Beating Dead Horses – Lynching Poor Old Ayn Rand Again

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I gather from the email forwards that someone’s not satisfied Ayn Rand has been accepted as pathetic enough, wrong enough, dead enough to be left alone.  Subject lines by non-psychiatrists, non-psychologists are taking the trouble to declare her a lunatic.

Poor, sad, bitter woman trapped inside a self yearning for men to be hairier chested, more muscled-up, more knock-em-around, slap-em-down and screw ’em.  More like the good old days, taking what they want from anyone too weak to keep them from it.

I wonder why they don’t just leave her the hell alone.  The 20th Century had no shortage of miserable, confused people, plenty of them writers, submerged in bitterness and misplaced notions of how it could be better.

In some ways every time Ayn Rand and her wishes come up I find myself thinking of Sylvia Plath, similar in so many ways, but with a different slant on the sort of man Rand longed for:

by Sylvia Plath 

You do not do, you do not do
Any more, black shoe
In which I have lived like a foot
For thirty years, poor and white,
Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.

Daddy, I have had to kill you.
You died before I had time–
Marble-heavy, a bag full of God,
Ghastly statue with one gray toe
Big as a Frisco seal

And a head in the freakish Atlantic
Where it pours bean green over blue
In the waters off beautiful Nauset.
I used to pray to recover you.
Ach, du.

In the German tongue, in the Polish town
Scraped flat by the roller
Of wars, wars, wars.
But the name of the town is common.
My Polack friend

Says there are a dozen or two.
So I never could tell where you
Put your foot, your root,
I never could talk to you.
The tongue stuck in my jaw.

It stuck in a barb wire snare.
Ich, ich, ich, ich,
I could hardly speak.
I thought every German was you.
And the language obscene

An engine, an engine
Chuffing me off like a Jew.
A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen.
I began to talk like a Jew.
I think I may well be a Jew.

The snows of the Tyrol, the clear beer of Vienna
Are not very pure or true.
With my gipsy ancestress and my weird luck
And my Taroc pack and my Taroc pack
I may be a bit of a Jew.

I have always been scared of you,
With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo.
And your neat mustache
And your Aryan eye, bright blue.
Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You–

Not God but a swastika
So black no sky could squeak through.
Every woman adores a Fascist,
The boot in the face, the brute
Brute heart of a brute like you.

You stand at the blackboard, daddy,
In the picture I have of you,
A cleft in your chin instead of your foot
But no less a devil for that, no not
Any less the black man who

Bit my pretty red heart in two.
I was ten when they buried you.
At twenty I tried to die
And get back, back, back to you.
I thought even the bones would do.

But they pulled me out of the sack,
And they stuck me together with glue.
And then I knew what to do.
I made a model of you,
A man in black with a Meinkampf look

And a love of the rack and the screw.
And I said I do, I do.
So daddy, I’m finally through.
The black telephone’s off at the root,
The voices just can’t worm through.

If I’ve killed one man, I’ve killed two–
The vampire who said he was you
And drank my blood for a year,
Seven years, if you want to know.
Daddy, you can lie back now.

There’s a stake in your fat black heart
And the villagers never liked you.
They are dancing and stamping on you.
They always knew it was you.
Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through.
12 October 1962

But nobody ever bothers dragging Plath up out of the grave and horsewhipping her.  What the hell.

Old Jules

6 responses to “Beating Dead Horses – Lynching Poor Old Ayn Rand Again

  1. Ayn Rand was ahead of her time and foresaw what is coming. A=A

    • Hi Momlady: I’d have said she foresaw a number of facets of the past. I certainly hope she wasn’t ahead of her time. I’d hate to think of a future populated by Ayn Rands seething around in the gymnasiums trying to find musclemen with brains. Gracias, J

  2. Ah, yes, Ms. Rand, the woman everyone loves to hate. As far as musclemen go, Alan Greenspan may be intelligent, but is certainly no muscleman, at least not in the typical use of that word. I can’t attest to his hairy-chestedness. But, he was a pal of hers and a member of The Group, and he can’t wrestle his way out of a paper bag full of paper money. If one is wanting someone to hate they could at least find someone still alive. It must be easier to hate dead people, as Plath certainly did her daddy. Love/Hate can be a tricky thing.

    • Hi Teresa Evangeline: I suppose you’re right, though it seems a bit counter-productive to waste energy hating a dead writer. Easier just not to read them. Which I mostly don’t, writers I get no pleasure reading. Including Plath and Rand. But the wash of human minds sorting around trying to find dead writers to quote to support their biases probably leads the others, quoting someone else, to support their own viewpoints, to attributing more importance to them than they’ve actually earned. Gracias, Jules

  3. I never thought of comparing Rand with Plath and their choice of men, but I see your point. I compare Plath’s choices with Marilyn Monroes in AMERICAN ISIS: THE LIFE AND ART OF SYLVIA PLATH, which St. Martin’s Press will publish in late January.

    • Hi Carl: Some of the writers of the past managed to send a message through the decades in the manner of their living and dying stronger than whatever messages they intended with their words. Rimbaud, Baudelaire, Poe, and the two mentioned are among them. I tend to disregard intended messages when the people sending them were too twisted in their lives and they way they lived them to suggest they had anything valid to say. But I’m not evangelical about it. Gracias, Jules

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