Wednesday, August 20, 2014


When we last paid attention to Robert Tracinski in 2013, he was telling the GOP how to be winners again. The whole piece is ridic, but Tracinski got a little interesting (that is to say, heated) when he talked about a certain author:
Yet the biggest failure of the right is that it has lost the economy’s technological elite. Admirers of Ayn Rand’s novels can immediately grasp why this is so important... 
Today’s John Galts and Hank Reardens are not in a valley in Colorado. They’re in a valley in California. The Hank Rearden of Silicon Valley, an innovator who started out in a garage and built a company which became the most valuable in the world, was Steve Jobs. But Jobs was—let’s be honest here—kind of a hippie. He had many of the virtues of an Ayn Rand hero, but a very different personal philosophy...
He never did finish this thought, probably because the vision of turtlenecked Producers transported him. Anyway, Traciniski's back at The Federalist, and he's really letting his Rand flag fly in something entitled "All An Ayn Rand Hero Really Wants Is Love." I have read the whole thing and I'm pretty sure it's not a joke.

His big point is: you littlebrains think Rand was for the rich and against the poor, but nuh-uh, because several Atlas Shrugged characters renounce their wealth  and go Galt -- and get rich again, but on their terms because they're naturally superior to the horrible statists like you. [retucks shirt]

Edifying as this lecture and its presumed effect on the crowds on his bedroom wall may have been for Tracinski, he seems unsatisfied, so he goes One Step Beyond and tries to us tell us not only that these characters are better at life and inventing and managerizing than the sheeple, but also that they are better at emotions: of the very first things we learn about these tough, pitiless Ayn Rand heroes is their emotional vulnerability. One of the big themes that drives the plot throughout Part 1 is the loneliness of the producers.
The Loneliness of the Producers should definitely be the name of a slashfic site.
The novel projects a culture in which what they do is not recognized, valued, or rewarded. Or rather, since both Dagny and Rearden have been very successful in economic terms, they have been rewarded only with money, and they treat that as if it is the least important reward.
You even see them sighing and weeping sometimes, but eventually they find and form "family" with a bunch of other rich fucks and they all live productively ever after. They are so not cheesy antique wish-fulfillment objects for the little children inside who never got over their playmates' laughter.

The punch line? Tracinski's working on a reader's guide to Atlas Shrugged, and directs us to another site where, now that he has our attention...
My target is to raise $25,000 to buy back more of my time from other projects and focus on completing my Reader’s Guide to Atlas Shrugged in the next few months. Please, if you think this project is valuable, go to to contribute. 
This is the kind of project that might normally be funded by a think tank or foundation, but my readers know that I have always been an independent voice.
By my life and my love of it, that's rich! When next I'm out on the street, I'll front my begging bowl with a sign that says INDEPENDENT VOICE SEEKS CROWDFUNDING, see how that works, and recalibrate my opinion of mankind accordingly.

UPDATE. In comments, cleter has a brainstorm:
"No amount of car elevators could fill the emptiness in Mitt Romney's heart. He didn't need more wealth, all he needed was love. And there, standing next to his Mercedes, he wept. All he wanted was slightly over 50% of America's love...."
From "Atlas Shrugged II: The Secret of Romney's Gold," by Brian Herbert and Ayn Rand Jr.


  1. gocart mozart3:21 PM

    Alternatively, holds sign that says, "WILL SCREECH AT MOOCHERS FOR FOOD"

  2. So, how many pp. will a readers guide to Rand's maximum doorstop be? And wasn't Rand on too high a spiritual plane to wallow in mere humanoid emotion, which is usually reduced to "I'm broke & nobody likes me" anyway?

    Really just more evidence that all the Randians were raised in Skinner boxes.

    Love me, daddy/mommy/anyone, love me!

  3. DN Nation3:55 PM

    Wow, that's....too much effort. Let me help you, Robert:

    "According to a study by the Thomas Sowell Fellow for Economic Policy at the ______________, Obama is Hitler."

    There. Instant cashflow.

  4. prufrock3:57 PM

    Doesn't Dagny only get off by being raped by a man who is contemptuous of her feelings? If she was feeling lonely, I'm sure there were a couple of dozen GOP members of Congress who would have been happy to provide her that service.

  5. BigHank534:02 PM

    Interestingly enough, The Loneliness of the Producers is a measurable quality, and its production can be measured in crusty socks.

  6. Howlin Wolfe4:10 PM

    they have been rewarded only with money, and they treat that as if it is the least important reward.

    Riiight. Take away their cash and they'll still go to work everyday. Sure. Yet the profit motive reigns as the supreme motivator of all that's good.

  7. redoubtagain4:10 PM

    The Loneliness Of The Producers
    Unreleased footage of Zero Mostel, with comment track from Mel Brooks

  8. randomworker4:15 PM

    Wait...I thought they wouldn't get out of bed in the morning if their marginal tax rate went up by 3%?

