I’ve never read Ayn Rand.
I hear so much flagrant shit about her books. The gist I got was she hates poor people and blames poor people for being poor or something?
But there’s gotta be more to it than that. I…
I’ve been reading The Fountainhead (well, listening to it at work) and, as a portrait of an idiosyncratic artist who does things his own way and struggles to find an appreciative audience, it’s not bad. Roark is a weirdo, no question, but as a weirdo myself I can relate to having priorities that seem strange to other people and being baffled by those others in turn, and Rand isn’t a bad writer when she’s not on one of her hobbyhorses.
The main problems are 1) that Roark is held up not as an interesting, quirky character but as an ideal we should strive for, and 2) the villains are cardboard cutouts of the Evil Altruist. Either of these alone would be wearying. Put them together, and you have something akin to the anti-evolution Chick tract “Big Daddy”, with Roark as the clean-cut young creationist calmly and politely devastating the arrogant science teacher.
FAMOUS ARCHITECT: But see here, Howard, why shouldn’t we add some decoration to the house if that’s what the client wants?
ROARK: Because that’s irrational. You wouldn’t put decorations on your CAR, would you?
FAMOUS ARCHITECT: B-b-b-but, now see here, my dear boy, why I never, in, in all my days, such a thing, it just isn’t done— (to self) My god! He’s destroying me!
And like that. Roark is going to design unadorned Brutalist boxes because that’s what he likes, and if you want your house to look like something else it’s because there’s something wrong with you.
Later in the book (I’m only a quarter through this doorstop) I understand he starts dynamiting housing projects so I expect he gets a lot less sympathetic in a hurry.