Thursday, November 8th, 2012
76

'Atlas Shrugged': Who Is John Galt's Chiropractor?

As I stood on the precipice of Atlas Shrugged after a lifetime of merely saying the expected, snide things about Ayn Rand, I found myself consumed with foreboding. I already enjoy listening to Rush. I have a surprising amount of money for someone with my background and skill-set. I have the unwarranted ego of a white, female Kanye West without musical ability. Moreover, I have terrible natural instincts.*

*Evidence of the Latter

1. I thought Clinton was telling us the truth about That Woman.
2. I thought John Edwards was nobly devoted to Elizabeth.
3. At the age of six, while watching a documentary about JFK, I concluded that Jackie did it.
4. I dated three men in a row who "didn't think Spinal Tap was all that funny."

And then, of course, knowing these things about myself, the great fear: what if this is actually an amazingly convincing book? Will I become an Objectivist?

That didn't happen. HOWEVER, let's start with the positive stuff, maybe? Sometimes the way we make very funny fun of Ayn Rand is a little gross. It is! It's a little gross. First, and Saunders does this too, even though he is absolutely a Gift From the Universe, enough with the rape jokes. Don't do that. I know why you want to, obviously, because THESE FUCKING BOOKS, RIGHT, but don't. Second, yeah, she was not attractive. She was an unattractive woman. But so was, you know, Bella Abzug, and if someone says shit about it to me, they're gonna lose some teeth. Not literally, or anything, but I might Tweet something rude in their general direction (throws down carpal tunnel wrist guard, demands satisfaction). It's not important, you know? You can spend the rest of your life talking about how bad or dangerous or naive or WHATEVER Atlas Shrugged is, and never need to say, "oh, she was kind of toad-looking, so tee-hee." Moving on.

I really wanted to be extremely open-minded about this novel. Obviously because we take our Classic Trash deathly seriously, but also because people who are super into Atlas Shrugged are the sort of people who send nasty emails about how you are a parasitic Communist who couldn't make a better kind of steel to save your life. Guilty as charged, curiously combative Randians! But I feel as though I have given it a fair shake. I was a reed, bending in the wind. My mind was deliberately vacant, waiting to be filled. My iTunes was playing "Closer to the Heart."

Why is this book so long? Longer than any other book you've ever read? Because Ayn Rand has to say what color absolutely everything in the world is at any given moment. Bright gold! Fresh green! Clean white! Blinding white! Glowing brown! Dead blue! Fire is red and steel is grey!

(Wait, wait. Wait. Is that just being mean? Would I still be eye-rolling if those bits were jammed into an Annie Dillard book, or some random prose poem by William Carlos Williams? Yes, yes, I would, but it's important we engage in frequent Intellectual Honesty exercises.)

But, no, really, enough with the colors. The colors were what first made me realize This Whole Thing is Just Batman. New York has never been more Gotham-y than in Atlas Shrugged. Our protagonist Dagny (!) takes that first train ride into the city, with Taggart Transcontinental towering over everything, and it is just too Wayne Enterprises for words. The city is grimy! Dark satanic mills! Smelting! Urban alienation! A dark knight must rise! The people need him! Who is he?

Motherfucking John Galt. Jesus Christ. After a few hundred pages, the question "Who is John Galt?" becomes "When is this asshole going to show up?" It's like watching a meme take off that you haven't personally committed to, like "Overly Attached Girlfriend" or "Shit Women Say." Oh, is that an awkward metaphor? Did you not enjoy it? Then do not read this book, because UGH the oak tree is your childhood and GAH your lonely apartment is the prow of a ship and WHY are you telling me that cigarettes are like holding the power of fire in your hand? It is too much. It is just too much. Obviously, it's a polemic, so you're going to have to grit your teeth and take it, but, then, is this not our great question? Shall we write polemical novels? Is it acceptable to write polemical novels? Are they ever any good? Rand, of course, insists that Atlas Shrugged is a love story. Which, okay. I was happy that Hank Rearden cheated on his horrible wife with Dagny. I was kind of happy for Hank and Dagny. Dagny clearly has a lot of shit to put up with at work, and Hank is surrounded by losers, so it's nice they found each other, prior to John Galt weirding everything up. PLUS, Hank doesn't rape Dagny, which immediately makes this the Free to Be… You and Me of Rand's oeuvre.

