More on Subscendence


It is a well-known implication of Darwinian evolutionary theory that one thousand monkeys, furnished with as many word-processing devices, and ensconced both gratis and in perpetuum in a mid-priced traveler’s hotel such as the Marriott Suites, would, by their inveterate although quite random keyboard activity, eventually produce either –

1. Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged; or –

2. The generic mission-statement of any graduate-level “studies” program at any state-supported consolation-university in North America.

I place my bet on Atlas Shrugged, but in my circle of intimate friends, to whose wisdom I defer, the majority of opinion favors the generic mission-statement.  A consolation-university, by the way, is any state-supported, doctorate-granting institution of higher education that is not, for example, Ann Arbor or Berkeley.  Let us say that Michigan State and UC Irvine are paradigms of the consolation-university.  (Not that I hold any brief for Ann Arbor or Berkeley.  My consolation-university was UCLA.)

The monkeys-with-word-processors hypothesis, not aside from but precisely because of its congruence with Darwin’s version of dialectical materialism, explains a good deal about modernity.  The main literary activity of modernity since the feuilletonisme of the Jacobin agitation prior to 1789 has been the wholesale production of monkey-centric mission-statements for monkey-centric programs to be funded by a MacArthur Genius Grant at this or that state-sponsored consolation-university, or the anticipatory equivalent.

Concerning the consolation-universities, architecturally they all resemble a mid-price traveler’s hotel such as the Marriott Suites.  Consolation universities have lately dedicated themselves to the staging of lectures and conferences, at which rather dull people who know nothing of history but who believe that they are participating in an historically significant event foregather to listen to tedious speeches – the same speech over and over, really – about whatever it is that the chiliastic monkey-typing has made topical for the day.  What has been topical just about any day for the last twenty years – and will be for the next foreseeable twenty years – is d-i-v-e-r-s-i-t-y, a group-identity noise, which, by some perversion of Darwinian randomness, the monkeys keep typing without ever changing so much as a letter.  (“Hey, monkeys, get with the program!”)

The d-i-v-e-r-s-i-t-y lecture series is now the main event during a given semester at a consolation university.  The raison-d’ être  of the “studies programs” is to sponsor and give a platform to the d-i-v-e-r-s-i-t-y lecture series.  The difference between the traveler’s hotel facilitators and the conference-goers is that the former graduated with degrees in “Hospitality,” which actually means something.

The persistence of the monkeys in typing d-i-v-e-r-s-i-t-y violates the Darwinian precept that the development of complexity from simplicity proceeds by way of random mutations, but then so does the iteration from Washington to Obama, which, while it might be random, can hardly be taken as an instance of complexity arising from simplicity.  It is possible, incidentally, that the reigning president’s two autobiographies and all his speeches were composed collectively by a chiliasm of consolation-university graduates typing inveterately in rooms in a traveler’s hotel such as the Marriott Suites, supported by a MacArthur Genius Grant.  Like all government projects it would be a bloated affair, in effect, a mere jobs program.  While it would take a chiliasm of monkeys to produce either Atlas Shrugged or the generic mission-statement of a graduate-level “studies” program at a consolation-university, presidential autobiographies, apart from those by U. S. Grant and Richard Nixon, are achievable in a shorter term.  Far from requiring a bevy of monkeys, a single Bill Ayres could write them, on academic leave, with the monkeys taking care of his classes.

When liberals speak of Progress, which will only be realized through d-i-v-e-r-s-i-t-y, what they really mean is the social and political equivalent of the iconic toilet-swirl that flagellates on the computer screen when the programs have been infiltrated by foreign elements and all processes have slowed down to a glacial pace.  A friend of mine who grasps these matters recently told me that it is impossible to create a program that would tell a user how long the iconic toilet-swirl will keep flagellating on the screen.  It might be for the next ten seconds, after which everything will be hunky-dory, or it might be for the next thousand years, enough time for the chiliasm of monkeys to rhapsodize Atlas Shrugged or a mission-statement.  The condition of modernity is either –

1. The flagellating toilet-swirl that eventuates in nothing; or –

2. The monkey-chiliasm randomly pecking at its keyboards thereby producing Atlas Shrugged or the mission-statement.  (“Hey, Boss – the monkeys have just turned in another manuscript!”  “Oh yeah, what is it?”  “It’s Atlas Shrugged.)

As the executive officer of a liberal academic organization that claimed in its mission-statement, among other things, to be something other than liberal, it was once my obligation to arrange an inflated conference for inflated egos at a Marriott luxury hotel (no mere suites for the inflated likes of us!) situated between two now-defunct skyscrapers in downtown Manhattan.  It was a consolation-organization.  The inflated egos who had failed to become stars at the big, big literary association hoped that they could be stars in their own, less-than-big literary association.  A bevy of irate constituents addressed me angrily during the casual phases of the event because – trying to attract as many conference-goers as possible in order to avoid contract-penalties that would have sent the organization swirling into bankruptcy – I had advertised the occasion in a self-designating conservative monthly.

