Whether you love her work or hate it Ayn Rand has always been a contentious author. Her books read like philosophical treatises crammed into some kind of imaginary biography of oppressed superheroes. The founder of modern objectivism’s stories have been described as heartless, logical, empowering, cruel, and (at least once or twice a book) kinky.
How could this style possibly translate to a younger audience? It turns out quite hilariously. Mallory Ortberg, an editor over at The Toast took a crack at rewriting samples of famous children’s books in Ayn Rand’s signature style. The results were spectacular.
Here’s a small piece of her re-interpretive rewrite of Laura Numeroff’s much loved If You Give a Mouse a Cookie:
“When you give him the milk, he’ll probably ask you for a straw. Altruism does not result in gratefulness; it results in a sense of expectation and entitlement in the receiver. He has been given something for nothing. What have you taught him about the value of his own labor? Nothing. You have given him not a cookie but your own self-esteem. When he’s finished, he’ll ask you for a napkin, and you will have no grounds on which to deny him, for you have conditioned him to suckle uselessly at your teat. Then he’ll want to look in a mirror to make sure he doesn’t have a milk mustache.”
And here’s a small sample from Mallory’s take on E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web as Ayn Rand would have written it:
“Remember, mother,” her daughter said, “the smallest minority on earth is the individual. How am I supposed to learn about the value of private property if you deny me the right to have any?”
“All right,” her mother allowed. “You can have him. And I hope,” she shouted at Fern’s back as the girl darted out the kitchen door, “you learn something about the free market!”
Compare that to Rand’s original quote: “The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.” I’d say Mallory has captured the spirit of Ayn Rand’s style quite well.
You can read these and more stylistic reinterpretations here at http://the-toast.net/series/ayn-rand-rewrites/.