Friday, July 26, 2013

More on Ayn Rand and Monthy Python

I came across these pithy remarks by film critic Joel E. Siegel about the biography Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life:
Like lice, the writings of Ayn Rand keep reinfesting the American consciousness. Resistant to dousings of rational analysis and common sense, they attach themselves to impressionable adolescent minds, vulnerable hosts for her simplistic pseudo-philosophical rejection of collectivism and religion, and celebration of individualism, capitalism, solipsism, romanticism, and self-esteem. By the time one generation matures sufficiently to recognize the shallowness of her thinking, a new one begins itching.
Yes, perfect. Except that this was written in 1997 before the age of Paul Ryan. But to the Monty Python part:
With her large, luminous eyes and unflappable self-assurance, Rand is a magnetic camera subject. But her ideas bear the same relation to philosophy that Pop-Tarts do to Viennese pastry. As she soberly explains her Objectivist principles to Mike Wallace in the film’s opening sequence, one can’t help recalling Anne Elk’s vapid theorizing in a memorable Monty Python episode. Riding the same hobbyhorse for half a century (and, in Paxton’s movie, 137 minutes), this self-dubbed “fanatic of individualism” quickly wears out her welcome.