Upcoming: Mike Daisey and Ayn Rand | Superfluities Redux:
About twenty years ago, more or less as a dare to myself, I read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, all 1,088 pages of it, from cover to cover. About 150 pages into it, I began to develop a slight tremor of the hands, which by page 500 turned into a St.-Vitus-Dance-like full-body twitching; at page 750 I was foaming at the mouth, and finally, when I turned the last page, I collapsed entirely into a stammering imitation of a man, banging into walls and scaring children and dogs. After a period of hospitalization and rehabilitation I was restored to something of my old self. But the memory of it remains — the horror, the horror: the turgid prose of this dime-store Nietzsche, the cardboard characters, the grotesquely mealy-mouthed dialogue, the screeching jeremiads, the self-serving self-pity of the eternally-adolescent privileged class continue to haunt my nightmares. Unfortunately Rand’s so-called “ideas” continue to permeate a particularly annoying subclass of American culture — not only Paul Ryan and Alan Greenspan, but also pathetic young men (and, for some reason, not a few women) who pore over these pages on their subway rides, eyes narrowed through horn-rimmed glasses, trembling with teen-age rage and looking for self-justification and rationalization for their paranoia and fear.
Oh well. You can skip the book, I think, and probably the on-going series of films based on the book as well. On Tuesday, 15 January 2013, the raconteur, satirist, and sit-down comedian Mike Daisey will present his latest monologue, Fucking Fucking Fucking Ayn Rand, at the Public Theater‘s Joe’s Pub. “Reviled by millions for her infantile philosophies and turgid prose, she is simultaneously worshipped by millions more for her ideological purity and dedication to the self at all costs,” goes the description of the show. “Torrid rape sex, terrifyingly bad movies, and the underpinnings of the modern American financial system all play a role in how Ayn Rand became the most powerful woman in the American mythos today. Discounted tickets are available, though all who do not pay full price will be required to perform a ritual of public humiliation during the show for being moochers, takers, and part of the 47% of proles who are dragging the rest of us special people down toward the gutter when we could be reaching for the stars.”
Tickets are on sale today. It’s only $25.00; and if I’d known that, I’d have saved the thousands I spent on therapy after reading the work of the woman herself.