And so we come to Objectivism. Aw, man. It's just not that compelling, I'm afraid. I don't even think it's evil, just… meh. And it's kind of adolescent and goofy. And it's obviously meant to be taken seriously, but it's just so The Last Scene of Fight Club, and everything, that I feel obliged to come up with a workable alternative for the young people seeking some kind of similar ethos: try to be good at things and take some initiative in the workplace, or whatever, but don't think that gives you the right to feed stray cats into ATMs. Go forth and build some railroads. Maybe be so good at your individual thing that people might notice if you went on a symbolic strike? That sounds like it could work. Okay, let's talk this out!

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

• Ahhhhh, so many movies and movie attempts. Let's do our casting suggestions! So many hot men, so little time. So many bitchy ladies and one superior one.

• Ugh, you just know that all the past, present, and future film adaptations will involve agonizing billboards asking us "WHO IS JOHN GALT?" and then your eyeballs will fall out.

• I don't like Catcher in the Rye, either, in case I didn't mention it. Wah-wah people are so fake.

• HOW ABOUT THAT ELECTION, HUH?

• Did you go through a Rand thing? Are you still in a Rand thing?

• Are you better at what you do than other people are?

• Was "parasitic Mexicans" actually a plot point? On a related note, did ANYONE not see that the Mexican government was going to nationalize that railroad? It shouldn't take Dagny to see it.

• Hey, Argo was pretty fun. Even if, like this Canadian, you sat there grinding your teeth like HEY BITCH WE'RE THE ONES WITH SKIN IN THIS GAME.

• What are the good polemical novels? And do not say Uncle Tom's Cabin because it is truly a terrible novel, though I am obviously happy it was written and widely read.



Previously in Classic Trash: Robert Heinlein's Stranger In A Strange Land

Or read more about Ayn Rand (and Alan Greenspan!) here: When Alan Met Ayn




Nicole Cliffe is the books editor of The Hairpin and the proprietress of Lazy Self-Indulgent Book Reviews.

76 Comments / Post A Comment

janicek (#239,261)

Yay I LOVE this! As a die hard liberal I've always been embarrassed to admit that I have a real soft spot for Ayn Rand, but her philosophy, loosely interpreted by 17 year old me as "put yourself first, dammit," while really shitty on a macro political level was actually instrumental in causing me to dump my abusive ex. His whole thing was telling me how selfish I was being by, say, refusing to stop talking to my best male friend to ease his stupid jealous whims, and the idea that selective selfishness wasn't actually bad was exactly what I needed to hear.

Ifyousayso (#237,834)

@janicek I used to know a woman who had become a nun at a young age, in part due to family pressure, and the books of Ayn Rand played a significant role in her decision to leave the convent.

janicek (#239,261)

@Ifyousayso Yay! So glad I'm not the only one! I feel like women are often convinced that selflessness is the best personality trait they could possible have, and then are manipulated 1000 ways based on that. The idea that selfishness isn't just "okay" but is actually a VIRTUE was incredibly freeing. That said, it is a SUPER trashy book, what with the rape, the 50+ page speeches, etc etc.

ellbeejay (#13,699)

@janicek Yes, this. I read The Fountainhead right after I turned 17, and then Atlas a few months later (I didn't put it down! I finished it in three days WHEN I HAD SCHOOL!), and it was actually one of the things that made me realize I wanted to go to college and do for myself rather than just doing what my then-fiancé and parents told me to do (i.e. being barefoot, uneducated, and pregnant).

