On the occasion of this weekend’s premiere of the new motion picture adaptation of Atlas Shrugged, Not Right About Anything sent its cub blogger Ian McGibboney to interview the author of the literary “classic,” the late Ayn Rand.
Ms. Rand, thank you for your time.
What are your premises?
You can read all about them on my blog.
Ah, yes, your blog. You know, I read it from time to time.
I didn’t know they had the Internet in hell.
Yes, though the wi-fi’s a bit iffy down in my circle. Ted Bundy has the same gripe. He can hardly stream Glenn Beck most days.
Let me guess...Windows Vista?
On Compaqs. The ones that didn’t pass factory inspection.
Hell’s just like any other free-market utopia. Satan went with the lowest bidder. That’s all that matters.
Well, I smoke. Do you?
No, I don’t.
You should. Smoking represents man’s dominance over fire.
Kind of like how cancer represented nature’s dominance over your lungs?
Cancer affirmed my philosophy by taking my lung with its parasitic ways. Cigarette?
I wasn’t asking. Take these with you. Light up when you get a break.
You know, you’re not the first woman to jam a pack of cigarettes in my hand and say that.
I’d hope not.
One summer, when I was 19, I worked directing traffic for a bank that had relocated its drive-thru. I stood on the sidewalk all day, and thus met some interesting characters. Among them was this chain-smoking lady who insisted I start smoking, and gave me a pack of Winstons.
She must have been quite the thinker.
I think she was a hooker. Or at least homeless.
Did you rape her?
No, I didn’t rape her!
She gave you smokes. You owed it to her.
I didn’t pay for the cigarettes either in money or in rape. In fact, I dumped them the first chance I got.
You pathetic moocher.
Getting back to you, you eventually died of heart failure.
The heart will always fail you.
Prior to 1982, were you aware that you had a heart?
Yes, but it was of no consequence to me, like my appendix. I actually tried to get my heart removed along with my lung, but they told me that would cost twice as much, and I wasn’t going to give more of my hard-earned dollars to some parasitic surgeon.
Don’t you mean, hard-earned Medicare dollars?
Keep your government hands off my Medicare!
You died one day after John Belushi. Did that piss you off?
Is John Belushi money?
So let’s get into the meat of this interview. What makes Ayn Rand stink?
That would be my distinguished literary career, which was but a vehicle for my philosophy, which I call Objectivism.
I want to ask you what Objectivism is, but I’m terrified you’ll answer.
It’s summed up in the famous climactic speech in Atlas Shrugged.
The one that’s 60 pages long?
That’s the one. It doesn’t get much more direct than that.
You also compiled a book titled, The Virtue of Selfishness. Would you say that this tome is the 1964 literary version of Cee-Lo Green’s “Fuck You”?
Cee-Lo stole my entire shtick. But you know, it’s just like his kind of people to do that. Have you heard this rapping, hip-pop “music”? All they do is cut up talented people’s songs and talk about shootings and killings and drinking crystals and bling-blong-ping-pong and whatnot. This is a tough call for me because, even though rapsters are the worst kind of parasites, they also make a lot of money. I’m glad I never had to deal with that kind of ambiguity. Or any kind, really.
Anthem is another one of your books. It was assigned reading at my high school.
It’s the least your government indoctrination center could do.
I have to say, it was interesting, but I didn’t get into it like so many of my classmates did. A lot of them fell in love with you and dove into Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, even though they weren’t on the syllabus. That was quite a feat, considering the ever-present temptation of America Online.
What a banal observation on your part. Of course they got into my work! What’s puzzling is that you did not. Clearly, you have issues that cause myself, just like all productive people, to look down upon you.
I don’t know about that, but some of my classmates appreciated the justification for their already selfish ways. Others got that way afterward.
If I made just one extra person selfish, then all of my efforts were worthwhile. And I made millions selfish. Give me credit where credit’s due.
You do swing a big dick when it comes to teenagers.
I’d like to reach them when they’re even younger, though. All kids go through the “Mine!” phase. Sadly, most parents see this pivotal aspect of development as an aberration, rather than as the template for how kids will need to act for the rest of their lives. “Mine” phase. Hah! Sharing should be the phase. If we nurtured this vital need for greed earlier, then teenagers wouldn’t have to discover my work later. But hey, as long as I get paid, whatever.
Your literary style tends to be didactic, with few paragraph breaks and virtually no humor.
Well, I spit up yellow bile only on the original manuscripts.
Not that kind of humor. Funny humor. You know, ha ha?
Forget it. You were famous for protesting requested cuts to your works. When faced with that recommendation for Atlas Shrugged, you replied, “Would you cut the Bible?” Now, considering you were an atheist, don’t you find that association to be ironic?
Ironic? Meaning flawless, like something that’s been ironed?
No. Like...hell, never mind. It’s no secret that you have no use for God or any spiritual realm. I’m what some would call a weak atheist, in that I don’t believe in any deity, but am open to the idea of one because I don’t know the truth and don’t think I ever will.
