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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Ayn Rand is Rolling -- Atlas Shrugged Movie (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Ayn Rand is Rolling -- Atlas Shrugged Movie
Aros
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http://www.atlasshruggedpart1.com/

I don't know whether to cheer, laugh, or cry. Loved the book . . . but a low budget movie? Early reviews say that it's rather amateurish, but that it sticks with the novel. It's supposed to be a trilogy. Probably should've went for an HBO mini-series.

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Amanecer
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The actress who plays Dagny used to play a nurse in a short-lived tv series called Mercy. The nurse was constantly putting herself in harm's way to save others. Dagny would not approve.
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Selran
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Why didn't they make it a period piece? The story makes no sense set in the modern world.
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TomDavidson
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I can't imagine any Randian agreeing with that, Selran. [Smile]
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Selran
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I wasn't saying anything about the books philosophy.
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Aros
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I think a modern version would almost make MORE sense.
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Amanecer:
The actress who plays Dagny used to play a nurse in a short-lived tv series called Mercy. The nurse was constantly putting herself in harm's way to save others. Dagny would not approve.

I guess we must have been watching different shows. Veronica put herself in harm's way in order to do what she thought was right. Dagny would absolutely approve.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Selran:
Why didn't they make it a period piece? The story makes no sense set in the modern world.

It could be a giant troll to get libertarians and objectivists behind high-speed rail in the US.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
Veronica put herself in harm's way in order to do what she thought was right. Dagny would absolutely approve.
Except that it's a rare conversation that I've ever had with anyone who claims to be a real, serious fan of Rand (stories or philosophies) where that sort of...altruism isn't eventually scorned and considered possibly worse than just letting them suffer consequences of whatever would've happened.

Not an objective study or anything, but then we're talking about a fictitious philosophy that operates on enormous leaps of faith, so I'm comfortable with that.

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Amanecer
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quote:
Veronica put herself in harm's way in order to do what she thought was right. Dagny would absolutely approve.
In Veronica's hierarchy of values, her own wellbeing generally fell far below the wellbeing of pretty much anybody else. Ayn Rand had few good words for such a value system.
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Amanecer:
quote:
Veronica put herself in harm's way in order to do what she thought was right. Dagny would absolutely approve.
In Veronica's hierarchy of values, her own wellbeing generally fell far below the wellbeing of pretty much anybody else. Ayn Rand had few good words for such a value system.
Like I said, we must have been watching different shows, because that's not what I saw at all.
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Rakeesh
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I guess we'll probably come to the 'it's her wellbeing because it makes her feel better, thus not really altruism' argument. That being the only cogent Objectivist method of dealing with the problem of genuinely altruistic people. Or at least the only one I can think of right now-I may have heard of others, but cannot recall them at the moment.
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Dobbie
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Leonard Peikoff, Rand's heir and founder of the Ayn Rand Institute:

quote:
Q: During the recent tragedy at Virginia Tech College, there was a professor, a holocaust survivor, who blocked a door against the shooter so that his students could escape safely. And although he died in the process, the students did escape. Is this an act of altruism that Objectivism classifies as immoral?

A: No. As you present it, it was a heroic act in defense of the professorís values.

Assuming a professor does not have reason to despise his students, then they are a value to himÖ

By contrast, and assuming no special personal attachments among the students, if one student decided to risk his life to save the others, I would regard that as highly dubious morally; in fact, I would think him weird. (Emphasis added.) If he has no grounds, personal or professional, to value the lives of these students so highly as to risk self-destruction, then, according to Objectivism, his action is altruistic and, as such, immoral.


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Samprimary
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This is out and probably totally horrible fyi
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CT
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
This is out and probably totally horrible fyi

I'll be interested in seeing what The Market decides.
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Rakeesh
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The Market don't seem to like it too much. I wonder if a rating in Battlefield Earth territory of awfulness will serve as a sign that it's actually bad, or if that won't be enough. Heck, I wonder at the rating compared to the proportion of Americans who self-identify as Libertarians or Objectivists, and how much the rating exceeds that number-if at all.
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Samprimary
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The turfers hired by the studio and some other groups are right now apparently in a campaign trying to get people to load user ratings and comments pages for movie reviewers with positive comments and statements that this movie has succeeded despite the liberal media super hegemony's conspiracy to bring it down.
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Samprimary
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for just like a hundred sixty dollars you too can own this ugly as sin bracelet ~*from the movie*~

http://www.atlasshruggedpart1.com/bracelet

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MattP
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Wow. Reading the reviews, especially the meta-reviews, the Rand fans are handling the whole ratings thing exactly like the Scientologists.

There must be some maxim that applies to this phenomenon - the sneering, dismissive response of acolytes to any criticism of anything even tangentially related to the focus of their zealotry.

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Blayne Bradley
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So, "Eeef You I got Mine" the movie?
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Ace of Spades
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Eeef?
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
There must be some maxim that applies to this phenomenon - the sneering, dismissive response of acolytes to any criticism of anything even tangentially related to the focus of their zealotry.

