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Saturday, April 15, 2006

okay and another thing about Ayn Rand

When the movie The Incredibles came out a couple of years ago, I liked it a lot but noticed the thematic undercurrent of smarter/stronger/more talented kids are being held back by egalitarian social structures. This theme echoes a lot of annoying conservative rhetoric, but it's not entirely without validity. It was of course, embraced by Ayn Rand fans. But really. What is more antithetical to their philosophy than the concept of the superhero? The superhero is a figure that is, arguably the kind of advanced supercool better than everybody else ideal Objectivists are fond of, but exists only to help others. Superheroes consistently put the needs of others ahead of their own. It's their essence.

If Ayn Rand wrote Superman, it would be extremely boring. Superman would fly around all the time, seeing people in trouble and saying to himself "Well I don't have any real incentive to get involved here. Those people falling to their deaths should figure out a way to help themselves." And he would fly on.

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Replies: 7 comments

Yes, well I still maintain that superheroes are inherently altruistic figures.

Dude, I wrote a paper about the Incredibles and included quotes from Ayn Rand to support my cause. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who saw it. 'Course I considered that a strength of the film...


Yes, in an odd way Vonnegut and Rand go together, because intelligent, alienated youths tend to gravitate to both of them, even though they are ideological opposites. Except for Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron" which is a very bizarrely Ayn Randian story. I have to admit it's really good though.

Rory's analysis about most of the problems being started by "Great Men" in the previous post reminds me of a recent release by Kurt Vonnegut in which he presents his view of the one defect in the American Constitution: That only nut cases want to be President.

Sigh, I'm familiar with Mr. Ditko and Mr. A, (and the Question who had some Objectivist stuff going on too) but I was really hoping nobody ELSE knew about that so they could undermine my hilarious wit. Thanks a lot, Czarnowski.

The alternative Spidey origin isn't so different from the real one though is it? Peter follows Randian ideals, looks out for himself, doesn't get involved in other people's problems and UNCLE BEN DIES!

With great power comes great responsibility, bitch.

There's a comic book by the great Peter Bagge about what would have happened if Peter Parker picked up a copy of Atlas Shrugged. It was released by Marvel and was called The Meglamaniacal Spider-man. Spidey instead goes into business for himself promoting himself as a character and makes enough money to buy the Daily Bugle and force JJJ into doing his laundry.

Spidey creator/artist/plotter Steve Ditko was a Rand follower and created a character, "Mr. A," as in "A is A."


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