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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Don't Get Your Ayn Rand Panties in a Bundle

Posted by on Tue, Nov 17, 2009 at 2:26 PM

Slog Tipper Martin wants us to know that Peter Bagge has a new cartoon over at Reason titled "Will Everyone Please Stop Freaking Out Over Ayn Rand?!?"

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It's worth a quick read. If you're thirsty for more after that one, Peter Bagge's recent collection of libertarian cartoons from Fantagraphics, Everybody Is Stupid Except For Me and Other Astute Observations is much funnier than libertarian cartoons have any right to be.

 

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the duster 1
"Ayn Rand is dead," wrote conservative author William F. Buckley in an obituary in 1982 about the best-selling novelist-philosopher. "So, incidentally, is the philosophy she sought to launch dead; it was in fact stillborn."
Posted by the duster on November 17, 2009 at 2:34 PM · Report this
2
Paul, I agree with you on a lot of things. And in fact, I share your "pudgy version of Rainn Wilson" look.

However, that cartoon as not amusing in any way. It was tedious. The "punchline" that progressives all worship Che and Mao is as ridiculous as claiming that all conservatives worship Rand. Dumb.
Posted by Dave M on November 17, 2009 at 2:38 PM · Report this
3 Comment Pulled (OffTopic) Comment Policy
Fifty-Two-Eighty 4
Ayn Rand panties? But I don't have any Ayn Rand panties. In fact, I don't have any panties at all. At least I don't think so.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on November 17, 2009 at 2:48 PM · Report this
5
The lamest Suck.com alumni of them all.
Posted by dwight moody on November 17, 2009 at 2:48 PM · Report this
6
seems from the Fantagraphics profile of the book that his skewering, as attempted, is of self-righteous lefties more than "anyone who vehemently disagrees with Ayn Rand". See for instance the unseemly way the "Rand hater" is drawn. But that doesn't excuse Bagge's apparent ignorance of what Rand wrote, which is about as deserving of the term "extreme overreaction" as it gets. "Everybody is Stupid Except for Me" has a kind of weird irony if you're ostensibly defending Rand. Just... fuck. Aren't we all too old for that?
Posted by Montdidier on November 17, 2009 at 3:10 PM · Report this
crazycatguy 7
Why do Libertarians need cartoons when they have Ron Paul?
Posted by crazycatguy on November 17, 2009 at 3:12 PM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 8
Sadly, I seen a book store owner act just like that librarian in the cartoon when I asked if they had a copy of Atlas Shrugged.

Sorry fellow liberals; at times some of us act EXACTLY like our sterotypes.
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on November 17, 2009 at 3:16 PM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 9
Indeed, Cato - in fact, you need look no further than today's Slog.

Glenn Beck! (Massive frothing at the mouth)
Carrie Prejean! (Massive frothing at the mouth)
Sarah Palin! (Massive frothing at the mouth)

It's all become very predictable.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on November 17, 2009 at 3:21 PM · Report this
10
First off, Ayn Rand panties are an untapped market. Somebody could make millions with the right gimmick.

Second, Ayn Rand is worth freaking out over. Her philosophy is dangerous, far more than Nietzsche or anyone else I've encountered, as it's an almost perfect distillation of rationalizing selfishness. A more accurate thing to say is that freaking out at people who follow her philosophy is not worth it.
Posted by Lilting Missive on November 17, 2009 at 3:22 PM · Report this
JF 11
@7 We love cartoons. South Park is a great example.
Posted by JF on November 17, 2009 at 3:27 PM · Report this
12
Another celebrity whose work I kinda like revealed to be a libertarian nitwit. Sigh.
Posted by Don't Quit Your Day Job, Cartoon Man on November 17, 2009 at 3:27 PM · Report this
Fnarf 13
Ayn Rand deserves to be shunned mostly for the simple reason that her books are TERRIBLE. The woman could not write at all, it's as simple as that. Her books read like parodies from an elaborate Bulwer-Lytton bad writing contest.

Her "philosophy" is indescribably tedious in the best of tellings, but in her prose it's like guzzling gallons of warm spit. The fact that she was a Grade-A loon and hypocrite (who DID, in fact, use physical coercion on her acolytes) is just gravy. Read her recent profile in The New Yorker if you want more. Rand was a talentless egomaniac cult leader.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on November 17, 2009 at 3:30 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 14
Dang, I hate it when Fnarf's right.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on November 17, 2009 at 3:44 PM · Report this
Sir Vic 15
@13 Grab a copy of the Book of Mormon, turn to any page, and you'll get the same feeling. Literary bluster is the cover of choice for massive fraud. Lil' Lafayette Hubbard is a great 20th century example of this tactic.