I can still read TF sometimes, but not Atlas. Like Nicole said, too many colors, oh man, and she needed an editor like we all need to breathe. And I think I can enjoy the philosophy more when it's just one guy rather than all the "makers" and the "takers" and whatall. Oh, and it made a lot of sense to me, too, that even altruism is selfish. And that's okay, I decided! Selective selfishness!

blue_canary (#238,555)

@janicek You are definitely not the only one. I read it basically the same way you did. I always get a twinge when Rand comes up in progressive circles, because people talk like she personally created modern conservatism/the patriarchy. I get that a lot of libertarian man-children are pushy, inconsiderate asshats, but that's on them, not dead novelists.

If I have to choose a piece of trashy pulp that's been weirdly mushed together with pretentious philosophical ramblings, I'll take Rand and her smart heroine who gets to mack on tons of hot dudes without being slut-shamed, over a magic-pixie-dream-girl any day. (And just skip the sections about whaling.)

MissMushkila (#42,100)

@ellbeejay I read Atlas Shrugged in less than 3 days while in high school also! One night, I was supposed to be at Tae Kwon Do – only this was when I was old enough to drive myself, so I got into my uniform and then just drove to the other side of the block and read Atlas Shrugged in the car by the overhead light.

I liked it, because I was 17. I would probably still enjoy it in a trashy way. I love beautiful writing, but I do not mind bad writing either? I mean, I read the entire Twilight series. I put this in the same category. Also I always thought it was some crazy utopia, and didn't apparently get that she meant it to be a realistic philosophical argument.

Mistress Sparrow (#239,284)

@janicek I was brought up conservative Catholic. I also read Ayn Rand as 16-year-old (like, ALL of Ayn Rand, even the nonfiction), and it was my gateway drug to libertarianism, which brought me here to full-blown liberal-progressive. So I have a lot to thank Ms. Rand for.

But I gave away my copies of "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged."

Mari D (#239,239)

@ellbeejay
Oh God, no kidding. Can you imagine being Ayn Rand's editor? Talk about deserving combat-pay…

Steph Cha@twitter (#239,045)

I haven't read any Rand and will probably only read Atlas Shrugged if I live for a very long time. THIS, though, I enjoyed very much. (As a side note, is it actually worth reading? I feel like I'm as familiar with its essence as I will ever need to be.)

lbf (#2,343)

@Steph Cha@twitter Maybe read The Fountainhead, as it's much shorter? That's what I just did. It has some elements of a good novel (also: rape, though). My parents read it and liked it even though they're leftie Catholics (but French ,so they don't know about the ideological baggage of Rand, and also she's super sarcastic when she disses ideals she disagrees with so maybe they missed that).

Ophelia (#75,576)

@lbf Or just read Anthem – it's the shortest (gets to the point in, oh, 120 pages or so?), and, I find, the least "I'M GOING TO HIT YOU OVER THE HEAD WITH METAPHORS" (although the entire thing is kind of one giant metaphor, so maybe I'm wrong?).

tachycardia (#239,286)

@Steph Cha@twitter From a bleeding heart liberal: You could try We The Living, much shorter than The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged, and imho the least pushy one. Set in the USSR, drama ensues. Supposed to be the most auto-biographical (I think I read that somewhere), so helps put her in context.

hershmire (#233,671)

Fact: The Ayn Rand Institute is a registered non-profit.

Ralph Haygood (#13,154)

"…you are a parasitic Communist who couldn't make a better kind of steel to save your life." Um, well, actually, I probably could – I was trained as a physicist, and I've had a fair amount of practice running experiments and measuring stuff, so I suspect that with enough time and money, I could figure it out. But then again, so could a lot of other people. And that's one of the major problems with Ayn and her acolytes: they badly underestimate the prevalence of ability and the importance of opportunity. Also, she wrote comically awful dialog.

Mari D (#239,239)

As an unpaid Randian apologist, thank you for being so gentle.

Here's the deal: there are about 15 really, really amazing lines scattered throughout this book, and once you find the first one (AND YES, whip out your highlighter pen) you're on a mad quest for the next. Unfortunately, you usually have to slog through another 100 pages of dreary railroad stuff to get your next "fix".

