7 Replies to “Atlas Took His Dear Time Shrugging”

  1. The length always turned me off to this book, so maybe I’ll watch the movies as you recommend. If you want some Ayn Rand that’s smaller than a breadbox then try Anthem, it’s 128 pages.

    I was under the impression that you were Libertarian, Baka-Raptor? Or was that just some self-deprecation of the Libertarian cause at 3:40?

    • I’m a jaded old libertarian who hopes for change but doesn’t expect it. I use “Who is John Galt” the same way it’s used in the book.

      My library’s online catalog has Anthem at about 2.5 hours long, which is shorter than John Galt’s speech, so I’ll add it to the list when I’m done with 1Q84. Then maybe I’ll listen to the real 1984.

  2. Speaking as a grumpy politically-minded dude that, as you correctly deduced, never actually read it: eh?

    I know the story, but it’s just not my kinda story. If I’m going to read a transparently-moralizing book with such a high straw-quotient, I at least need to agree with it to enjoy it. Otherwise, it’s like trying to masturbate to porn you’re *really* not into: a pointless exercise in frustration and dissatisfaction. I freely admit I probably *could* enjoy a straw book if I agreed, let’s not make me a hypocrite here, but as I don’t I can’t. See porn comparison, again.

    I realize that that probably came across as insultingly self-righteous and smug, and I’d like to add that I don’t mean to be any of those things. Shit, if anything, I’m envious of anyone who can easily divorce their political opinions from their ability to enjoy a good story. I’ve always respected you as a critic even if I find my opinions and tastes are just too different from yours to agree.

    I may not have read Atlas Shrugged, but I tried to read The Fountainhead once. Got about an eighth of the way through, when the villain, ranting about how evil he was, (or possibly the hero ranting about how awesome he was, it’s been the better part of a decade) said that all storytelling fiction, particularly novels, was trash, churned out for the braying crowds, and that the only true art of any value was stuff like architecture that people can actually use.

    Then I looked at the novel I was holding. The Fountainhead‘s no Atlas Shrugged, but it’s pretty big.

    And I turned it back in at the library and caught the rest on

    ‘Cause there’s no way that whoever said it wasn’t channeling the author in a fit of hypocrisy and/or pique at her editor.

    Finally, following my long-standing trend of replying to completely different articles from the one I’m actually commenting on, yeah, I agree that Kenshiro tends to forgive people for the most despicable crimes a little too easily once he knows their names and backstories, but the fact that he tends to do so after using his flesh-melting kung-fu superpowers to splatter them all over the place rather takes the edge off for me.

    Also, it’s the trappings of wuxia fiction at work, and isn’t that just how kung-fu movies are? The villain’s tragic past gets played up to bittersweet an otherwise heroic victory, to imply that the real tragedy is his (or her!) refusal to use their powers for good. It’s not like random henches are necessarily going to get the same treatment due to their reduced power and thus their reduced potential for good, though I liked that in Toki’s Dream Mode in the video game version, tons of those biker dudes basically threw themselves before him and offered to follow him not being swarms of rapist bandits feeding on the rotting corpse of civilization instead of rebuilding.

    …Wow, I’m wordy today.

    • Speaking from personal experience, there are a lot of people out there, some of whom are otherwise very intelligent, who can’t enjoy a politically charged form of entertainment unless they agree with the message. Happens with comedy all the time. I don’t hold it against people, but I do consider myself intellectually superior for being able to rise above my own views to enjoy it.

      Atlas Shrugged was a lot less offensive that I expected, but there’s still plenty of socialist trolling that I could easily see getting people to rage quit. While I wouldn’t expect everyone to agree with the messages as applied to the real world, I’d expect that within the context of the story most people would agree that the entitled rich folk are huge assholes and the productive rich folk can’t be blamed for quitting to screw them over. I do, however, disagree with Rand’s suggestion that society would collapse if “The 1%” all quit. Rand in the book often conflates talent with skill and experience. There’s a huge difference. A lot of skill and experience may disappear, but there’s plenty of talent out there to fill the void.

      I rather like Rand’s view of novels for one section alone. There were a bunch of snobs in the book making fun of people who think plot matters. They get called out and humiliated. Wish I wrote the lines down.

      So that’s where the hits from TVTropes were coming from! Is Kenshiro the only one who does it? Absolutely not. Is it a legitimate criticism nonetheless? Absolutely. It’s not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, just a minor gripe.

      • Well, if you feel intellectually superior for me for your ability to enjoy it, it’s only because you are. I couldn’t agree with that statement more.

        Again, I don’t disagree that those things work in terms of the plot and story, just that they’re not always there to serve those things. The book’s explicitly a conduit for her philosophy first and an adventure story second. Then again, you not only brought that up but went on to give it one star for an enjoyable thingummy that was nonetheless deeply flawed, so… your intellectual superiority strikes again.

        Heh. Well, now that you know I’m occasionally SpectralTime in other parts of the Internet, all I ask is that you not show up at my house wearing nothing but a butcher knife.

  3. My guess for the next video is Baka-Raptor reviews the Bible. That should be very interesting.

    • DUDE. My library’s online catalog has the King James version of the New Testament read by GREGORY FUCKING PECK! And it’s only 19 hours long? I might seriously do this…

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