December 26, 2013

"Beginning in 1953, when [Ayn] Rand was nearly 50, Ms. Branden wrote, the intellectual mother of principled self-interest had ardently pursued an interest in Ms. Branden’s husband, Nathaniel."

"Though 25 years apart in age, they had an affair for about 15 years. Ms. Branden knew about it because Ms. Rand had insisted from the start that both spouses — Ms. Branden and Ms. Rand’s husband, Frank O’Connor — give their consent. Ms. Branden revealed the story, she said, partly to set the record straight about Ms. Rand’s sudden banishment of the Brandens from her circle in 1968. She had denounced them in a widely circulated essay, claiming they had exploited her financially. The couple denied the accusation."

From the obituary for Barbara Brandon, the author of  "The Passion of Ayn Rand."

ADDED: Here's a clip of Brandon talking about her book on Reason TV:



I found that looking for a good clip of Helen Mirren playing Ayn Rand in the Showtime movie based on Brandon's book. Here's the trailer for that (which I watched and which caused me to say "Oh, bullshit.")

19 comments:

Shouting Thomas said...

Although I could never slog my way through Rand's prose, I like some of her ideas.

The fact that she was a horny broad is definitely a plus.

I'll have to re-evaluate her writing in that light.

William said...

What are the chances that Helen Mirren would star in a critically acclaimed biopic that focused on a moment of fatuity or sleaziness in the life of Lillian Hellmam, Simone deBeauvoir, or Beatrice Webb?

Inga said...

Seriously? Braden went to Ayn Rand seeking help with philosophical questions during the period of time Rand and her husband were having an affair? She couldn't concieve of a possibility thar Rand might have been an evil bitch who was jealous of her and purposefully gave her answers to her philosophical questions that were complete bullshit?

Rand was a selfish,evil, narcissist.

Bob Ellison said...

Ayn Rand was obviously a very patient person. Imagine not just trying to read but having to write Atlas Shrugged. It must have been exhausting. "OK, I've got fifty pages down on the breakfast he ate; that's enough. No, NO AYN! Another fifty! And re-establish the intellectual setting while you're at it!"

A little sex might have helped her through such troubles.

Bob Ellison said...

An infinite number of monkeys with typewriters would not have written Atlas Shrugged. They would have all died of ennui.

Basil said...

Inga, what, did you know her? She survived Soviet Russia and wrote the best selling novel of all time, in a language that was not her native language. She espoused an ideal with which you disagree, that of self interest and the primacy of reason over religion.

What have you done to similarly distinguish yourself? Say nasty things about your betters on a blog? For pay from a foundation funded by a socialist and a felon?

Go out and write a better book, then come back and criticize Rand - and write it in another language, if you care to try.

You are the blogging equivalent of graffiti - defacing and ruining what you don't understand.

Illuninati said...

What struck me in listening to the movie trailer is Ayn Rand's personal charisma. Barbara Brandon mentions two qualities which contributed to Rand's charisma -- supreme self confidence and high intelligence. One has to wonder if there were other traits which were apprehended in an almost subliminal manner by her followers which they are unable to articulate, i.e. cadence of speech or word choices which would bypass the ordinary sensory screen into the subconscious or nonverbal part of the brain.

Her charisma gave her the ability to form her own little cult. Like many other cult leaders she took advantage of her status to satisfy her sexual appetites.

Inga said:
"Rand was a selfish,evil, narcissist"

Why do you say that?



Inga said...

Basil, monkeys could write a better book and probably are less narcissistic. Did you know her?

Inga said...

"An infinite number of monkeys with typewriters would not have written Atlas Shrugged. They would have all died of ennui."

12/26/13, 10:01 AM

Thanks Bob.

Shouting Thomas said...

I've only read the Cliff Notes versions of Atlas Shrugs.

I agree with the moral lesson that greed is the best organizing principal for the market.

In fact, it is the only organizing principle. All other methods fail. Altruism fails.

This isn't ideological. It's reality. When you bring your goods to market, you attempt to maximize your gain. That produces the best quality and the correct price.