(Kinda like soldiering through the Book of Kings and Numbers to get "The truth will make you free".)

That's the only way I can explain how people get to the end.

19centuryman (#239,273)

@Mari D : I've heard this near-exact argument from a Rand-loving friend before, and like I said to him, why not go elsewhere and read one of the thousands upon thousands of books that doesn't require you to slog through page after page of mind-numbing prose? Why this one? You don't even have to quite Ayn Rand: The Fountainhead is a much superior novel, with a pretty solid film adaptation (JACKHAMMER SCENE!) to go with it.

themegnapkin (#201,538)

@Mari D for someone who has never read the book and probably never will, can you just tell me what those 15 lines that are so amazing are?

Mari D (#239,239)

@themegnapkin

Ok before you google Ayn Rand's Top 25 quotes, please keep in mind:

1) This stuff is coming from a chick, a gender not exactly known for their hard-ass anti-authoritarian stances. So when you're a teenage girl reading this, you're totally in awe.

2) She actually lived this stuff–she was a Jew who escaped from Russia after her family's business was confiscated and they nearly starved. So when she's gassing on about the individual vs the state–and you're rolling your eyes— remember, she had a front row seat.

The only trash I see are your comments on this book. If you want to write a review or talk about the characters, the plot, or the themes of this book then you failed to do that. Also, what is your motives in attacking the author's physical appearance? Very unclassy and unprofessional.

j p o@twitter (#23,808)

@Joe Savarese@facebook There it is.

scrooge (#2,697)

@Joe Savarese@facebook Good job, Joe, nice close reading! Classy!

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@Joe Savarese@facebook You must be looking for a 7th grade lit class. It's not here, son.

Bittersweet (#765)

@Joe Savarese@facebook Hooray! I was secretly hoping for a whole crew to come on over and start spouting. Where are all your friends?

roboloki (#1,724)

facebook

Ugh, I was this –><– close to yelling "Trigger warning, please!" Check yourself (i.e. your premises).

Mr. B (#10,093)

I enjoyed Argo also, and I found the Canadian rage frenzy over it HILARIOUS. The Canadian ambassador is presented as a decent man who knowingly puts his life on the line to protect a bunch of strangers with '70 mustaches and ankle skirts and yet every editorial writer and blogger north of the border says it's a MASSIVE INSULT TO CANADA BECAUSE HOLLYWOOD, OR SOMETHING.

lbf (#2,343)

@Mr. B It seems like most people in Hollywood are Canadian these days anyway.

Bittersweet (#765)

What does Rush have to do with Ayn Rand? I'm obviously not enough of a Rushie (Rushhead? Rushmore?) to make the connection.

aSaltySalute (#293)

@Bittersweet Rush sings about Ayn Rand:

Live for yourself — there's no one else
More worth living for
Begging hands and bleeding hearts will
Only cry out for more

Well, I know they've always told you
Selfishness was wrong
Yet it was for me, not you, I
Came to write this song

I read the whole thing in 10th grade. I finished it because of that essay contest. I spent 2 weeks charging my friends 5 cents to borrow a pencil and then shook it off. Like most people who aren't desperately looking for a way to justify their privilege and self-perceived superiority, I imagine. COME AT ME BROS.

robotosaur (#238,251)

@Hiroine Protagonist I won $100 from that contest, with an essay I took 45 minutes to write. I have yet to achieve that hourly rate since. Thanks, Objectivism!

@robotosaur You are my IDOL! My perfectionism would have turned that into a 4000 hour project. I'd probably still be doing it.

Kakapo (#2,312)

@robotosaur Me too! Except I read The Fountainhead in one night and wrote the essay in the morning. I have no idea what the heck I wrote… and I would be scared to read it.

LHOOQ (#18,226)

Nicole, for the sake of everyone who has ever finished this book, I need to hear some righteous anger about how she stops the narrative for like 70 pages for John Galt's speech.

Also, how great was Dagny's one shouldered dress? I mean, I think Rand mentions her 'naked shoulder' about 100 times more than necessary, but still.

