Beneath the Valley of the Super Vixen
Title: Atlas Shrugged
Author: Ayn Rand
Blurb: “Atlas Shrugged is the astounding story of a man who said that he would stop the motor of the world — and did. Tremendous in scope, breathtaking in its suspense, Atlas Shrugged stretches the boundaries further than any book you have ever read. It is a mystery, not about the murder of a man’s body, but about the murder — and rebirth — of man’s spirit.”
Review: “I recently listened to the audio book version of Atlas Shrugged, and was completely shocked and amazed at how events portrayed in the book reflect reality in this country today. The principles of socialism, and the resultant effects on society as portrayed in the book, accurately fore-shadow many aspects of the social and political environment in the United States today.”
Customers Also Bought: “Atlas Shrugged (Cliffs Notes)” by Andrew Bernstein
Footnote: Vampire fantasies are enjoying a good ride in the Amazon Top 50.
Atlas Shrugged [Amazon]
Buy or Die [Stinque@Amazon kickback link]
Sweet Zombie Jeebus! John Gault is Alan Greenspan!!! Alan’s policies and deregulation sensation stopped the financial engine of the world economical!! But not the way Dour Ayn imagined it though…
When I was younger and didn’t have much money, I spent a lot of time perusing used bookstores to get reading material. Once thing I always noticed was that there were a lot of copies of author Ayn Rand’s books lying about. In the pre wiki days, I forked down $5 bucks for a copy each of Atlas and Foundation. That night I started reading Atlas. Approx 5 minutes into the book, I started to realize why there were so many Ayn books at the used book store. Approx 10 minutes later I was fast asleep.
The next morning I tried to read Foundation. 10 minutes later I put it down.
I still have both books on my shelf, but now unread for more than 13 years.
I’m ashamed to admit that I loved The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. I didn’t agree with Rand’s view of rugged individualism even before I knew what rugged individualism was and even before I learned she’d spawned some sort of cult. But I loved the books nonetheless, and I was impressed that she wrote them in English. I wish Haruki Murakami wrote in English and that I didn’t have to wait for someone to translate his books (Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World is my fave for far. Sputnik Sweetheart, not so much). Anyway, politics aside, I enjoyed reading those two Rand novels. Flame away…
No one could have predicted that economic policies derived from precepts contained in a third-rate novel would fuck up the world for a generation.
I first read the Rand canon around 1970. My impressions at the time were:
1) Why does she hate women?
2) Why does she hate everyone who isn’t a racially pure Übermensch?
3) Why would anyone think that the abandonment of the Social Contract was a good idea?
4) Why did I waste my time reading such dreck?
In the intervening decades, of course, my experiences have broadened my understanding. Now I see that she was a sociopath and a toxic human being, who was able to infect others.
My only hope is that she is forced to spend eternity talking with Camus and Sartre. Heh.
I think it would be No Exit for Camus and Sartre, not Ayn.
@ManchuCandidate: Back when I had a lot of time on my hands, I set myself the chore of reading “source” cultural documents, so I wouldn’t just be riffing on other people’s riffs.
Among the doorstops was Atlas Shrugged, which, once you get past the inertia, is really high paranoid comedy, the flip side of socialist realism. Everybody Speaks and Acts in Capital Letters, Because Everything Symbolizes Something. When you finally reach that valley, it’s like Dom DeLuise in Blazing Saddles, blissfully over the top.
What’s that? People take it seriously? Well, that’s the best part of the joke.
On the other hand…
@Ewalda: Camus has some very good moments, but Sartre is pure dreck. Those Frogs, they sure like to chase their tails.
@ManchuCandidate: Huis Clos, indeed.
@nojo: You offend me, Sir! As a proud descendant of a Huguenot, you have forced me to defend my honor by challenging you to a duel. How ’bout banjos?
@JNOV: Baguettes at dawn.
@JNOV: Hugenots? Weren’t they the founders of Philly-osophy?
@nojo: Make that brioches, and you’ve got a date!
@nojo: “Shall we say pistols at dawn?”
@blogenfreude: We can say it. I don’t know what it means, but we can say it.
@nojo: Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.
