Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsO7

Defending Ayn Rand

September 21, 1986

One advertisement for the L.A. Times states, "People who know what's important, and write it that way." Well, will someone please tell Carolyn See that before she tries to write about anything important, she had better learn first how to write what is. Did she just lose her glasses while reading Barbara Branden's biography, "The Passion of Ayn Rand," or is she just a pitiful thinker? In her review of the book, she skewers the facts, and gets right down to plain irrationality.

First, the facts. See says that Rand had a "strong attachment for certain kinds of trashy fiction," idolized Gary Cooper while she was in Russia, led an emotionally unstable life with her closest friends for nearly 20 years, had no sense of humor, "demanded" time to have an affair, tried to psychologize Nathaniel Branden into sleeping with her again, and had the "incessant American urge to form any kind of utopia."

Anyone using half his brain and having read and understood the book knows that 1) See's "trashy fiction" was Mickey Spillane and Ian Fleming; 2) Rand knew nothing of Cooper while in Russia and later only idealized, not idolized, his cinematic presence, not the man himself; 3) it was 14 years from the start of her affair to the breakup of NBI (Nathaniel Branden Institute); 4) she had a definite sense of humor that hid itself only when she was in a bad mood, just like anyone else; 5) she asked , not demanded , to have an affair, 6) she tried only to get Branden to think clearly while he was lying to her; and 7) did not form just any utopia; a truly objective person thinks about what he or she does, unlike See.

She takes Barbara Branden verbatim and then some as the definitive word on Rand. Well, I am sure that even Branden herself, despite the reviewer's seeming concurrence of opinion in the average eye, would not approve of this tack, which goes against one of Rand's most fundamental tenets. What the reviewer lacks is a true understanding of Objectivism, an official and acknowledged philosophy that she did not even bother to capitalize. She is obviously out of her mental and intellectual league in her incredibly bombed-out attempt to analyze a secondhand view of Rand. If she cannot even understand the writings of a former protege, what makes her think she can criticize the novelist-philosopher herself?

MICHAEL SAKAMOTO

Monterey Park

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|