  9. gocart mozart4:23 PM

    For some reason, this song has been in my head lately.

  10. What a sad sad story!

  11. Fuck it - keep your money and I'll provide a reader's guide to Rand's ass rash gratis:

    People often say to me, “Hey mister, why do you know so much about stuff?” To which I always reply, “because of my close reading of Ayn Rand."

    Now, many have wondered about the provenance of a famous saying reflective of the self-made spirit of Americans. We’re all familiar with the rugged individualism and tenacity to task exhibited by denizens of those States United. A lot of this ethos is because of a catchphrase embalmed, or stamped, if you will, on the psyche of most every American born.

    You see, shortly after birth every American is given a gun. And a little while later they’re given a pair of boots. And these aren’t any old boots. No siree! These boots have appendages on the back upper with which to pull them on, curiously called ‘bootstraps.’

    So,the adage that best defines the USian dogged determination to carve out their own fortune, even in the face of insubmersible odds and with absolutely no help from anyone or anything else, well, that saying sings and dances on the world's stage because of Rand and her wonderful philosophy called Objectionableism, and because of early-life footwear. Hence, Pull up your bootstraps by yourself has come to signify the “Can So!” spirit of Americans en route to their Manifest Destination. And all this is wonderfully wrung out in Rand's masterwork, Atlas Tugs.

    And now you know.

  12. DocAmazing4:27 PM

    Been saying it for years: if rich people find being rich unpleasant, it's very easy to rid oneself of the burden of being rich.

  13. M. Krebs4:27 PM

    Also starring Tom Courtenay.

  14. susanoftexas4:28 PM

    I'm working on a complete Reader's Guide To Atlas Shrugged as well and I could warn Tracinski that it's a long hard slog through prose that makes you want to stick your tongue in a light socket just to make the pain end.

    But I too will accept monetary compensation to complete my project as we all know incentives rule the marketplace. I need $25,000 at once or I will be forced to (continue to) neglect my project for all my other projects, such as my macramé suspension bridge and Jamie Dimon/Loyd Blankfein slashfic.

    If you haven’t read the novel and need some inducement, read the overview I wrote on the 50th anniversary of its publication—then go read Atlas Shrugged, then come back to this.
    They'll be dead by the time they can come back to this.

  15. susanoftexas4:29 PM

    The only emotion is triumph!

  16. LookWhosInTheFreezer4:42 PM

    But he setup his Indigogo page all by himself with nothing but his own bootstraps!

  17. nanute4:43 PM

    They'll be dead by the time they can come back to this.
    One can only hope.

  18. Smurch4:58 PM

    Wait, wasn't it Dominique Patricia Francon Neal who was raped?

    Only in the Randiverse could all the heroines and heroes be completely interchangeable, like Legos, or transmission fluid.

  19. This is the kind of project that might normally be funded by a think
    tank or foundation, but my readers know that I have always been an
    independent voice.

    Wingnut Welfare case officer reviews umpteenth proposal for Atlas Shrugged readers' guide, reaches for 'Rejected' stamp...

  20. BigHank535:01 PM

    What's the point of a reader's guide to Atlas Shrugged, anyway? It's not like there's any abstruse symbolism in the book. The good guys are good guys and the bad guys are bad guys, and you can tell them apart two paragraphs after they've been introduced. They helpfully explain to the reader exactly what their motivations are, at length, so that the reader is in little danger of extracting the wrong message. The plot is tedious, the pace stultifying, the characterization makes cardboard look tasty, and despite being a paean to industry, Ms. Rand displays no knowledge whatsoever of industry, research, manufacturing, science, or infrastructure, handwaving away all of reality in order for Objectivism to triumph. What you see is what you get with Rand, and it's not very filling.

    You still want a reader's guide? Fine. Get a pencil. Open your copy to the title page, and right under the Atlas Shrugged add the following subtitle: All You Fuckers Are Going To Get What You Deserve.

    That's everything you need to know about Atlas Shrugged.

  21. The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Hustler

  22. BigHank535:22 PM

    Yeah, it's Dominique who is too proud to admit how much she desires ol' Howard, and tries to fight him off. Dagny, through her sheer awesomeness,* merely convinces Hank Rearden to ditch his useless wife and family. In Rearden's defense, his wife and relations are so goddamn annoying a ten-dollar hand job would probably have been enough to get him to pitch them overboard.

    *If you know what I mean and I think you do.

  23. My target is to raise $25,000 to buy back more of my time from other projects

    Wow, he's such a True Loonbertarian that he charges himself for his time.

    and focus on completing my Reader’s Guide to Atlas Shrugged in the next few months.

    A few months? He wants what is more than a year's salary for many Americans for a few months of work? Fuck him. He can work three jobs and focus on his "I am John's Gulch" project during toilet breaks. Hey, maybe he can even find that mythical employer who'll pay him below minimum wage for a longer lunch break.