We read one of Ayn’s books — can’t recall which, but I gather they’re all about the same — in an econ class so, as my professor put it, we’d know how to recognize unsound thinking when we came across it.
God, I feel like a loser. Are The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged really that bad as novels apart from political theory?
@nojo: How did I know that you would get that reference?
@blogenfreude: Well, clue me in, cuz I’m feeling a little bit like Benedick right now (no offense, Love).
@JNOV: Fountainhead is arguably readable. Atlas is over-the-top hooey.
@blogenfreude: It’s one of the early, funny films.
@blogenfreude: @nojo: You two suck.
@nojo: But I like over-the-top hooey. ::sulks::
@JNOV: If you like over-the-top hooey, you’ll love Atlas Shrugged. It’s actually a favorite of mine, for the way Rand methodically (you can hear the gears grinding) sets up straw men throughout the book in order to triumphantly shoot them down at the end. It would make a great Mel Brooks movie: Blazing Objectivists.
@nojo: Well, at least a decade has passed since I read them, and I don’t even remember the plot too well. I didn’t even know what an Objectivist was when I read them. I’ll traipse to the library and re-read Atlas but not until I’m finished with Watchmen and Everything That Rises Must Converge. Or should I chuck those, too? :-P
@JNOV: If you chuck Watchmen, send it to me. I read a friend’s copy years ago, and never bought my own.
@nojo: Haha! Can’t do it — it belongs to Jr, and I have given up my DC hate (I do have love for Batman and the Justice League TV show) long enough to read this book before the movie comes out.
@JNOV: Love and Death – Woody Allen. A seminal movie.
@JNOV: None taken. But really, if you like great big thundering reads the way to go is War and Peace. You WILL laugh, you WILL cry, you WILL try not to get annoyed by Platon Karataev, you WILL hope it never ends. Your hands will shake, and from time to time you will have to put it down and remind yourself to breathe. Much like eating Buffalo wings at that place in Buffalo where they purportedly began.
All that objectivist/libertarian hooey seems deeply sentimental to me. Men and women, born to privilege as citizens of one of the safest and most protected nations on earth, ranting on about rules standing in the way of the pure expression of the individual. There are only about four or five people at any one time who have what might be called an original thought. The rest of us we get by as best we can.
@nojo: “When you finally reach that valley, it’s like Dom DeLuise in Blazing Saddles, blissfully over the top.” Well now you’ve actually made me want to read the damn thing.
Oh, and: “Camus has some very good moments, but Sartre is pure dreck.” Hear hear. And don’t get me started on Beckett.
Much like eating Buffalo wings at that place in Buffalo where they purportedly began.
The Anchorhead Bar! It’s the only place I will visit in Buffalo besides the Hockey Arena.
The wings are pretty good.
@JNOV: Love and Death trailer video added to the bottom of this post. Enjoy.
@Benedick: Agree about Sartre. Try finding an idea somewhere in his oeuvre.
War and Peace
Maude or Pevear/Volokhonsky?
I know, I’ve brought this up before. I just didn’t get a reply then.
Don’t tell me you read it in Russian.
@blogenfreude: Aw, Jeez. I can’t stand that guy. Except he had one great joke in one of his movies about the editors of Dissent and Commentary joining forces and creating a magazine called Dissentary.
@Benedick: I haven’t read War and Peace, but do I get points for Anna Karenina? One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich?
@blogenfreude: I thank you — it was entertaining. Maybe I can stop hating on him one day.
@JNOV: Mr. Konigsberg certainly hasn’t helped himself, but I had already parted ways with him long before that happened. He lost his mojo after Stardust Memories, despite the occasional amusing moment in later films.
But my other favorite movie (besides 2001) remains Manhattan. At the time, I had hoped to become the gentile Woody Allen.
@nojo: I wasn’t really exposed to him before his pederastic predilections came to light. I think the only thing I’d seen of his was Sleeper, and it was on TV. All I remember was the sex chamber thing. The rest just seemed dumb, but I was like 8 or 9, maybe, so I’m sure most of it was over my head.
@JNOV: I can’t believe I don’t have time to be on here, because I would have totally come to your defense! I loved both books as novels, I thought they were great stories.
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