Cognitive dissonance. Deliciously ironic in cases like these.
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Jenny Gardener
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ooo, maybe this is a good time to submit my poem that uses "Rearden Metal" as a metaphor...
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Samprimary
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If I turn the movie into a drinking game, I will be provided free booze for the inaugural watching. I hope I can get hold of a copy soon.
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Dobbie
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Make it an endurance contest. See who can watch the longest before they need to take a drink (or five).
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
This is out and probably totally horrible fyi

Spoken like someone who hasn't seen it. It was actually pretty good. It kind of hurt when it got to the end. I would rather have sat there for another 3-4 hours to finish it. But I was quite impressed. I'm glad they didn't use big name stars; it would have overshadowed the story.
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
Wow. Reading the reviews, especially the meta-reviews, the Rand fans are handling the whole ratings thing exactly like the Scientologists.

There must be some maxim that applies to this phenomenon - the sneering, dismissive response of acolytes to any criticism of anything even tangentially related to the focus of their zealotry.

I haven't seen any. I mean, the movie wasn't perfect, but it was cool to watch. I'd love to know how it came across to someone who's never read the book (not someone who is already prejudiced against the philosophy or the book, since they won't be looking at it with an open mind).
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Originally posted by MattP:
There must be some maxim that applies to this phenomenon - the sneering, dismissive response of acolytes to any criticism of anything even tangentially related to the focus of their zealotry.

Cognitive dissonance. Deliciously ironic in cases like these.
You can see the irony on the other side as well, right? The sneering, dismissive response of... well, you, really, to any suggestion that there might be something of merit either in Objectivism or in the film. Look in a mirror, boys.
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Ginol_Enam
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I have never read he book, nor do I have any deep knowledge of (even a passing knowledge, really) or any predisposition towards Ayn Rand's philosophies or beliefs. However, based on the trailer, this movie looks horrible. I have no interest in seeing it for entertainment and even less for an education on "Randian" philosophies. The book is probably better, I'm sure.
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MattP
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quote:
I'd love to know how it came across to someone who's never read the book (not someone who is already prejudiced against the philosophy or the book, since they won't be looking at it with an open mind).
I've never read the book and I'm certainly prejudiced against the philosophy, but I don't see that being an obstacle to determining whether the movie is compelling as a piece of art or entertainment. I'm certainly prejudiced against religious philosophy and that hasn't thus far been an obstacle to enjoying movies that include religious themes provided they are actually, you know, good.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
You can see the irony on the other side as well, right?

The irony based on the trailer not looking horrible to practically anyone neutral to objectivism? Or the irony based on this movie coming out and not being reviewed and scored worse than Avatar: The Last Airbender? Because if not, then you've completely missed what irony I'm talking about (and are, doubtlessly, part of it in addition).
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Samprimary
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addendum: meow hiss hiss oh how cute they're fighting again!!
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capaxinfiniti
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This thread title is still giving me very funny visual images. When i first read it I was like "Ayn Rand does ecstasy?" Still hasn't gotten old. Ha. It makes me wonder how prevalent objectivists are in the club scene.
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Amanecer
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I think any movie that's actually only 1/3 of a movie will suffer from such a setup. If it wasn't for the cult popularity, it would have no chance. But since it does have the cult popularity, it might succeed. I found the book extremely compelling when I was a teen and while I no longer buy in to a lot of the assumptions/ conclusions that Rand makes, I'd love to rent the movie when it comes to DVD and refresh my memory a bit.

I think the mockery leveled against the movie is somewhat missing the point. Atlas Shrugged never succeeded on most typical literary levels- it was a vehicle for selling a philosophy and quite a good one. That's what the movie is trying to be too, so why mock it for not being something it's not really trying to be?

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Samprimary
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quote:
I think the mockery leveled against the movie is somewhat missing the point. Atlas Shrugged never succeeded on most typical literary levels- it was a vehicle for selling a philosophy and quite a good one. That's what the movie is trying to be too, so why mock it for not being something it's not really trying to be?
Pff, no. You could have made a pretty amazing movie out of Atlas Shrugged. Yes, it would have all the silliness of the movie being used as a contrived fantasy vessel for the vindication of her theories, but hey.

Instead, we get this:

quote:
About to lose his long-held rights to Ayn Randís novel, and perhaps to cash in on apparent Tea Party interest and support, producer John Aglialoro (the CEO of Cybex International in Medway) rushed this film into a low-budget production and it shows in every frame. Even fans of Randís 1957 antigovernment manifesto may balk at having to endure dialogue that would be banal on the Lifetime channel, along with wooden performances, particularly from Taylor Schilling as rail tycoon Dagny Taggart, and a tedious plot that reduces political and high finance machinations to boring dinner table patter.
http://www.boston.com/ae/movies/articles/2011/04/15/atlas_shrugged_and_so_does_the_audience/?rss_id=Boston.com+--+Movie+news

Even Reason.com, an objectivist/free market site that devotedly followed the production of this movie and produced a video diary about it, has given up the ghost on this one and admitted it's bad.

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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
Wealthy industrialist Henry Reardon (Grant Bowler) joins forces with like-minded entrepreneur Taggart to bring a high-speed train through Colorado despite government attempts to thwart their ingenuity.
I'm currently reading the book, because I said I would, and it's apparent to me that Rand's whole argument about how railroads are an example of a business that should be profitable in its own right is probably a major reason why the Rand/libertarian/conservative types are so dead set against high speed rail. She shoots her own argument in the foot.

