Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What about Ayn Rand?

Laugh at this illustration of
Atlas and Fudgy the Whale
while you can, parasites. *
Well I still haven't had time to read the rest of Atlas Shrugged. I'm currently teetering on the edge of chapter 4. But soon... I'll have to renew it again if the library will let me. Hah hah, the American public library, subverting capitalism since 1790. Thank you Ben Franklin.

In the meantime let's enjoy this review of Atlas Shrugged from the New York Times on October 13, 1957. Here's the opening:
This Gargantuan book comes among us as a demonstrative act rather than as a literary work. Its size seems an expression of the author's determination to crush the enemies of truth - her truth, of course - as a battering ram demolishes the walls of a hostile city. Not in any literary sense a serious novel, it is an earnest one, belligerent and unremitting in its earnestness. It howls in the reader's ear and beats him about the head in order to secure his attention, and then, when it has him subdued, harangues him for page upon page. It has only two moods, the melodramatic and the didactic, and in both it knows no bounds...
And even more amusing is Alan Greenspan's letter to the NYTimes from November 3, 1957, concerning the book, back when he was a mere stretch:
To the Editor: 
"Atlas Shrugged" is a celebration of life and happiness. Justice is unrelenting. Creative individuals and undeviating purpose and rationality achieve joy and fulfillment. Parasites who persistently avoid either purpose or reason perish as they should. Mr. Hicks suspiciously wonders "about a person who sustains such a mood through the writing of 1,168 pages and some fourteen years of work." This reader wonders about a person who finds unrelenting justice personally disturbing. 
New York.
Oh yeah - you just know some of this is going into my play. I'll probably have the spectre of Ayn Rand quote it back at him after Greenspan's repentance.

And here is the Ayn Rand Novels web site offering the Atlas Shrugged Summer Reading program, complete with a $10K prize for a winning essay. But you have to be in school to enter. Dammit, this might have really incentivized me into getting this thing over and done with.

*Illustration from the Mother Jones article about the private equity firm Roark Capitol Group, which owns Carvel.