Another morphing Muni ad and a hat tip to Ayn Rand

ActivismIsrael/PalestineUS Politics
on 19 Comments
Screen shot 2012 08 21 at 1 15 58 PM
(Photo: Facebook)

Pamela Geller’s defeat the “savages” San Francisco Muni advertisements created a firestorm among local culture jammers who are challenging the pro-Israel pundit’s message by re-designing the originals ads. See the latest makeover above.

Rand appearing on Donahue said Arabs are “primitive savages.”

Incidentally, Geller is an avid follower of objectivist novelist Ayn Rand who is also an ideological compass for the presumptive GOP Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan. On August 14, 2012 Loonwatch noted Geller’s fondness of Rand goes beyond her website’s name, Atlas Shrugged, after the philosopher’s book, Atlas Shrugs. The text of Geller’s Muni ad is derived from a 1979 Rand quote from the Donahue Show. At the time Rand said:

If you mean whose side should we be on: Israel or the Arabs? I would certainly say Israel because it’s the advanced, technological, civilized country amidst a group of almost totally primitive savages. [Emphasis mine]

By comparison Geller’s ad reads:

In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel Defeat Jihad. [Emphasis mine]

Screen shot 2012 08 21 at 1 19 07 PM
Meme recap of the evolving San Francisco Muni ads. (Image: Facebook)

For more background on Geller’s attack ads paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, see Annie Robbins reporting here, here, and here.

About Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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19 Responses

  1. seafoid
    August 22, 2012, 9:00 am

    wow. Way to go, jammers

    On Rand I read this about her yesterday

    “Rand believed that progress is made on the backs of Great People. An individualist, capitalist system is best because it gives persons of exceptional brilliance and work ethic the space to produce. These people haven’t just earned whatever monetary rewards come their way, but also the gratitude of lesser people for the civilisational advancements they make possible.”

    Crock of capitalist fundi ****

  2. pabelmont
    August 22, 2012, 9:47 am

    What fun it all is, and if Geller pays for the ads, and the defacers merely pay for the over-lays, our side wins on costs as well as on the general fun — a war of words.

  3. seafoid
    August 22, 2012, 10:18 am
  4. Phan Nguyen
    August 22, 2012, 10:20 am

    There’s also this Ayn Rand quote:

    The Arabs are one of the least developed cultures. They are typically nomads. Their culture is primitive, and they resent Israel because it’s the sole beachhead of modern science and civilization on their continent. When you have civilized men fighting savages, you support the civilized men, no matter who they are.

    • MRW
      August 22, 2012, 11:02 am

      People should read the entire page at your link, Phan Nguyen, called “IN MORAL DEFENSE OF ISRAEL.”

      You will encounter this level of illogic (as an explanation for “why it is in America’s self-interest to support Israel”): “The purpose of Israel’s military is only self-defense: to protect its citizens from aggressors. Consequently, Israel has a moral right to exist.”

      Does military = moral because it starts with the same letter of the alphabet?

      Why are fanboys of Israel incapable of making the case for it without dragging US interests into it? What other country in the world justifies its existence this way?

    • seafoid
      August 22, 2012, 11:15 am

      The thing about “civilised” men fighting is that they become savage and many of them can’t live with what they have done afterwards.

      More grunts have committed suicide post discharge than were killed on 9/11

      • Mooser
        August 22, 2012, 1:34 pm

        “More grunts have committed suicide post discharge than were killed on 9/11”

        While not disputing that at all, I might mention that yesterday I read that the biggest increase in military suicides is among long-serving middle officers.

    • Annie Robbins
      August 22, 2012, 9:54 pm

      phan, that is the same quote picked up by both motherjones and bob mackey an the nyt lede. i can’t believe our muni ads have finally hit the nyt!

      While the language in the pro-Palestinian ad refrained from attacking any group, the original Ayn Rand statement Ms. Geller adapted her ad copy from is even more inflammatory, as Adam Serwer explained this week in a post on the Mother Jones Web site. During a lecture in 1974, Ms. Rand said:

      The Arabs are one of the least developed cultures. They are typically nomads. Their culture is primitive, and they resent Israel because it’s the sole beachhead of modern science and civilization on their continent. When you have civilized men fighting savages, you support the civilized men, no matter who they are. Israel is a mixed economy inclined toward socialism. But when it comes to the power of the mind—the development of industry in that wasted desert continent—versus savages who don’t want to use their minds, then if one cares about the future of civilization, don’t wait for the government to do something. Give whatever you can. This is the first time I’ve contributed to a public cause: helping Israel in an emergency.

      and as Serwer pointed out further:

      So Rand wasn’t merely referring to just to Muslims, to Palestinians, or even to terrorists. She was describing all Arabs as “savages.” Geller, who named her blog “Atlas Shrugs” after Rand’s novel, surely understood this context when she chose the quote.

  5. eljay
    August 22, 2012, 10:44 am

    >> When you have civilized men fighting savages, you support the civilized men, no matter who they are.

