Sunday, February 08, 2009

Nihilist of the Day: Howard Roark

Here's my latest Nihilist of the Day post, a true exposé of Ayn Rand's allegorical hero, as well as Rand's "Objectivist" philosophy.  Really great stuff and a decent intro to Rand, for those unacquainted with her work.

We've had groundhog nihilists and anonymous nihilists, so what's left than a fictional nihilist. And with that, I introduce the Nihilist of the Day: Howard Roark, the protaganihilist from Ayn Rand's seminal book The Fountainhead. Yes, I know what you're thinking. Ayn Rand is the originator of the Objectivist philosophy and a known critic of nihilism. But hey, who amongst us hasn't pretended to denounce the very nihilism that permeates every facet of our liberal existence? None. To denounce our postmodern denialist tendencies is one of the surest indications of our devout nihilism.

So why Roark? Why today? The answer is that I just saw the movie adaptation of The Fountainhead, starring Gary Cooper as Roark. And let me tell you, Cooper was super duper. Trust me, the first five minutes of the film are the best part. The whole thing is an unintentional laugh riot, but the beginning is clearly the best. Totally worth the price of admission. Rand even wrote the script and had total creative control, so you know it's GOT to be good.

For those who have yet to experience Fountainhead, allow me to summarize: Howard Roark is a visionary architect who rejects the opinion of everyone else and absolutely refuses to compromise in any way on anything. And in order to achieve this, he forces everyone else to submit completely to his whims and compromise on everything. And at the end, he dynamites a building he designed because they added balconies, yet is found "Not Guilty" by a jury because they agreed with his reason for doing so.

After all, criminal behavior is ok if you did it because you were punishing someone for defying you...if you're a nihilist, anyway. And the lesson is: Never defy a nihilist.

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