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Friday, February 25, 2011

Why Ayn Rand Sucks


If there's one thing that annoys me more than hipsters -- it's hipsters reading The Fountainhead.

(Probably while they're drinking PBR, leaning on their fixie and adjusting the peacock earring on their ear as Animal Collective blasts in the background.)

Seriously, Ayn Rand, and her entire bibliography are among the most evil cultural influences of the 20th-21st century, right up there with Fox News, Ronald Reagan, Jersey Shore, and Pop Music. But you know what really annoys me about Rand and her work? It's how subversive they are. So much so, that even relatively smart and nice people can be lured into the twisted logic of her world where up = down, left = right, and freedom = facism.

First of all, Ayn Rand espouses the exact brand of greedy selfish ego-worship which is so damned attractive to the young people of my generation; particularly those who haven't achieved much in their life but have an inflated sense of self-worth. Those wannabe Ivy's from my girlfriend's Alma Mater come to mind...

The Fountainhead's philosophy elevates the self above all, essentially condemning moralistic concepts such as altruism, compassion, and charity which form the foundation of our democratic society. This can be seen most disgustingly in the character of Howard Roark, who is so exaggerated as to be a caricature more than a character. He represents what is commonly associated with The Tea Party: a lack of compromise juxtaposed to a so-called "perfect" integrity that is the hallmark of all radicals and fundamentalists.


Secondly, the useage of Rand's work has allowed dangerous elements of society -- from Tea Baggers to Alan Greenspan -- an intellectual framework to gently mask their ideas of allowing all the excesses of unchecked capitalism to run rampant, along with racism, sexism, classism, as well as other forms of ignorant prejudice and bigotry.

If I may, peruse these links which present an adequate introduction to Ayn Rand, which highlight many of the topics I'm talking about.

[Link 1]

[Link 2]

[Link 3]

Perhaps the most important thing to mention is that the reason The Fountainhead, along with Ayn Rand and the rest of her bibliography are so dangerous is because they are so subversive. Most of the people reading her are too fucking dumb to notice the shit they're indoctrinating themselves with! (And as a side-note, they also tend to have such horrible skill in prose, they can't even understand what they're reading is complete crap. Ten monkeys in a room with Shakespeare's corpse alongside a typewriter could make a better book.)

The hipsters I see in Dolores Park reading Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead are so young, so stupid, and so very very privileged that they don't notice the foolishness of Rand until it's too late, and they've already manufactured their own consent -- to paraphrase Chomsky -- and prepared themselves to regurgitate the material into new forms of oppression. Because only in America can people be convinced to vote against their interests... So it goes.


Cheers

9 footnotes:

Mira said...

This post made me want to read Ayn Rand. (I don't know; I'm one of those people who believe reading a bad book can be as beneficial (though not as pleasing) as reading a good one).

It sure sounds disgusting, but I won't comment more; I haven't read any of her books, anyway, and I hate when people criticize stuff they never bothered to read.

Because only in America can people be convinced to vote against their interests...

Not quite, but that's another story.

Zek J Evets said...

@mira: Oy vey, I should've guessed! Telling people NOT to read something is a guarantee that they will read it.

The "only in America" wasn't meant as a slight against the rest of the world's stupidity. It's kind of an old phrase that people here use a lot to refer to something unbelievable.

But yeah, I can only imagine what the rest of the world is doing sometimes =/

Student of the World said...

I don't know if I believe in impressionable minds, because everyone has a choice, whether they realize it or not.

Um, other than that, I just hate it when people are so feeble minded they make someone else's ideas into their personal belief system. Everyone is trying to be someone else, which is impossible because that person is already taken.

Like be yourself.

I guess that's common people. I don't know.

Mira said...

Telling people NOT to read something is a guarantee that they will read it.

Well, I don't have a particular desire to read it, but it sure sounds like something I'd hate; and I don't want to trash something I haven't read.

The "only in America" wasn't meant as a slight against the rest of the world's stupidity.

I get it. I just couldn't let non-US stupidity go unnoticed.

Zek J Evets said...