    The “savages” are minding their own business in their own part of the world. The “civilized men” come along, decide they want for themselves that which is not rightly theirs, and use terrorism and ethnic cleansing to create an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist state. In the ensuing “fight” – the “civilized men’s” 60+ years, ON-GOING and offensive (i.e., not defensive) campaign of aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction and murder – the “civilized men” do not merit support.

  6. talknic
    August 22, 2012, 11:33 am

    She has the IDF to do her killing and help with the stealing of Palestinian territory.

  7. maggielorraine
    August 22, 2012, 12:26 pm

    It’s amazing, and embarrassing to me, that I used to consider myself an objectivist. Reading the Fountainhead and then Atlas Shrugged in high school helped me immensely in my battle to come out as a lesbian, to cast off my fundamentalist Christian upbringing, to get some perspective on some abusive family relationships. There was just this absolute cold logic to the entire thing. I own every single novel, play, treatise she’s ever written. Every. Single. Thing. I even volunteered for the Ayn Rand Institute in Irvine, CA.

    But then I found out that Rand, and a lot of objectivists along with her, condemned homosexuality. I was disappointed, but pressed on. Then I realized both books idolized rape, not in a kink kind of way but in a “the only proper place for a woman is in complete subservience to a man” kind of way. I became uncomfortable. Then I found out objectivists denied global warming. I was beside myself. Then I found out objectivists were pro-Israel. I lost my sh*t. Then I found out objectivists were racists. I was done.

    I thought these things were perhaps coincidences, that the issues were with the people who espoused this philosophy, not with the philosophy itself. But I started to understand after a while that that wasn’t the case at all. You see, objectivism stirs and strengthens a kind of intolerance in people. You start to cultivate a sense of rage at the world around you. Everyone is the enemy, trying to ruin you, trying to hold you back, trying to weigh you down. They are all ignorant, brainwashed. You lose your ability to listen to anyone or anything that in any way deviates from your already established beliefs. You lose your ability to learn. You lash out at everyone. You become a complete prick. I know, because I did it.

    After a long, long journey I came to understand that this rage, this abhorrence of anything different, directly relates to racism, xenophobia, misogyny, homophobia. I don’t know if objectivism cultivated those things in me or if I had them before, but I realize without a doubt this philosophy encourages people’s basest tendencies.

    Ojectivism is simply an excuse for self-entitled people to feel even more self-entitled, for racists to justify their racism, for the ignorant to justify their ignorance, for the selfish and greedy to justify their selfishness and greed. It is a way for rich people to absolve their guilt (if they ever had any) and put on the mantle of victimhood. It is a complete and total inversion of morality. And I’m so glad I’m out.

    • American
      August 22, 2012, 1:11 pm

      I don’t consider Rand an objectivist at all. Atlas Shrugged is a great example of not being either a realist or objective. The entire premise is without the ‘selfish’ rugged individualist, the world couldn’t go forward. It neglects to mention (or understand) that without the lesser individuals, the common labor, the so called rugged capitalist couldn’t implement or create anything. They’d be drifiting in their grand visions boat without a motor or paddles, to get them anywhere.

      • maggielorraine
        August 22, 2012, 4:42 pm

        I feel you, American. If you’ve ever read Atlas, the way she demonizes factory workers will make you want to scream.

        The “objective” concept in objective is essentially that reality exists independent of our observation of reality, i.e. so that it is apart from our subjective consciousness and therefore fundamentally knowable. Sounds like a decent premise, that is, until all of the sudden you’re talking about the savage Muslim hordes, and the unequivocal right of big business to poison our food and water with impunity.

    • Woody Tanaka
      August 22, 2012, 1:56 pm

      “It’s amazing, and embarrassing to me, that I used to consider myself an objectivist.”

      Don’t be. Part of being a decent person is the willingness to reconsider even one’s most heart-felt beliefs because they conflict with one’s most heart-felt values. The only embarrassment you might have felt is if you continued to espouse beliefs that conflicted with your values.

  8. Mooser
    August 22, 2012, 12:52 pm

    “It’s amazing, and embarrassing to me, that I used to consider myself an objectivist.”

    I’m still pretty much an objectivist. It’s a philosophy which has never let me down. Anything which includes work, or responsibility, I object to, strenuously.

  9. Clif Brown
    August 22, 2012, 2:32 pm

    maggielorraine – your insightful comment brings to mind what is meant by individualism.

    Many years ago I participated in The Forum, a derivative of Werner Erhard’s EST. To make a huge simplification of the program, it was all about the individual coming out; to discover freedom, to find yourself whatever it be. The takeaway for me was the huge inhibition of the individual by the expectations of society.

    One of the participants was a woman from an Islamic country, I believe it was Pakistan. At the start of the weekend program she was emotionless, would hardly say a word and that almost inaudibly; self effacing in every way. By the end of the program her face was alive with a smile, she was talking eagerly with others and it was clear she was, for the first time in her life, enjoying herself as a person fully interacting with others. She was suddenly a person and loving it. If there were proof that the program worked, she was it, and we had all seen the transformation take place along with the change most of us had found in ourselves. It was a turning point in my life.