It’s not just your atheism that’s weak, it’s everything. I can’t believe your smarter classmates support you. What would happen to you today if they all went into hiding?
I haven’t seen most of them in 13 years. So, probably not a whole lot.
Your problem is, you have chosen to open yourself up to the idea that there is a God. And that there’s a government, and a society. Each of those alone would make you the worst kind of person, no different than the animalistic sons of bitches who stole plasma TVs in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
And by the way, I loved Hurricane Katrina, because the public-built levees failed and the federal response was grossly incompetent. Not to mention that it flushed out all those worthless leeches. For a while, it was every man for himself out there. Later, responsible private enterprise fixed up the city, at least the parts worth saving. Indeed, I can’t think of a better example of a Randian utopia than New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Couldn’t have said it better myself. Moving on...Let’s talk about your upbringing. As a native Russian, you saw firsthand the hardships that government control of private enterprise can perpetuate.
Government bureaucrats seized my father’s prosperous business. I’ll never forget that. It traumatized me so much that, once I came to America, I became a staunch anti-Communist. I knew that such a flawed, extremist system was wrong for the individual, wrong for innovation, wrong for profit. It taught me that the only true option was the polar opposite — a brutal capitalistic utopia that values the profiteer and leaves the stupid and lazy to twist in the wind.
So one could say that your ultra-capitalist views are every bit as reactionary as those who credit their political awakening to 9/11.
The events of 9/11, if you can divorce yourself from the human cost of them —
I try not to.
— Also represent my teachings in a profound way. Here you have this group of ragtag movers and shakers who had a problem with a decadent government, and they did something about it! They formed a coalition outside of any recognized state, secured private funding and toppled the ultimate symbol of American excess, the World Trade Center.
That’s very Fountainhead.
Isn’t it? I mean, it’s true that the terrorists didn’t design the World Trade Center themselves. So I guess that part’s different. But once the planes took a suicidal dive to make their statement, was any amount of government response good enough? No, it wasn’t. How many of those New York firefighters, police officers and rescuers died in the aftermath? Typical government incompetence.
You, sick, heartless, stank bitch.
I’m richer than you.
You’re also dead. Speaking of which, how do you feel about being dead? You’re in hell now. So obviously there has to be at least the possibility of some afterlife.
No. You see, you’re not really interviewing me. You’re coming up with words based on what you think I would say if I were still alive. And because I’m so ridiculously one-dimensionally sociopathic, it isn’t hard for you to come up with a very accurate account of what I would say. So I live on, in your brain.
You’re like a virus. You can’t be killed.
Very apt! I admire viruses for their pluck and can-do spirit. You don’t see them relying on bacteria for sustenance.
My ability to channel you proves hell is real indeed. How do you feel about selling me on that belief? Oh, I forgot, you have no feelings.
Feelings are but a trifle to fill the hole left within you by lack of capital.
You don’t speak like most people, a fact reflected in every word of your dialogue.
This is how intelligent people speak.
Most intelligent people I know aren’t so pedantic.
That’s because they’re not intelligent. A relatively small number of people share my inflection because we are an elite corps. Great thinkers like us don’t expect the unwashed, groupthinking masses to understand us. All we want is to do our thing. You owe us nothing, and we owe you nothing. We only coddle people with our charity.
Which reminds me...you hate charity or any kind of giving, but you offered me cigarettes earlier...
Were you expecting me to rape you?
Only if you were a man.
I think of myself as more of a dude. A dude who doesn’t rape people.
That’s too bad. When you see opportunity, you have to seize it.
Well, rape is against the law, on top of being really, really wrong.
Spoken like a true slave to government and society.
Guilty as charged. So what do you think of the movie adaptation of Atlas Shrugged?
It’s low-budget, poorly paced and packed to the rafters with stilted dialogue and one-dimensional caricatures. So it’s very faithful to the book. I do, however, take exception to Taylor Schilling’s portrayal of Dagny Taggart. At one point, she smiles. That’s Hollywood for you, always dumbing it down.
The authoritative word. You heard it here.
And I said it. Not Ian. He’d have no blog today if it weren’t for me.
Is there money in hell?
Hell is all about money. Which makes it heaven to me.
Do you still write books?
Occasionally I’ll pen some porn.
Afterlife change you that much?
Everything I ever wrote was porn. Utopian porn. Lust for money, for selfish desires, for rape. Where all wealthy people are smart and all smart people are wealthy, and everyone else isn’t worth a moldy bowl of borscht. And the reader can place themselves in the industrialists’ shoes and pretend that they, too, are genuises to whom the world should bow. And that everyone’s refusal to do so is the reason the world is a corrupt, harsh place.
I can see how that would appeal to people. Kind of like Penthouse Forum.
The market has spoken.
Yes, yes, I’d say it has. Which reminds me, I must be off to the surface now. I have to go post this interview so that I can get it done with and look for paying work.
Wait a minute...you’re not even getting paid for this?
Only in personal satisfaction.
Personal satisf-wha? Out of my sight, you, you...what’s the word?