Friday, February 02, 2007

Birthday Wishes For a Total Bitch

What do you get for the radical individualist who has everything?

Ayn Rand -- novelist, screenwriter, (a-) moral philosopher -- was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, on this date in 1905. Rand, nee Alissa Rosenbaum, wrote several important works during her lifetime, but instead I'll just blog about "The Fountainhead." The novel's main character, a genius architect named Howard Roark, is Rand's Ideal Man, an artist who destroys his own creation rather than compromise his vision for some artificial notion of societal "good." It's said that Rand based Roark's character on the real-life architect Frank Lloyd Wright, a personal hero of the writer for his brash, non-conformist style. It probably helped that Wright was also a huge jerk, according to the authors of this book. (Side note: Peter "Robocop" Weller is currently portraying Wright in a mightily incoherent stage version of the Fallingwater creator's life. No shit.)

So happy birthday, Ayn Rand. Your Objectivist philosophy esteemed hyper-capitalism, the virtue of selfishness, and the triumph of "me" over "we" -- pretty neat stuff if you happen to hate humanity or spend any time in Los Angeles.

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