    That’s “good” individualism – the development of the person to appreciate and take advantage of all life has to offer. I think of this when I read of your coming out, making a positive move influenced by Rand’s writing.

    But the bad individualism comes from going beyond the positive self-development into the easy trap of feeling superior and justified in dominating others, into making oneself the judge of others, the superman. This is Rand’s failing. She goes so far into this dark extreme that contempt and rejection of the other stands supreme.

    Remember Mick Jagger singing “I rode a tank, held a general’s rank, while the blitzkrieg raged and the bodies stank”?

    Ayn Rand could have accompanied the spread of European dominance in exactly the same way as indigenous people were swept aside by the individuals who were clearly their superiors, urging them on. Her comments regarding Israel and Arabs are hardly surprising.

    You grabbed the good idea of individual freedom, used it to your advantage, not over others, but, like the Pakistani woman, over the not-you that you had been. You stopped before you became the monster that lurks in us all because you distinguished the repulsive from the worthwhile.

    From what I see of the actions and the words of those who trumpet Ayn Rand, they’ve run with her blindly and cannot see what they’ve become. Once the self is almighty, it can no longer judge what it does: all that I do is good because I do it.

  10. DICKERSON3870
    August 22, 2012, 4:27 pm

    RE: “If you mean whose side should we be on: Israel or the Arabs? I would certainly say Israel because it’s the advanced, technological, civilized country amidst a group of almost totally primitive savages.” ~ Ayn Rand on the Donahue Show, 1979

    MY COMMENT: Being from Georgia (The Peach State™), this so reminds me of things said about blacks, Jews and others by the ‘white supremacists’ of my youth. Georgia’s own notorious J.B. Stoner deprecated blacks and Jews by saying things very similar to what Rand said on Donahue Show about Arabs. In fact, J.B. Stoner had a penchant for using racist ads (much like Pamela Geller) and once sued the municipal bus system in Macon (GA) when they removed his ads from their buses! “The more things (appear to) change, the more they. . . “
    [PERSONAL NOTE: I had entirely forgotten about J.B. Stoner until Pamela Geller’s recent ad. Thank’s Pammy cakes!]

    FROM WIKIPEDIA [J.B. Stoner]:

    (EXCERPTS) Jesse Benjamin “J.B.” Stoner (April 13, 1924 – April 23, 2005) was an American segregationist who was convicted in 1980 of the bombing in 1958 of the Bethel Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.[1]
    He was a founder and long-time chairman of the National States’ Rights Party and publisher of its newsletter, “The Thunderbolt”. Stoner unsuccessfully attempted to run as a Democrat for several political offices in order to promote his white supremacist agenda. . .
    . . . Stoner once said that “being a Jew [should] be a crime punishable by death”.[1] He ran the National States’ Rights Party, which attracted such fringe political figures as A. Roswell Thompson, a perennial Democratic candidate for governor of Louisiana and mayor of New Orleans. . .
    . . . Stoner ran for governor of Georgia in 1970. During this campaign, where he called himself the “candidate of love”, he described Hitler as “too moderate,” black people as an extension of the ape family, and Jews as “vipers of hell.”[1] The primary was won by civil rights supporter and future President Jimmy Carter. Stoner then ran for the United States Senate in 1972, finishing fifth in the Democratic Party primary with just over 40,000 votes. The nomination and election went to Sam Nunn.
    During his Senate campaign, the FCC ruled that television stations had to play his ads due to the fairness doctrine. His ads included the word “ni**er.”
    . . .
    Stoner also ran for lieutenant governor in 1974 . . .
    . . . In his 1974 lieutenant governor campaign, Stoner placed signs on the Macon Transit Company buses, which Mayor Thompson ordered removed. Stoner promptly went to federal court to secure the return of his paid signs under his First Amendment protection. . .

    SOURCE –

    • Stoner as chairman of the National States’ Rights Party –,r:2,s:0,i:80
    • “Don’t Tread on Me”, St. Augustine, FL (1964) –,r:29,s:0,i:163
    • “I thank God all the time for AIDS” –

    • Nelson Eddy sings Shortnin Bread 13.09.1939.wmv (VIDEO, 02:39) –

  11. Keith
    August 22, 2012, 9:53 pm

    Quick comment on Ayn Rand. Some time ago, I read a couple of her non-fiction books, compilations of her “Objectivist” newsletter articles. I thought that perhaps her critique of the Left might provide some insights. Wrongo. She was an intellectual flyweight and a third rate propagandist who was trying to attract sponsorship from the fat-cats. “Hire me,” she pleaded from between the lines, not too subtly I might add. It amazes me that anyone takes her seriously, and an indication of how bad things are that some do.

  12. pogomutt
    September 23, 2012, 7:07 pm

    I think Pam Geller is hot.

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