I read the book when I was a sophomore (or junior?) in high school, but I didn't really buy into it. It did, however, kick off my massive 30s/Gershwin/Art Deco phase, with a dash of Futurism/Constructivism.

BadUncle (#153)

You lost me at I already enjoy listening to Rush.

My two cents: one of the worst novels ever written, with or without the childish philosophical apology for narcissism and greed. Populated by two-dimensional characters, the story is poor sci-fi, and even worse romance. Even ditching the 70-page monologue on Objectivism, the narrative is a sluggish journey betraying an author with no real understanding of human nature. In fact, without the ideology, I doubt Rand's "love story" would have found a publisher.

I read this miserable adolescent fantasy – along with the loathesome Stranger in a Strange Land – as an adult, mistaking it for a "great work" that I'd missed while focusing on masturbating as a teenager. Had I only known that one could be a replacement for the other, I wouldn't have risked adult eye-muscle strain on such awful prose.

themegnapkin (#201,538)

@BadUncle there is something wrong with me that I thought she meant Rush Limbaugh at first, and only just now did I realize there is also a band called Rush and that is what she meant.

BadUncle (#153)

@themegnapkin Neither get airplay at my house. But I made the same mistake.

Ophelia (#75,576)

@themegnapkin I totally thought that, too, and was horrified.

@themegnapkin

NICOLE LOVES RUSH LIMBAUGH! *faints*
NICOLE LOVE RUSH (THE BAND) *faints*

stuffisthings (#1,352)

I feel like in an alternate universe 14 year old me could've VERY easily been taken in by this stuff. Fortunately I had a friend who was obsessed with documenting all of Ayn Rand's many faults (thanks, Kim!).

19centuryman (#239,273)

Good polemical novels? I'd say Germinal, as it really changed the way I think about nineteenth-century French industry.

Second option: Tristram Shandy is a polemic against the reader's patience, and is quite effective.

@19centuryman Native Son, David Copperfield, God Bless You Mr. Rosewater, The Stranger… aren't lot of supposedly realist novels polemics at heart? (George Eliot, I guess, being an exception)

aSaltySalute (#293)

@19centuryman How about 1984, and to a (much) lesser extent Brave New World?

BadUncle (#153)

@ContainsHotLiquid Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Conrad, Ralph Elison, Graham Greene, Rushdie and V.S. Naipal are just a few writers that could make social critique and polemics interesting – if not even entertaining.

In the end, infinitely better than Ayn Rand's work is the parody thereof in "Rapture," the novelization of the Bioshock game.

Tulletilsynet (#333)

@BadUncle
A Clockwork Orange.

I think it has to have a thesis to be a polemic.

@19centuryman The Jungle? The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists? War and Peace?

alorsenfants (#139)

I don't know — I used to know the producer and director of "This Is Spinal Tap" personally — and I could never tell them that I thought it was funny.
Guess we shouldn't go out. Spot on about Ayn Rand though.

nonvolleyball (#9,329)

fun fact: in 8th grade, I got cast in a play called Night of January 16th, which is a very boring courtroom drama (although I was thrilled to be in it). the author of that play is Ayn Rand. & all the adults in my life were constantly like, "it's an AYN RAND play?!" & I didn't realize what their deal was until I got to college.

other fun fact: my college had a very well-publicized Objectivist Society.

wallsdonotfall (#6,378)

@nonvolleyball They didn't actually do anything, though, did they? I remember seeing them table at the RSO fair and then never heard of them again, nor did I know anyone who joined them. (Which is shocking, given the population of selfish blowhards I knew.)

edit: wait, I remember this happening, and it was hilarious.

nonvolleyball (#9,329)

@wallsdonotfall okay, a) you are clearly younger than me. but b) I can't believe that the mere existence of an Objectivist Society was enough to identify my alma mater. that's somewhere between "embarrassing" & "awesome."

aSaltySalute (#293)

The part that's still leftover from my embarrassing Objectivist adolescence is the atheism. It was a disadvantage to be a libertarian who listened to Rachmaninov and read Victor Hugo at 16 (Jesus what was I even, argh) but it was nice to have all the big questions about God out of the way. And for all her nonsense Rand explains it in a way a that a kid can understand: the universe operates according to its own rules, those rules are knowable, there's no such thing as hobbits or Jesus, etc. Kids these days can just skip straight to Christopher Hitchens though.