@SotW: Iunno, I've met more than my fair share of people who are literally so influenced by external things that they actually -- don't -- have -- a -- personality. Just a collection of influences, from things they've read to shows they've watched. Even what they say is parody to the point where you have to wonder if they ever have thoughts of their own...

But that's never an excuse.

@Mira: Haha! Definitely. The stupidity of the world deserves equal parts recognition and scorn as American stupidity.

That said, I'm not sure you'll want to read something you hate. For me, it only confirms my suspicions while simultaneously infecting my thoughts. Like reading Stormfront -- it just doesn't help anything.

Mira said...

What I meant to say: I have to read something IF I want to criticize it. Ayn Rand sure sounds like something I'd love to criticize, but I don't think I'll actually do it.

Stromfront and similar stuff, on the other hand, are more serious and need to be monitored. Especially these days, when I see more and more antisemitism in my country- something that wasn't happening before. There's a Serbian section at Stormfront, and I know a guy (from another board) who is "proud Stormfronter", so I asked him how does he feel about siding with the Nazis, who are responsible for killing his own people. He didn't have an answer to it.

So while I'm (still?) not in the phase of actually visiting racist blogs and Stormfront, I have a firm belief one should monitor what they write, to be familiar with what's going on in their circles- because none of it is naive and it's always good to know what's going on with the enemy.

That being said, I will probably have to visit some of those blogs for my research and while I am not looking forward to it, I do think it's necessary.

Zek J Evets said...

Anonymous,

Sorry I don't publish anonymous comments. Try not being an insulting corward, pick a name, and make a real argument for why Ayn Rand is good. Until then, get the fuck out and have a nice day =)

Bregan D'aerthe said...

Its very nice to see an honest review about this piece of crap. I agree with nearly everything that you've said. Its easy to see how fountainhead can be appealing at a particular age. My gripes with the book however have less to do with the underlying philosophy and more to do with Rand's style. In my opinion, the only thing Ayn Rand is worse at than writing philosophy is writing fiction. I have little respect for authors who try to indoctrinate philosophical arguments via fiction (there are exceptions)- if Rand wanted to say something, she could have said it directly for all the lengthy dialogue the book involved, instead creating a character called Howard Roark- Every other character in the book serves only one purpose, to set up Howard Roark for Rhetorical and convincing answers by asking him stupid questions- the whole book is full of unrealistic conversations. Humans DO NOT function like that! they don't look for philosophical undertones in every single thing they do and they discuss it even less. Believe it or not, the major portion of human life is filled with mundanities and their motives are rarely as complicated as mentioned in some parts of the book.

“Why have you been staring at me ever since we met? Because I’m not the Gail Wynand you’d heard about. You see, I love you. And love is exception-making. If you were in love you’d want to be broken, trampled, ordered, dominated, because that’s the impossible, in the inconceivable for you in your relations with people. That would be the one gift, the great exception you’d want to offer the man you loved. But it wouldn’t be easy for you.”


only in the world of Ayn Rand can that be considered a normal conversation. I'm yet to see something as pretentious as Fountainhead.

The ending of the book i.e. what Randians call 'zomg! the best speech evar!!' is a disgrace to all courtroom scenes. 'I blew up the building because I have the right to do so as an individual'- that was just as absurd as Nazis pleading 'might makes right' at Nuremberg. I found the whole book to be utterly lacking in depth and full of apparently 'deep' and seemingly 'philosophical' conversations. It's the 'Inception' of philsophy- written purely to convince dumbasses that they're smart when they're not. All Rand did is take a bit of Nietzsche, a bit of Steiner and pour it all into one steaming pile of shit about how awesome Howard Roark is.

Zek J Evets said...

Bregan,

Oh yes, the pretentiousness of her prose knows no bounds! She is -- quite beside the point of her terrible ideas -- a terrible writer. No talent at all for conveying anything interesting, unless you already agree with her fucked-up world.

And I wouldn't put it past her to have had Howard Roark blow-up doll in her home to spoon with.

But yeah... Ayn Rand is basically a megadouche who masturbates her extreme philosophical politics via poorly crafted, awkwardly written, and terribly bigoted books.