@14 Ditto. It's even worse when W-i-S is right!
Posted by Sir Vic on November 17, 2009 at 4:06 PM · Report this
16
I'm not very enlightened in the ways of literature, so can someone explain what the big deal with Ayn Rand is? Why do people get so into her, and why does everyone else hate those people so much?
Posted by Mr John on November 17, 2009 at 4:10 PM · Report this
Pol Pot 17
Why not freak out at the mention of Ayn (rhymes with mine) Rand? It is hard to imagine a more shallow philosophy than the one proposed by Rand.
Her self serving claim that self-interest, not altruism happens to serve the highest good (though not any ``collective good’' which Rand regarded as a meaningless concept) is indeed a remarkably fortunate outcome for the many right-wing adherents of her ideas. Just do what’s good for yourself, don’t care about anyone else, and lo and behold you happen to be doing the morally right thing as well! How convenient for those at the top of the pile to discover that hording everything in sight is the moral thing to do.
Ayn Rand’s writings also reveal a consistent and utterly naive idea about wealth. Wealth is created by the effort, intelligence and inventiveness of ``men'’ who are prepared to stand out from the crowd and be true to their own visions. For her, capitalists, whom she regarded as a persecuted minority, are always self-made ``men'' (she was utterly consistent in never using any other pronoun to describe clever people); she did briefly discuss the issue of inheritance, but never acknowledged the simple fact that most rich people are rich because they come from rich families. Once this simple fact is established, Rand’s whole system collapses. We should freak out that so many in America find this pathetic drivel worthy of consideration.

Posted by Pol Pot http://bottlefuelrag.blogspot.com on November 17, 2009 at 4:23 PM · Report this
18
“We have no demands to present you, no terms to bargain about, no compromise to reach. You have nothing to offer us. WE DO NOT NEED YOU.”

That was one of the key lines in one of John Galt's speeches, and it sums up the reason why I hate Objectivism with every fiber of my being. Because when Ayn Rand writes, "we do not need you", what she means is "you have no value". She implicitly reduces the value of a human being to the monetary value of what they produce, all the while overlooking the fact that capitalists make their profits by effectively stealing some of the labor of their workers. She played to the worst in people - the natural temptation to arrogance, to believe that one's accomplishments and conduct make one better than others, to overvalue the self and undervalue others. Her philosophy is, in my opinion, pure evil. Which is why the vehement negative reactions against her are justified.
Posted by I have always been... east coaster on November 17, 2009 at 4:29 PM · Report this
19
Also, everyone who loves Ayn Rand feels like they are part of the very talented and special minority that is naturally better than everyone else and should be in charge of things.

It's basically the same as the Marquis de Sade's philosophical rambling, but with money and power instead of sex and power. That's so much more boring.
Posted by dwight moody on November 17, 2009 at 4:40 PM · Report this
michael strangeways 20
@18 The sad thing is, I see some seriously fucked up comments on Slog from people who must worship Rand and her brand of Capitalistic/Crypto-Nazi bullshit.
Posted by michael strangeways http://www.seattlegayscene.com/ on November 17, 2009 at 4:44 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 21
@20 - but that's cause most of them are seriously fucked up.

And not in a good way.
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on November 17, 2009 at 4:46 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 22
I have to disagree with Fnarf @13, I rather like Rand's writing style. Sure, she occasionally goes off on long-winded rants, but if you skip those parts, there are often interesting stories and unconventional character development going on.

Her philosophy is complete horseshit, of course, but then again, I never thought of it as anything other than fiction.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on November 17, 2009 at 4:51 PM · Report this
23
Ayn Rand is a polarizing figure, and rightly so. Her viewpoint is the opposite of the conventional wisdom of her time. What bothers me is the hysteria people get themselves into at the mere mention of her name, or the sight of one of her books. If you don't like her, don't read her. When I first began reading her material for a college philosophy course, I didn't like her, but after the class, I explored some of her other works because I wanted to learn more before I accepted or dismissed her. I quickly learned it's easier to take the dust jacket off the book (when reading in public places) because strangers somehow feel compelled to yell at me that I should know better, than I should spend my time reading something else, etc. The irony, of course, is that Rand herself was not concerned with the masses of people who disagreed with her. When Howard Roark (the protagonist of The Fountainhead) is asked by a lesser, unoriginal architect what he thinks of him, his response is, "But I don't think of you." That she stayed out of other people's business is more than you can say for a lot of Rand's detractors.
Posted by brendan on November 17, 2009 at 4:52 PM · Report this
24
Ayn Rand's ideas influenced Alan Greenspan caused the economic crisis and the recession we're in.
Posted by Kevin Erickson on November 17, 2009 at 5:11 PM · Report this
25
@23-"lesser, unoriginal architect what he thinks of him, his response is, "But I don't think of you."

