizations," or some other tactless utterance.


Mary said...

Right before this I read this, by a business owner who usually writes about how to succeed in business through integrity and respect for your employees. They go together interestingly...

A little while ago a friend told me that his dentist son was having trouble getting a home loan because being a dentist, while it brings in a good income, doesn't bring in a guaranteed income. If you have fewer patients one month you get less money. I thought it was dumb because ultimately every business is that way -- no company has a guaranteed income. But they all have payrolls to meet and bills to pay. The managers are aware of this on a daily basis, and I think it can definitely be panic inducing, in that "don't know where your next meal will come from" way. (Though less extreme.)

Anyway, I'm in the mood to feel sorry for Taggart right now.

Tristan Alexander said...

Personally I think that useing the "weasel words" as you call them, is cowardly! If you use words to cover your but and not as honestly as you can, it seems you never say what you mean or have to stand by your words. I make generalized sweeping staments all the time and people get upset. Why, we all know that these statments are NOT truely universal, they represent the feeling that that is how the world is or how we feel about the particular situation. No one really thinks the statments cover EVERYONE!
Nice work as usual by the way!

Tristan Alexander said...

Funny, I used "weasel words" trying to say how much I dislike can be hard to state anything now days without them I guess. But I did not/do not use them as a cover.