Saturday, March 03, 2007

March Matchups: Anne Rice vs. Ayn Rand

Welcome, welcome, welcome! This is the third match as a part of "March Matchups." Tonight, we will have the battle of two truly amazing authors, Anne Rice will take on Ayn Rand. Because of my perceived bias in this one, I have been barred from ringside. So in my place tonight we have a special guest ring announcer, Tom Wolfe. Mr. Wolfe is a brilliant author in his own right. Born in Richmond, Virginia, he is most well-known for penning The Right Stuff and The Bonfire of the Vanities. Believe me when I tell you, Bonfire the book, is a thousand times better than, Bonfire, the movie. So without further delay I turn things over to our special guest ring announcer.

"Ladies and gentleman this match uh...I don't know how to do this! I know nothing about wrestling! Anyway Anne Rice is going against Ayn uh...back to you Sean."

Alright thanks very much, Tom. Now to our match...

Anne Rice vs. Ayn Rand

Some of you may know Anne Rice from my links section, "The Great Anne Rice." Yes, I've mentioned her and her great literature on this blog, oh I don't know, maybe once or twice. Seriously, you more likely know her from the movie Interview with the Vampire (1994) based on the novel she wrote of the same name back in 1976. The movie starred Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Kirsten Dunst, Christian Slater, and Antonio Banderas. Once again the book is better than the movie, but that's almost always the case.

Rice is the author of 26 bestselling books, of which your humble blogger is in the process of finishing up number 15. To say that I love her writing is the understatement of the century. Rice, 65, was actually born Howard Allen O'Brien; but told a nun on the first day of school that her name was "Anne." Apparently her mother named her Howard after the father. Pretty unusual. But I guess the mother was a pretty unique person. Rice was born in New Orleans and raised a Catholic. Although she went away from Catholicism for a while, she came back to her faith in 1998, which led to her recent work of art, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt.

Rice has been criticized throughout her career by some religious people for some of her writings, which can be on the racy side. Rice has also written erotica, using a pseudonym. But, I believe, the criticism was because of her topics and characters in her famed Vampire Chronicles. In those books in particular, Rice explored philosophy and the human condition.

You can interpret many of her books to mean more than what they on the surface are about. The character "Claudia" in Interview with the Vampire was based on her daughter, Michele, who died of leukemia at the age of five.

Her recent book explored the early life of Jesus Christ and how He felt as He started to discover who He was and what the future held for Him. One part of the book that really stood out to me, was when Jesus felt bad after discovering that many babies had been slaughtered by King Herod after He was born. Herod had ordered the killings of all newborn because he had heard that this "wonderchild" was due to be born. Christ the Lord details the return from Egypt to Jerusalem of Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and the rest of their family following the death of King Herod. It also talks about Christ's miracles as a child; such as when He healed a blind man outside the Temple Mount.

Despite past criticisms, Beliefnet named Christ the Lord, Spiritual Book of the Year for 2005. In addition, many noted Christian scholars have lauded Rice for her thorough research and excellent writing in her latest masterpiece.

Rice's books have sold nearly 100 million copies. She was married for 41 years to the poet Stan Rice, who died of brain cancer in 2002. Her sister, Alice Borchardt, and her son Chris, are also authors.

Ayn Rand, some will tell you her name is "Ann" while others say her first name rhymes with "wine." Either way she is a brilliant writer. She was born in Russia in 1905 and died in NYC in 1982. Rand is buried in the Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla.

She grew up during volatile times in Russia and had to move with her family when she was 12 during the Russian revolution in 1917 out of St. Petersburg. She would later return for her education at St. Petersburg University. She came to the United States in 1926 when she was 21 and was completely amazed by New York. She wrote about the great New York City skyline in her book, The Fountainhead.

Rand was big into philosophy, studying all the greats. She wove her philosophy into fiction and non-fiction. She believed in man's pursuit of his own happiness as the sole reason for living. She wholly subscribed to the satisfaction of the individual and in man's freedom and pursuit of happiness

This is what she told the graduating class at West Point in 1974, "I can say - not as a patriotic bromide, but with full knowledge of the necessary metaphysical, epistemological, ethical, political and aesthetic roots - that the United States of America is the greatest, the noblest and, in its original founding principles, the only moral country in the history of the world." We could use an Ayn Rand or two today, could we not?

Both writers are very similar in the sense that their personal philosophies on life are injected into their writings, be it fiction or nonfiction. Rice, however, tends to be on the more liberal side, whereas Rand might be described as "middle of the road." Their writings are fantastic, very descriptive, and extremely thought-provoking. Their books are very deep and are not always the type of books you can just "coast" through. However, I guarantee you that your vocabulary will improve by leaps and bounds.

The winner in this one is predictable: Anne Rice. Being a liberal, Rice probably did not want to fight early, but after Rand slugged her a few times, the basic instincts for the survival of man (or in this case woman) and her need for success drove Rice to victory. Hey, I'm the promoter what'd you expect?

Stay Onsides!

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