|BEYOND THE SEA
comic updated December 08, 2008
I love me some "Bioshock." Conversely, I hold
the philosophies of Ayn Rand in bewilderment and contempt. The bewilderment
is mainly due to the fact that her obviously-incorrect-when-practically-applied
philosophies have managed to endure amongst a subset of people to this day,
and the contempt is because she couldn't write human dialogue to save her
You know how in, like, the "X-Men" comics, especially
in the Chris Claremont era, there'd be some sort of fight going on, and Wolverine
will jump in the air, adamantium claws unsheathed, and somehow in the space
of the half-second from the time he jumped to the time he lands he manages
to say, "All right, bub, this is it -- time we got down to business! Bet
you didn't realize I was trailin' you all evening. Got enhanced mutant senses,
y'see. To a normal human, you just blend into the crowd, but to my
mutant olfactory senses, you're a mix of dirty dishwater and apple dumplings
and lawn clippings and body odor and aftershave and ketchup and kielbasa
burps. I'm the best there is at what I do, and what I do is sniffin' people.
Let's go, bub!"
Ayn Rand wrote like that. It's sort of fun when
Wolverine says it. When it's from a self-important Objectivism-spouting casual
murderer like Dagny Taggart in "Atlas Shrugged," on the other hand, it's
not just head-shakingly awful, it's unbearably BORING, because it can go
Ayn Rand tended to use her fiction to push forward
her philosophical ideals. Because her ideals tended, upon even casual
examination, to be inapplicable to the real world, most of the character
dialogue that was written to justify these ideals through argument and discussion
went more or less like this:
Hero: All obstacles can be overcome by
reason. It is through rational thought that one asserts oneself worthy of
the mantle of humanity, and by working in one's own rational self-interest,
one achieves the highest standard of morality that exists in the
Other Guy: What if your rational self-interest
conflicts with someone else's rational self-interest?
Hero: You do not understand. By analyzing
the situation rationally, we can see that all rational self-interest leads
ultimately to the greater good of society at large. Thus, anyone working
in his own self-interest is, in effect, working towards the interests
of all rational people.
Other Guy: Wow, you told me!
To this end, I would say you should be glad that
you have Bioshock for the Cliff's Notes version of the philosophy, as expressed
through screaming undersea freaks trying to kill you.
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