The Watcher Cat

The Watcher Cat

Friday, June 27, 2014

Even in the Heart of Darkness...

…an ember may flicker.

(Helen Mirren as Rand in "The Passion of Ayn Rand.")

Ayn Rand was all about objectivism, the philosophical system for the selfish, but she was, apparently, also all about cats.
She loved cats so much that she subscribed to "Cat Fancy" magazine and engaged in correspondence with them on March 20, 1966.

Mallory Ortberg of The Toast came across this letter in the book "The Letters Of Ayn Rand."

Here's the text:

Dear Miss Smith,

You ask whether I own cats or simply enjoy them, or both. The answer is: both. I love cats in general and own two in particular.

You ask: “We are assuming that you have an interest in cats, or was your subscription strictly objective?” My subscription was strictly objective because I have an interest in cats. I can demonstrate objectively that cats are of a great value, and the carter issue of Cat Fancy magazine can serve as part of the evidence. (“Objective” does not mean “disinterested” or indifferent; it means corresponding to the facts of reality and applies both to knowledge and to values.)

I subscribed to Cat Fancy primarily for the sake of the picture, and found the charter issue very interesting and enjoyable.
"What?" I hear you cry, "a story about Ayn Rand that doesn't involve an attack on her philosophy or her bizarre fixation on serial killer William Hickman, or her horrifyingly turgid prose and lame ideas that are disturbingly influential? (Cue John Rogers: "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.")


Rand, for all of her flaws, was sound on cats.

Still my least favorite author, still a philosopher who bent her considerable intelligence to aggrandize all our worst instincts, but--sound on cats.

It's something.

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