Here’s a magnificent pun that Malcolm will treasure:
Meet Ron Johnson, the Randiest of the Ayn Rand Republicans
It’s John Nichols at The Nation, celebrating the Senator from Wisconsin.
Nichols vamps lightly on the propensity of GOP figures for trite “Objectivism”:
Rand’s books serve as an ideological touchstone for a new generation of Republican politicians who have built their politics around the writer’s cold delineation of distinctions between idealized “makers” and disdained “takers.”
House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan, the party’s 2012 vice-presidential nominee, peppers his remarks with Randian references and once admitted, “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand.”
Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann employed the Rand lexicon during her 2012 presidential run. California Congressman John Campbell gives interns copies of Rand’s opus, Atlas Shrugged, whileHouse Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-California, tweets: “Still reading Atlas Shrugged—it’s quite the read.”
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul says he’s really a “Randy”—not a namesake of the author. “But,” he adds, “I am a big fan of Ayn Rand. I’ve read all of her novels.”
Malcolm admits to a total reading block here. He’s tried. He’s failed. Repeatedly. Life is too short for such stuff. He reaches page 10 and the heat death of the universe totally overwhelms him.
Nichols — bless his little cotton socks — deconstructs the effete Senator Ron Johnson, the Tea Party favourite — after Johnson had been cut down to size by Secretary of State (as he now is) John Kerry.
However, Malcolm interposes one small quibble against Nichols, who writes:
While Johnson may not be prepared for Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings, he’s entirely up to speed on Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged. Never mind that Dorothy Parker said of the book, ”This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.” Ron Johnson thinks Atlas Shrugged contains 1,168 pages of life lessons.
1,168 pages to grind through! How does anyone manage it? Is life that long, or does it just feel eternal? Meanwhile, Malcolm is currently pecking and picking, yet again, at Tristram Shandy — some 700 pages in this delicious Visual Editions version — and that is something that could, and should go on for ever.
That isn’t Malcolm’s grief over Nichols: it’s that gratuitous involvement of the Dorothy Parker. The oft-quoted, and most often mis-attributed quotation was produced as a review of Benito Mussolini’s The Cardinal’s Mistress. That was originally published, in 1909, as a pull-out serial in La Vita Trentina as Claudia Particella, l’Amante del Cardinale: Grande Romanzo dei Tempi del Cardinale Emanuel Madruzzo.
Nichols’s punch-line pays for all:
Paul Krugman reminds us, “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
Which came originally from a 2009 blog by Kung Fu Monkey.