Ayn Rand Contra Subtlety


If Ayn Rand is anything, it isn’t subtle.  Francisco d’Anconia’s “Money Speech” had all the longwinded shrillness of a fire-and-brimstone sermon.  But this shouldn’t surprise us, considering Rand sells herself as a moral philosopher.  Moral philosophy is not economics, which is a science … sort of.  Economics and meteorology both rely on projections, theory, and making people hysterical over nothing.

Given Rand’s penchant for Preaching with a Cartoon Mallet (a 95 cent off-brand non-union equivalent of Nietzsche’s “Philosophizing with a Hammer”), it helps to look at other examples of preachy non-subtlety.

Click on the icon for the Chappelle Show skit.

The Wu, like our good buddy Francis d’Anconia, knows that “cash rules everything round me, dollar dollar bill y’all!”

Since Rand is utterly allergic to subtlety, she reduces her critics to sounding like beatnik hippies.  The woman who responds to d’Anconia’s lengthy monologue felt he was wrong.  The scene was effective in portraying the soft buttery niceness of political liberalism (not to be confused with the reckless lunacy of economic liberalism).  Ben Stiller and Janeane Garafalo satirized the soft underbelly of self-help niceness with Feel This Book.

The book has to be effective.  Look at them Crazy Eyes.

Instead of taking offense, she should have whipped out her Wrap It Up box:

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Michael Schultz, 1978) attempted to cash in on the success of the Bee Gees and the Beatles by creating a musical of the famous album.  The end result was a monument to ridiculousness.  The film sets up a conflict between the nice eponymous band (the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton), a hometown band from Heartland, USA, and a money-grubbing ex-real estate who is the villain.  Another villain, Reverend Sun (Alice Cooper), recruits minions and turns them into braindead hordes (see clip below).  The opposition between the Lonely Hearts Club Band and Reverend Sun is right out of Atlas Shrugged, except the roles are flipped.  Reverend Sun’s zombie hordes chant: “We hate love/We love money.”  Sounds familiar.  The strange thing is that Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was a box office bomb and is forever associated with a dunderheaded music industry marketing strategy (“The Bee Gees playing Beatles songs.  How can this not make money?”).  On the other hand, despite a global financial catastrophe and Rand lacking qualifications as an economist, Objectivism still commands a fandom of millions immune to objective reality and thinking for themselves.  Given the circumstances, Objectivists sound more and more like unreconstructed Marxists, given they have no real solutions to problems, can not adapt to outside forces, and have no artistic taste.  Stalin and Rand both enjoyed poorly written potboilers.

Oh crap, we did it again.  We made fun of Atlas Shrugged and Dawson started crying again.

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