March 30, 2009

Revisiting Ayn Rand, for laughs


“If recent reports are to be believed,” observes Sam Jordison, “people have started seeing parallels between our current economic meltdown and the world collapse outlined in the 1200 pages of Ayn Rand‘s libertarian classic Atlas Shrugged. Rand’s fans proclaim her a prophet — the hero whose teachings will rid us of recession.”

So, as Jordison details in a post for the Guardian‘s book blog, he decided to read the book. “I hated the thing, but I couldn’t put it down.” he says. “It was worth the effort too, because the conclusion is one of the funniest things I’ve read.”

Still, says Jordison, “Such laughs, however, come bitterly, given how seriously so many take this stuff … The cruel irony is that the true absurdity lies in Rand’s insistence on selfishness, the need to create wealth at the expense of all else and the prohibition on sharing it — as recent events have shown.”

Here, Mike Wallace talks to Rand in a 1959 interview.

Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House. Follow him on Twitter at @mobylives