Bob Ellison said...

Shouting Thomas, America is the most charitable nation, even though we're also the most free large nation. This is not a disconnect. Freedom leads naturally to altruism.

Leftists seem to think this link is just some weird combination of hyper-religiosity and guilt.

Shouting Thomas said...

I should have said "government enforced altruism."

Yes, free markets paradoxically produce free chosen altruism

Illuninati said...

I would like to explore Inga's charges against Ayn Rand.
"Rand was a selfish, evil, narcissist"

Lets start with the narcissism. Here is as good a definition of narcissism as any:

Symptoms of this disorder, as defined by the DSM-IV-TR include:
1.Expects to be recognized as superior and special, without superior accomplishments
2.Expects constant attention, admiration and positive reinforcement from others
3.Envies others and believes others envy him/her
4.Is preoccupied with thoughts and fantasies of great success, enormous attractiveness, power, intelligence
5.Lacks the ability to empathize with the feelings or desires of others
6.Is arrogant in attitudes and behavior
7.Has expectations of special treatment that are unrealistic

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_personality_disorder

For Ayn Rand to be a clinical narcissist, she would have to fulfill the criterion for the disorder.

Ayn's betrayal of her husband and of her friend could be considered evil but that is only a part of her private life. It would probably be just as wrong to call her evil because of that as to call Jack Kennedy evil because of his numerous affairs. So far as I know, Ayn never used force to compel other people to follow her will and never killed anyone like the leftie gods have done.

Ayn is selfish. Now we are hitting pay dirt. According to lefties, anyone who opposes their schemes is selfish by definition. Of course lefties who want to take control of other people's lives through force do not consider themselves selfish. One could ask what is more selfish than to take ownership of another person as lefties do, but that question is beyond the pale in leftie circles.

Ann Althouse said...

The obit says "Ms. Rand had insisted from the start that both spouses — Ms. Branden and Ms. Rand’s husband, Frank O’Connor — give their consent."

So Branden could have said no, and so could have O'Connor.

They didn't. So Rand's ideology matches the polyamory stuff Dan Savage talks about today. As long as the spouses have the power to say no, what is wrong? I mean traditional morality says it's wrong, but that wasn't Rand's thing. Was she a hypocrite? I don't see it, but I'm not too deeply into the details about Rand. I'm not going to read Branden's book, and I find it a bit icky to wait until someone has stopped giving you career favors to decide you don't like what she did and then waiting even longer for her to die to publish an attack.

Joe said...

wrote the best selling novel of all time

Ayn Rand wrote "A Tale of Two Cities?"

Who knew?

Mitch H. said...

What are the chances that Helen Mirren would star in a critically acclaimed biopic that focused on a moment of fatuity or sleaziness in the life of Lillian Hellmam

I would get over my usual lack of interest in biopics to go see a hypothetical Lillian Hellman-bashing picture, especially if they titled it Scoundrel Time. I always thought that was such an amazingly ironic title for a book so chock-full of falsehoods from the one-time queen of the unrepentant Stalinists.

DavidD said...

Meanwhile, Nathaniel Branden is a psychologist specializing in self- esteem. Go figure.

Robert Cook said...

"When you bring your goods to market, you attempt to maximize your gain. That produces the best quality and the correct price."

It can. It can also price-fixing, cheating, shoddy or unsafe products produced cheaply to guarantee profit even when the prices seem low, goods sold cheaply on the grueling labor of underpaid workers, and so on.

Why is it that those who extol the mythical "free market" always point out the miracles produced by the profit motive but never seem to acknowledge its inevitable concomitant ills?

Shouting Thomas said...

Why is it that those who extol the mythical "free market" always point out the miracles produced by the profit motive but never seem to acknowledge its inevitable concomitant ills?

Actually, Robert, we always do acknowledge the "concommitant ills." You are an idealist. I'm not.

I'm a pragmatist who is always looking for the least bad solution, an approach necessitated by the awareness of the human propensity for evil.

That least bad solution for humans is the free market. Which is why that process won the day in the real world.