Ophelia (#75,576)

@aSaltySalute …did we date in high school?

Oliver Miller (#9,699)

Trying to think of good polemical novels, umm: "Hard Times," "The End of the Affair," umm, umm, "All Quiet on the Western Front" is surprisingly okay. "The Jungle" is terrible, but I did at least manage to finish it in high school, so it's at least read-throughable. And I have a feeling I would loathe "Siddhartha" now but I thought it was brill at that same age. That's all I got.

Moff (#28)

I read it my junior year of college, chain-smoking Camel Lights in my shitty basement apartment the whole time. Probably it wouldn't hold up if I reread it, but my impression was that sheerly as a page-turner, it totally worked! If you can get into the right mind-set (which I think you really have to be in your junior year of college, or younger), you will be righteously pissed on behalf of Rearden and Dagny et al., and you will want very badly to see how this all plays out and DO THEY GET JUSTICE. And I think the enduring popularity of the book and The Fountainhead is evidence that Rand was, empirically speaking, a great novelist, even if she was a pretty bad novelist and an awful fucking philosopher.

Anyway: Every American should read it once, the same way every American should read the Bible once. Both should be read under the guidance of wiser parties. And I mean, if you chose not to read either, I wouldn't be upset with you for it or anything.

Moff (#28)

The Dispossessed is sort of a polemical novel, and not a bad one, although I think it reads better the younger you are, and probably read better when it was published than it does today.

kbrooks (#239,274)

So during my Rush phase in high school, I looked for some Ayn Rand to read. The Fountainhead was much shorter than Atlas Shrugged so I started with that. All I remember is a vague sense of "Don't tread on me!" self-righteousness, which seemed somewhat appealing, but adolescent to me even then, at 16.

Then I moved on to other Neil Peart recommended literature — The Big Money by John Dos Passos. Holy cow. That blew away Rand completely. (For some reason my local libraries didn't have the rest of the U.S.A. trilogy or I would have read them as well.) Although reading his bio now, I see that I took the novel in a way perhaps unintended by the author — as a condemnation of capitalism.

I tried to read Atlas Shrugged on a flight to (or from?) college one year.

I left the book on the plane. I'm pretty sure accidentally.

P.J. Morse@twitter (#239,279)

Bless your wonderfully open-minded heart for tackling "Atlas Shrugged." I, too, always made fun of it and felt guilty about it, so I tried to read it, and the prose defeated me every time.

A side note: A coworker listed "Atlas Shrugged" as her favorite book on a dating site. Then she complained that only weirdos wanted to date her.

For real.

LaPointe (#239,278)

I tried to read Atlas Shrugged about four years ago (when I was 24). I got to the third page of John Galt's speech when I realized that I absolutely hated everyting about the book. I was reading it while living abroad and, when I realized how much time I had spent with it, I ripped the book in half (strongman style) and threw it in the garbage.

bluebears (#5,902)

I tried to read it as a twenty year old (near abouts)and it bored me to tears. I couldn't finish it. Leaving out the Objectivism I think her writing is just awful.

Good polemical novel? Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie obviously. I believe it was about the inherent right of old ladies to eat people?

mooseketeer (#239,282)

I have a theory that no one has ever actually read the John Galt speech. Someone prove me wrong!

firedistrict (#239,299)

@mooseketeer I wish there were a way to like an absence of comments.

lavendergooms (#201,560)

I spent a good portion of Argo thinking it was cute that Ben Affleck had cast his father in law before it finally occured to me that Victor Garber is not actually Jennifer Garner's father.

blowsmyskirtup (#228,597)

I was turned off of Ayn Rand early in my teens because of near-constant viewings of Dirty Dancing. Then the Atlas Shrugged takedown in Sewer, Gas & Electric just sealed the deal for me.

shostakobitch (#1,692)

I read Fountainhead, Atlas, Anthem, We the Living, The Virtue of Selfishness, Return to the Primitive, and probably some other essays. I saw the movie where Ayn fucks Eric Stoltz, the Fountainhead movie from the 40s and then probably watched the Free to Choose 12 part miniseries or read Leo Strauss or read Kant just to see why she hated him so much.