I experienced no little difficulty in discerning the basis of the popular objection.  Precisely why should I not have advertised in that particular journal?  After all, I had also advertised in a well-known liberal journal.  In response to the snide rhetoric of  an irate female “studies” professor, who exuded the air of a Boston Brahman, I asked: “Do you object to our organization placing an announcement in a Jewish periodical?”  “No,” she snapped, “I object to our organization placing an advertisement in a conservative periodical.”  “Why,” I posed.  “It violates our mission-statement,” she returned.  Did it?  Ask the monkeys.

I noticed this during the three days of the abysmal event: No matter how tall the members of the organization were, whether male, female, or monkey, they all had flat heads.  My non-member Jewish friends, Steve Kogan and Eric Gans, who had come to stand by me, looked, by contrast, like two Gothic cathedral-spires.  To Steve especially, and his new wife Carol, whom I was meeting for the first time,I owe my subsequent surety of mind after the spiritual tumult of that ordeal.  Carol and I, as it turned out, had attended the same junior high school and the same high school in Southern California.  It is a small world.

I have a plan for reforming freshman composition at the consolation-universities.  It involves ensconcing a chiliasm of monkeys, furnished with a chiliasm of word-processing devices, gratis and in perpetuum in a special dormitory modeled after the Marriott Suites.  Each student will have a simian correspondent, from whom he, or she, will pick up her his or her paper, as each assignment falls due during the semester.  Instructors will give the same grade to the compositions that the keyboard-peckers at the New York Times gave to two recent presidential autobiographies.  The students will graduate with honors and after the November election they will all find lucrative Federal appointments in the Bernie Sanders administration.  They will all be ensconced gratis in the Watergate Condominiums where they will perpetually and unanimously celebrate not having had sex with that woman.

All SJWs are feminists, after all, so why have sex?  Who would have sex with Bernie Sanders?  Who would have sex with that woman?   And I mean not to impugn the stained-dress plaintiff, who shared a probable Cuban cigar with Elvis Presley.

No, by that woman, I mean… Ugh!  I just threw up a little bit in my mouth!  Maybe smoking a cigar would help.

Alan… Kristor… Bonald… Do you have a cigar?   A shot of brandy?  A preventative course of antibiotics?

In the words of the immortal Mort Sahl, “Darwin was wrong!”

7 thoughts on “More on Subscendence

  1. What the monkeys might have typed:









  2. Your Atlas via monkeys on word processors fits well with a related idea I’ve had for a while. I pictured an updated version of Dante’s Inferno with a contrapasso involving Rand’s wooden prose. I imagined: “Because in life he read not the words of God nor wise men, now he must read Atlas (or generic mission statements) forever”

    Sort of mild punishment by Dante’s standards, similar to the fate of the virtuous pagans, but it never fails to infuriate any of the Randroids I know.

    As an aside, if any Orthosphere readers have not yet read Prof Bertonneau’s piece from Modern Age back in 2004 Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged:From Romantic Fallacy to Holocaustic Imagination, I highly recommend it

    • Or God might make the sinners watch the film-trilogy based on Atlas Shrugged over and over. The monkeys would have 500 cable channels and could watch whatever they want.

      • Oh my, I had forgotten about those recent film adaptations. I haven’t watched any of them since I was expecting a cinematic equivalent of the USSR’s Tsar Bomba. Plus all of the sycophantic praise for the films from internet Randroids confirmed that it would likely be punishment to watch the trilogy. Perhaps even more of a punishment than it was to read the book. I’d rather read untranslated Fichte, and I don’t speak any German whatsoever.

        Prof Bertonneau, have you ever read the blog Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature?
        Their quiz titled Are You A Rand Cultist? Take Our Simple Test is both accurate and funny IMHO.

  3. Edward: Most German discourse makes good sense as long as one doesn’t speak German. The three Atlas Shrugged movies made less and less sense and were cheaper and cheaper one after the other; but it made no difference – they were perfect adaptations of the novel.

    I have never visited any Ayn Rand websites. I know with instinctive certainty that I am not an Ayn Rand cultist.

    The Tsar Bomb was much more impressive than Atlas Shrugged. I would watch the film of the Tsar Bomb again.

    (The monkeys also enjoy it!)

    • Tom,

      It puts me in mind of the C. S. Lewis quote regarding belief or disbelief in devils, which I modify to suit the present topic:

      There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about [political correctness]. One is to disbelieve in [its] existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in [it].

      • Dear Alan: The monkeys and I try not to take things too seriously all of the time. There is room in life for recreational monkey-shines.

        In addition, we only really believe in Divarwinismity and Stywindarvism. (See above for what the monkeys might have typed.)


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s