Now we know what Vice the magazine is named after: Vanity.
Your David Brooksian pundit would say that vanity is ego, but more often it is compensation for feelings of inadequacy. A man who feels inadequate boasts of his accomplishments, hoping to convince others that he is what he is not. Whether Donald Trump, Ayn Rand or all the little Randians, they are driven by their neediness to grab what they were never given.
Liberals are constantly begging for more female authors and female lead characters in literature, but one woman author and philosopher remains stubbornly absent from progressive reading lists. Her name is Ayn Rand, and she is responsible for a theory called objectivism, which holds that reality exists independently of consciousness and that rational self-interest is the proper moral purpose of life.
Quality is its own reward, Milo. Rand would sit you down on a chair in her living room and rip you from stem to stern, expecting her collective to applaud when she paused. Superior people don't whine about the lice and scum's reading habits.
Of all the tiresomely self-satisfied rituals played out regularly in the liberal blogosphere, competitive Rand-hating is among the most fatuous and infuriating. But why do the chattering classes hate her so much? I sense that the reasons given—her alleged psychopathy, selfishness, lack of literary talent, and hypocrisy, among others—are much less compelling than the real motivations driving their criticisms.
Actually, those reasons are exactly why people ignore Ayn Rand, putting aside the fact that most people have no idea who she was. But Milo 's senses have determined that liberals are tiresome, self-satisfied, fatuous, and infuriating. His proof is their hatred of Rand. Take that! But he also promises to reveal the real motivation driving them, which is, along with raindrops on roses, one of my very favorite things.
What follows is eight paragraphs describing a lost play (Ideal) that even Rand rejected as poor. Surely our revelation is coming up....
Rand's critics, often humourless literalists, will find plenty in Ideal to gnaw on: There's the classically Randian was-it-rape-or-wasn't-it sex scene and a blisteringly heartless remark after a death that will have fans sniggering and detractors drumming up all the manufactured fury they can muster. And, yes, Rand's writing can be a bit... much.So far Rand's critics are correct by Milo's own admittance.
But profound, existential loneliness, coupled with a Buffy the Vampire Slayer–esque sense of ordained personal greatness is why so many cheerleaders for capitalism relate to Rand's lead characters, from Gonda to the Fountainhead's Dominique Francon.Ah, starved ego and tortured soul, we meet again. Rand was mostly ignored by her father and heavily criticized and unwanted by her mother. Withdrawn by nature, intelligent but dogmatic, starved for affirmation, the boy Randian develops "a sense of ordained personal greatness" to compensate. Thus Ross Douthat seeks transcendence via a cushy job at the Times, David Brooks seeks importance from sitting as close to the .01% as he can before they sidle away, and Megan McArdle seeks belonging from corporations as if they truly are a person and might offer a 10-carat diamond ring any minute now.
Shoshana Knapp, an associate professor of English at Virginia Tech, said that these two characters are "to some extent reflections of Ayn Rand herself... Ayn Rand said that Dominique was herself in a bad mood." This is perhaps why Rand's literary agent, Alan Collins, said Ideal was a novel that only she could have written: In 1946, he wrote to Rand, "Had I come on a copy of this play in the midst of the Fiji Islands I would have had no doubt as to the authorship, as the writing, theme, and conception of the characters are uniquely yours.""Then I would have burnt it by throwing it on a luau fire, giving it an honest use for the first time ever."
I hear Ted Cruz sold a lot of books too, no matter what that commie New York Times says.Critics never pass up the opportunity to be cruel about Rand fans. "Rand's fan club has always been filled out not by committed literary critics but by insecure sulkers," the New Republic wrote. Given how many books Rand has sold, though, that's an awful lot of sulky people.
The insecure sulker goes on to say:
He admits they are volatile, vindictive, grossly insecure, and verbose.Let's be honest, though, Randroids are idiosyncratic, to put it mildly. In fact, and I say this with love, objectivists are the most thin-skinned fandom in existence. The vaguest hint of implied criticism of their grande dame is enough to trigger endless tweetstorms, crossly worded blog posts, and YouTube commentary. Seriously: Bitcoin-obsessed cryptoanalysts, Directioners and even the Beyhive have nothing on these guys.
Poor Milo is constantly subjected to preening and posturing and sneering. About Ayn Rand, of course. Not Milo himself. Milo does not notice he is in the process of preening and posturing and sneering about liberals because Milo is too busy preening. And posturing. And sneering.There's just one problem with all the preening and posturing this author is subjected to: In order to sneer at Rand, you have to read her.
I am also still waiting for our explanation of why liberals really hate Atlas Shrugged. Is it because they didn't read it and are too shy to explain? The suspense is killing me.
No, you won't, because it doesn't happen. The only reason a college student would burn The Fountainhead is if he ran out of rolling papers. (joke stolen from source whose name escapes me)That's why you'll sometimes see ridiculous social media spectacles of angsty liberal bloggers and overwrought students burning copies of the Fountainhead.
That's it? That's the great psychological revelation? McArdle's old "you didn't understand me because you didn't read me?"
I hope Vox didn't pay too much for this article. It reads like it was dictated to his teddy bear after a night of cocktails and self-pity. "Thatcher, you have no idea of the kind of day I just went through....."
Poor Milo realizes that no matter how many times he taunts the cool kids they are never going to invite him to a party in the woods so he must goad his co-workers into responding.And just how many Vox bloggers have made it all the way through Atlas Shrugged ?
Perhaps the next time you are seated next to a liberal at a dinner party, or while riding a bus.The next time someone is rude about that novel in your earshot, ask him to name a single character besides John Galt and you'll see what I mean.
Yes, Milo is a nasty piece of work and we are very grateful to learn more about the kind of people who adore Ayn Rand. We already knew but confirmation is always appreciated.