Speed Reads

John Oliver Explains

John Oliver's Last Week Tonight mocks Ayn Rand: 'How is she still a thing?'

On Thursday, John Oliver's Last Week Tonight posted a withering takedown of the late Ayn Rand, and the adults who still idolize her. In case you're not familiar with her oeuvre, "Ayn Rand became famous for her philosophy of objectivism, which is a nice way of saying: being a selfish asshole," the narrator gravely intones. Rand "has always been popular with teenagers," the narrator continues, "but she's something you're supposed to grow out of, like ska music."

The show then pokes fun at several of her adult fans, like Mark Cuban, Glenn Beck, and a handful of Republicans in Congress, before noting that Rand is pro–abortion rights and anti-Reagan. She also had some controversial things to say about Native Americans. Given her conservative heterodoxies, why would conservatives hold her up as their idol, the narrator asks, "especially when there are so many advocates for selfishness they could choose?" Drake for president? (There are some mildly NSFW words and images.) --Peter Weber