4 Brilliant Authors and Why They're Douchebags
Art Attack loves to curl up with a good book. Neil Gaiman, Harlan Ellison, maybe Sabine Baring-Gould's tome on werewolves, whatever's around, really. The last time we moved, we did a little inventory and found that a full quarter of all the boxes that we had moved were filled with some kind of book. That's not even counting the DVDs... most of which are film versions of books.
The thing about books, though, is that you tend to identify more with the story than with its author. After all, when's the last time you saw an author on E!? Hell, even people like Stephen King and Dan Brown don't really make entertainment news. It's not that they aren't famous, it's just that they're not being shoved down our throats by a media machine and so we know them only by their art.
That being said, there are some truly brilliant authors who have such deep moral lapses that if we'd known about them before, we probably never would've read any of their works no matter how brilliant. That was the key to putting together this list. The author must have turned out at least one work that was amazing, and they must have done something that you'd punch a stranger in the mouth for doing in front of you. Let's get started.
4. Ayn Rand
Why You Should Read Her: We literally read Atlas Shrugged four times back to back, and then immediately jumped into The Fountainhead. Rand challenges all conventional fiction with her superhuman characters and mind-bending philosophy. Her novels are examples of what man can be when he exerts his full mental power and has utter faith in himself.
Why She Was a Douchebag: Lots of people hate Rand for her political philosophies, and rest assured we don't agree with her world view in the slightest. But hey, communists say the same sort of thing about capitalists and vice versa, liberals say them against conservatives who say them right back. We're not giving her a hard time over that.
We're giving her a hard time over this statement: "A wonderful, free, light consciousness" born of the utter absence of any understanding of "the necessity, meaning, or importance of other people." She said that about William Hickman. Who was William Hickman?
In 1927 Hickman kidnapped 12-year-old Marian Parker and held her for ransom. When her father met with Hickman to pay the ransom, he could see his daughter in the car. After getting the cash, Hickman sped off, dumping the girl's body a little down the road. She'd been sawn in half and her eyes were propped open with sticks to make her look alive. They later found other pieces of her all over Los Angeles.
Rand wrote nice things about a guy who dumped the mutilated body of a girl in front of her father. If someone did that today, we hope we'd see President Obama sign into law the Hey Everyone, Let's Punch This Guy in the Balls Until He Dies Act, and not see accolades from a leading author.