Leitmotif

Reason as the Leading Motive

Two Lovely Ayn Rand Anecdotes

Posted by Jerry on August 7, 2006

I was listening to this New Hampshire NPR piece by Laura Knoy on Ayn Rand at her 100th birthday, and the first caller, “Bill”, who called in to the radio station had two lovely anecdotes to share with the audience.

Bill was in the University of Michigan studying architecture. Then, in 1965, after reading Atlas Shrugged, Bill moved to New York to pursue his studies in Objectivism. He said that what attracted him to Ayn Rand was the first line of The Fountainhead, “Howard Roark laughed.” Being surrounded in college by nihilists and defeatists, Bill found this expression of happiness as very liberating. It was extraordinary for him to hear somebody saying that life on this Earth can indeed by joyous and wonderful; that man can feel properly at home on the Earth, enjoying the use of their mind, being productive, and that happiness is normal.

Bill met Ayn Rand on several occassions while in New York. He recounts one incident at Ford Hall Forum where Rand was giving a speech. At the Q&A, someone asked Rand, “Do you enjoy sex?” And Rand threw her head back, and a big grin came over her face, and she just said “and HOW!”

The other anecdote that Bill recounts was at yet another Ford Hall Forum speech, the auditorium was packed beyond capacity for one of Rand’s speeches. So, they had set up some seats on the stage for people to sit behind Ayn Rand. There, in among one of those seats was a little young girl of maybe about 12 years old sitting on the stage. At the Q&A, the little girl had raised her hand up for a while in order to ask Rand a question. But Rand could not see the little girl as she was sitting behind her. So, some members of the audience gestured toward the little girl, causing Rand to turn her attention behind, and asked the little girl what’s her question.

The little girl stood up and asked, “why is so much emphasis put on people who are not able; why isn’t there any emphasis put on bright people?” And Rand, her face and her voice was so touched by the young girl, replied to her, “My whole philosophy is intended to make the world better for you.” Then, Rand asked the young girl to meet her afterwards.

Since, I am on this theme of Ayn Rand’s sense of life, let me also add that I’m taking such delight in noticing my friend Sean simply devour the Atlas Shrugged book that I gave him. He is simply in awe of the book and its ideas. He and I excitedly discuss at what point in the book he is in, what he thinks so far, etc. etc. He says he enjoys not only the radically new perspective the book offers but also fast-paced plot structure, the tension and thrill of Dagny and Hank’s characters, the suspense of the novel, and the large themes of the book.

I’m glad to see a new Rand-admirer is born. 🙂

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3 Responses to “Two Lovely Ayn Rand Anecdotes”

  1. John Enright said

    Great anecdotes. Very characteristic. Thank you for repeating them.

  2. Mark said

    A wonderful woman…I wish I could have met her just once.

    But then again, I guess I do everytime I read one of her works.

  3. Ergo said

    I myself enjoy such anecdotes from people who have met or seen Ayn Rand. This world is so sorely lacking of a sharp mind and personality like hers–truly something like that happens only once in a thousand years or so.

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