None of it gets you anywhere because it is nonsense. Obviously. But I was so into it. And even if I was into it based on the Rand-as-adolescent-awkwardness (that everybody here is so glad to claim because it makes us all look wiser now), why would I have the temerity to claim what I think now is any less ridiculous based on another decade or so of life? Rand taught young me that everybody's full of shit. Like a certain Canadian band sings, "Growing up it all seems so one-sided. Opinions all provided, the future pre-decided, detached and subdivided in the mass production zone."

Spacious (#239,285)

I have not read any Ayn Rand, but I certainly have had her works quoted and derided in my presence. After a while, I noticed something familiar about Objectivism: It greatly resembled the philosophical rantings in my beloved Marquis de Sade books.

I figured that I was all clever and literate in noticing this connection, but then I found a website that posts random Rand vs. De Sade quotes and asks you to guess the impossible: Which one of them said it in print.

Nowadays, my greatest joy with regards to Ayn Rand is to troll liberals: I'll suggest that Objectism, as a philosophy, might be useful to people who, because of their selflessness, are frequently taken advantage of. I'm delighted by some of the posts up above that suggest the same thing. Did you know that being rescued by Objectivism makes your liberal friends head explode?

I discovered Rush in high school and loved everything they did, but this was before the internet and none of their lyrics actually mentioned her by name, so I grew to adulthood in complete ignorance of her existence.

I learned about her in a philosophy class taught by a right-wing libertarian so hardcore he considered himself an anarchist. But, being an actual expert in the field with all sorts of intellectual rigor and stuff, his opinion of Rand seemed to mirror the general consensus of professional philosophers.

If you've ever been on a plane, and the kid beside you keeps kicking the back of the seat in front of her and yelling "A IS A" and other nonprofundities and everybody else in the plane keeps looking at you because they think she's yours, well, that's pretty much how political philosophers think of Ayn Rand.

swizzard (#329)

I've never read any Ayn Rand, and have 0 intention to ever do so. I interned at the Cato Institute (go Running Dogs!) one summer in college. Unsurprisingly, a lot of people had a LOT of opinions about ol' Ayn–one guy was apparently excommunicated by the Ayn Rand foundation (or whatever) for making art out of grass & glue, which apparently, somewhere in the interminable Randian corpus, she claims is impossible.

All I know is, Objectivists make me uncomfortable, and are second only to Eric "Libertarian Republican" Dondero on the list of reasons why We Can't Have Nice Things.

alliepants (#204,157)

ERHMAGERD I LOVE ANNIE DILLARD

I'm fairly sure I was in love with Francisco D'Anconia for about six months when I was seventeen. I never really cared for objectivism, but Francisco was hot. What can I say? I had terrible taste in men anyway.

Son Tan (#239,292)

Nice book.

Native Tongue is a good polemic novel! And I'd say The Handmaid's Tale is too, even though I don't like it very much.

Zombie Stalin (#228,608)

I personally always pictured John Galt as being portrayed by John Waters. I mean, Waters's mustache just SO conveys ironic capitalist with the id of a spoiled of 4-year-old.

PCFerg (#239,326)

I was glad to read the first posters who said Rand empowered them in some way. I remember reading Fountainhead in my youth and liking it, mostly because it was sexy and had a strong woman lead, although I embarrassed myself by calling her Domini – q when trying to discuss the book. My mother told me it was a bad book and I never understood why until now. Oh, it was about selfishness? Okay. But, like they said above, many women could use a little more of that.

Active Body@twitter (#241,081)

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Business Guru (#243,570)

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