Howard Roark's architecture can be summarized as "A fucking strip mall with less windows." What's really galling about Rand and her followers is that they spend a lot of time telling others how great and original they are, despite never producing any evidence to support their claims. And when they do not receive acclaim, they huff.
Posted by dwight moody on November 17, 2009 at 5:13 PM · Report this
Fnarf 26
@23, you've bought into the myth she created around herself. You should look into her actual life, to see how far off the mark "Rand herself was not concerned with the masses of people who disagreed with her" is. Rand was a user and a manipulator extraordinaire, who achieved success not through her own commercial efforts in the marketplace but by creating a cult of personality. She is, in fact, distinguishable from her great nemesis Stalin mostly because she wasn't all that good at it.

Urgutha, you need to get ahold of some REAL fiction to see what the difference is. Her books don't have characters, they have clashing symbols. They can't go to the toilet without making a twelve-page speech about it. She really is the worst prose stylist of all time.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on November 17, 2009 at 5:27 PM · Report this
Fnarf 27
@25, one of the interesting things about Rand was how startlingly ill-educated she was. She didn't know ANYTHING about literature, art, or architecture. Like a fair number of autodidacts, her tastes never really budged from where they were when she was a young girl. Her Roarkian fantasy didn't really have anything to do with actual architectural styles, of which she was ignorant; they were simply based on a potted teenage half-formed understanding of the modernist Architect as Hero concept, along the lines of Corbusier, Van Der Rohe, or Frank Lloyd Wright. She didn't really know anything about those architects, but she was completely in thrall to the fantasy of the Will To Power she thought they embodied.

Which makes her endless pontificating on "correct" artistic values even funnier. She thought the greatest writer ever was frigging John Galsworthy, for crying out loud. It's no surprise her favored architecture was crap, too.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on November 17, 2009 at 5:36 PM · Report this
Estey 28
I love Bagge's book, and have to admit I agree with this cartoon in general.

I was put off reading Rand for years because the only person I'd ever met who was a fan of hers was a rat-faced closet case whose concept of "objectivism" was picking fights with shorter guys and worrying what everyone else thought about him. He hadn't made a very good case for her philosophy when he picked a fight and then ran off to hide in his art studio (and the emotionally arrested little bitch is probably hiding there today, still afraid). When it turned out he was fink for the cops it made perfect sense. Since then I figured he probably claimed to read Rand because he probably has mommy issues.
Posted by Estey on November 17, 2009 at 6:12 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 29
@26,
That's just the point though, I like her overdrawn, clashing symbols. There's something "filling" about her writing, she really works the hell out of each idea... yeah, beating it well past death sometimes, but also leaving the reader with a sense that the scene has been thoroughly covered. It's like reading a comic book that's literally replaced each action scene with a thousand words.

It's not for everyone, and I certainly wouldn't want to read her stuff back to back, but occasionally, I just like it.

To each his own I guess.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on November 17, 2009 at 6:23 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 30
Fnarf, what books have you read about Rand's life? I'd like some recommendations. Or should I just go to the library and look for a biography?
Posted by Matt from Denver on November 17, 2009 at 6:46 PM · Report this
Fnarf 31
I haven't read any of them, just recent long reviews in The New Yorker and The New Republic, and some other articles. And 1.5 Rand books, shudder.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on November 17, 2009 at 7:16 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 32
Ok, but reading TNR will just rot your brain.

Seriously.

Trust me, I did it for like eight years ...
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on November 18, 2009 at 12:16 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 33
Thanks Fnarf. It's a place to start.

I only managed to get about halfway through The Fountainhead myself. I've had some Randian on another blog promise me a steak dinner if I read Atlas Shrugged, but I barely have time for the good books I want to read, let alone something like that repulsive tome.
Posted by Matt from Denver on November 18, 2009 at 6:43 AM · Report this
Fnarf 34
"Atlas Shrugged" is my .5. I couldn't finish it, couldn't see the point of it. Seriously: go to any bookstore and root around in the foil-covered romance section; every single one of those books is better-written than anything Rand ever did. When it comes to the literary mechanics of moving characters around, having them meet in ways that advance the plot, having them think and talk and act in plausible ways, she is totally incompetent.

Finding a friend with one of her books in his hand is like finding him with a Thomas Kinkade painting over his sofa, and then jabbing you in the chest while barking "you are chust afrait uff hiss ideass" at you when you laugh.

Will: you are dumber than a bag of sand, it's true, but TNR did not make you that way.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on November 18, 2009 at 9:37 AM · Report this
Tingleyfeeln 35
I'm no fan of Rand, but I would rather deal with someone who reads her than anyone (except my sister, lol) who displays any unadulterated Kinkade works. At least Rand readers have at a bare minimum a pretense of intelligence.
come to think of it, I have never seen anyone take any creative liberties with a kinkade painting. Is his work THAT uninspiring?
Posted by Tingleyfeeln on November 18, 2009 at 5:15 PM · Report this

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