Also, it's apparent in almost every sentence that Rand's thin skin was still chafing from the criticism she received for "The Fountainhead." Everything she says is a rationale for her philosophy, and the story could have been told with about 1/10 the words if she just let the narrative flow. But she's too busy making long winded explanations of how Reardon made his miraculous metal by the strength of his character.... plus ten years, a million dollars, and the help of his staff.. but oh, because his staff kept insisting it couldn't be done, it obviously wasn't their achievement, it must be his. And also convenient that the government funded institute that was trying to develop a new metal at the same time and spent 10 times as much, but wasn't able to achieve anything at all. Nice how these things work out the way the author intends them to.

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Glenn Arnold
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I also think John Galt might be Ra's al Ghul.
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Parkour
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I just don't get how anyone (okay, anyone but Lisa) can look at those movie previews and think "hey, this movie looks fantastic"!

I am looking forwards to the drinking game though.

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BlackBlade
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I can admit that I have biases that lead me to believe the movie will suck. But I would have still been happy if it turned out to be a good movie.
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Parkour
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Do you mean thinking that the book was not likely to result in a good movie? I have heard fans of the book say that its probably true for the later half of the story but the first third could still have been well done.

I don't care about the book, for me it was just seeing the dry, stiffly acted sequences in the previews and the cheap setpieces and immediately feeling how rushed and barebones the production is. Finding out the circumstances of the movies production helps make sense of how it happened the way it did. But I still have yet to see it.

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BlackBlade
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Well the forums just gobbled my post. In short,

Family member, owns own business, obsessed with Atlas Shrugged and The Goal (A novel about a factory being turned around by super manager). Rumored to be renting a theater, and requiring all employees to watch movie. I'm sick of this phase he is in. I hope it stops.

That's my bias.

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CT
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Oh, dear. Echoes of Lululemon and Landmark.
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MattP
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A former employer of mine here in Utah was strongly encouraging executives to attend Landmark and paid for tuition. When it was pointed out that the LDS church had counseled members to avoid organizations of that sort they backed down.

http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/40005/Members-counseled-about-self-awareness-groups.html

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Samprimary
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sounds like LDS is straight-up no-go with freemasons membership.
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Raymond Arnold
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Why was the Landmark thing relevant? (I actually wanted to discuss Landmark but don't see why this thread is the place to do it)
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CT
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Raymond Arnold, the link I posted was in direct response to BlackBlade's post, which was the one above it.

BlackBlade had posted in frustration about a family member taken by a certain ideological ideal (in this case, Ayn Rand, etc.) and requiring all his employees to participate in the communal expression of that ideology (the movie at a theatre he rented). I commiserated and commented that it reminded me of a similar situation where I live -- a painful ongoing experience for this city -- where the CEO of a company essentially forces the employees to attend Landmark.

That brief aside may have started a turn in the thread. If it did, that is well within the culture here. We call it "thread drift."*** It is also well within the culture to try to redirect the conversation in a path you want it to go (including back to the prior discussion) or to start your own thread. Either is fine. Do what you want, so long as it is within TOS. [Smile]

---

***Edited to add: Egads, the last bit sounds snotty/condescending. Just now noticed you have been around a few years -- my apologies! I thought you were new, and that is why I was going into detailed explanation, which I now see you doubtlessly already knew.

You are in good company. I just explained to my husband a piece of information that he has, in fact, covered in his teaching to classes at university. Oops. Sorry, sweetheart.

It has been a stellar night.

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BlackBlade
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CT: Interestingly enough, this same family member was quite taken with some sort of program that sounds exactly like Landmark. He pushed a lot of us to try it out with him, but I for myself politely declined. It just didn't sound right when he went into particulars. When church leadership came out against such groups, I was glad to see talk of trying that program out stop.
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CT
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BlackBlade, I am sure some people who go to Landmark get what they want out of it. That's great. I don't think I would, and I have concerns about the level of pressure to enroll others which seems to be endemic to the program.

It's on my list of advise against, should anyone ask my opinion.

You and I can go read a good speculative fiction book instead. [Wink]

--------

Raymond, your name is now perfectly familiar to me. I don't know what I was thinking, other than to note I was just coming off a migraine when I read your post. (The ibuprofen was kicking in.)

Good thing I don't drive when I'm having one.

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BlackBlade
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CT: Maybe, I haven't attended Landmark, and I can't be sure the format my family member was raving about is the same thing, but it employed similar principles.

My biggest objection was the principle of ripping somebody apart emotionally and even somewhat physically then building them up again from scratch.

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MattP
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Landmark has you confessing all the bad things you've ever done to the other Landmarkees, followed by apologizing to everyone you've ever wronged, typically over the phone and on the spot. It is very much a tear you down and rebuild you sort of thing.

That said, I do know one person who came out of that, if not a better person, then at least a much easier person to work with. But he started as an extraordinary jerk. Perhaps it's just a regression to the mean phenomenon.

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