The NY Times runs a review of a new Ayn Rand biography, "Ayn Rand and the World She Made" by Anne C. Heller.
Nor would Rand, sooner than any other desert prophet, allow her message to be trifled with. When Bennett Cerf, a head of Random House, begged her to cut Galt’s speech, Rand replied with what Heller calls “a comment that became publishing legend”: “Would you cut the Bible?” One can imagine what Cerf thought — he had already told Rand plainly, “I find your political philosophy abhorrent” — but the strange thing is that Rand’s grandiosity turned out to be perfectly justified.
In fact, any editor certainly would cut the Bible, if an agent submitted it as a new work of fiction. But Cerf offered Rand an alternative: if she gave up 7 cents per copy in royalties, she could have the extra paper needed to print Galt’s oration. That she agreed is a sign of the great contradiction that haunts her writing and especially her life.
...Yet while Rand took to wearing a dollar-sign pin to advertise her love of capitalism, Heller makes clear that the author had no real affection for dollars themselves. Giving up her royalties to preserve her vision is something that no genuine capitalist, and few popular novelists, would have done.
Hmm - is Steve Jobs a capitalist, and what is his view on compromising his vision for a few extra bucks? Never mind. More to the point, has Mr. Kirsch the vaguest familiarity with "The Fountainhead", Ms. Rand's earlier book whose protagonist, Howard Roark, was always refusing to compromise his vision in exchange for a bit of business? As to Atlas Shrugs, it is replete with characters who are similarly uncompromising and non-businesslike (as Kirsch understands it).
Whatever. The funniest thing I ever read about Ayn Rand described some seminar young, free-thinking individualists. All the women were wearing capes, smoking cigarettes, and doing their best to look like Dagny Taggart. Now all free-thinkers wear black to highlight their creativity and individuality.