Spacefem (spacefem) wrote,

the fountainhead

I just sort of finished reading The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. I say "sort of" because I had to skip some good chunks of the second half, I just couldn't take it. It was horrible.

Not horrible enough to totally chuck... it really got my hopes up in the beginning there. It's about architects. They are artists, craftsman, problem-solvers. The main character is a brilliant architect, so brilliant that he's often misunderstood and criticized. He gets kicked out of school because he doesn't see why he should have to copy buildings from the past, we have new materials, new needs, new ideas, he doesn't need anyone else to tell him what's "right". I can relate, because I got in trouble in high school for trying to logically prove points in critical essays instead of citing scholars who'd give me words. I thought I'd like this book.

Unfortunately, along with these optimistic notions of clear thinking you get 700 pages of miserable people-hating drivel that goes on and on and on until you want to KILL YOURSELF. There's so much dialog... all these long-winded "individualists" explaining philosophy to one another, defending themselves and saying that they don't hate people, they just love them so much they can't put up with any mediocrity.

Which gets me to the main point of the book: if you are an awesome genius, everyone else needs to just get out of your way and go dig a hole for themselves to die in. Or be an all out villain. Seriously, what's with the do-gooder newspaper columnist going on for like 12 pages about how he wants to rule the world by depressing everyone, inhibiting talents, taping his fingers together and going "mwahahaha"? IS THIS ASSHOLE SUPPOSED TO SOUND REAL? Okay seriously the other characters are just sort of every day mediocre at their jobs, but they're so unhappy and so stupid, they're just wastes of humanity. Apparently that's what you are if you're not great.

I picked up Ayn Rand because she's a classic author, and because I heard libertarians like her work. I also once read a comment on an online newspaper about how all these lazy poor people need to read Ayn Rand so they'd understand why it's so important to get off government assistance... ironically enough I got this book from not only the public library, but the Linwood branch, which is in a very low-income part of the city. Something tells me that people working three jobs are not going to have time to read 700 pages about how ungreat they are.

C.S. Lewis does a great job of talking about how you should be yourself, not dwell on what others think, create wonderful things, and how in doing that you will find things to love in others. Freedom will help you find good in the world. Ayn Rand is like the opposite of that. Read it if you've been feeling too optimistic about humanity, I guess.
Tags: books, books i hated
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