  24. Derelict5:23 PM

    All the Randians want is love, which no doubt explains the utter failure of the Atlas Shrugged movies.

    In fairness, though, I'm sure the reader's guide to Ayn Rand will be the perfect bathroom companion. Perhaps he will crowdsource the printing, which can be done on a paper stock light enough and soft enough to permit other uses.

  25. tigrismus5:28 PM

    one of the very first things we learn about these tough, pitiless Ayn Rand heroes is their emotional vulnerability

    Tough but vulnerable, they feel deeply except for compassion, gratitude, love, or any other emotion not entirely based on self-interest.

  26. Yeah, I'm working on a reader's guide to the works of Ayn Rand as well. It's entitled, Reardon View Mirror: Ayn Rand's Appeal to Precocious Teens, Narcissists, and Entitled Whites with Victim Complexes.

  27. Derelict5:31 PM

    I think you deserve the $25,000 for having produced this reader's guide.

    But the Randroids would never buy it. Can you blow this out to 800 pages and make it unreadable?

  28. mgmonklewis5:34 PM

    Of all the coincidences! I too am working on a Reader's Guide to Atlas Shrugged! All I need is some money to get the project started. All of my money is currently tied up in a Nigerian estate that I will inherit as soon as I can pay the legal fees. If you would just send me any amount — no matter how small — I will be able to claim my inheritance and write my book. All you need to do is send your contribution, along with the number of your bank account so that I can pay you back.


    I. M. Nottamoocher
    a.k.a. Rex Nigeria

  29. Derelict5:34 PM

    Citation-wise, this would be a step up from the guy they usually rely on for anecdata--Professor Otto Yerass.

  30. mgmonklewis5:36 PM

    I would like to produce the Cliffs Notes to this comment.

  31. mgmonklewis5:38 PM

    I would like to spend an evening listening to Quarterflash's "Harden My Heart" with this comment.

  32. mgmonklewis5:51 PM

    P.S. I'm seriously considering changing my pseudonym to "Rex Nigeria." Both Homer Simpson and hardboiled detective novels would approve.

  33. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person5:55 PM

    Reader's guide to Atlas Shrugged?


  34. Jay B.6:00 PM

    So poverty is an ennobling characteristic in Rand's work? Does Ayn know?

  35. I looked up one of the posts that's meant to be the inspiration for this little foray. It should have been returned to him with the following written at the top: "C-, do more than restate events." It's five thousand words of Tracinski recapping every single time John Galt is mentioned in the story and every character relating to that. This is important, you see, because all of these characters are the Trinity-like personas of the great man himself, and this is why Atlas Shrugged is a work of literary genius. Much in the same way that Victor Hugo drew together all the disparate plots and characters in Les Miserables (actual comparison), so too does the auteur forge a tale in which a single character is the only important figure in every single strand of the story.

    That's why you need a guide. Otherwise, you might miss out on the fact that John Galt is important.

  36. marindenver6:10 PM

    No shit. I got stalled out at the age of 15 somewhere in Galt's speech and have never even considered going back for more.

  37. marindenver6:28 PM

    "The punch line? Tracinski's working on a reader's guide to Atlas Shrugged, and directs us to another site where, now that he has our attention..."

    Wait, what? How is it possible that that's not mooching*? But I guess the fact that the producers of the 3rd part of the movie went for a big mooch on the funding made it OK. Since it was supposed to premiere last month it looks like maybe they couldn't find enough suck, er, backers.

    * I am personally a fan of KickStart projects and have contributed to some. But it seems uncompatible with the libertarian ethos if that even is such a thing.

  38. smut clyde6:48 PM

    to buy back more of my time from other projects
    Conceivably it was a mistake to have sold your time in the first place, dude.

  39. RHWombat6:56 PM

    ...which really only the temporary suspension of fear.

  40. You have no chance to survive, make sell your time.

  41. montag27:17 PM

    Well, of course they're all lonely, you eejit. They're all self-important, obnoxious twits and no one that's not like them wants to spend even ten seconds with them, and if Ayn Rand could write, you'd understand that they all bore each other to fucking tears.

  42. That's everything you need to know about Atlas Shrugged.And, as it turns out, modern conservative Christianity. Turns out Objectivism is compatible with religion after all. Sorry, Ayn.

  43. bekabot7:33 PM

    Oh, I get it. So, that means that when Dagny's trying to find John Galt she's really trying to find herself. Hm, that's useful to know. It also means that when she crashes into the Gulch — or when she reaches her lowest point — she finds herself, or herself finds her (when the first, second, and third persons are all the same, the grammar gets tough.) It would also mean that when she falls in love with Galt she's falling in love with herself and that when she — ah. Never mind.

    Perhaps I'm overthinking this.

  44. sharculese7:39 PM

    I'm doing Ulysses with annotations for the first time right now (almost done actually, just got into Penelope the other night) and lots of the notes are like that- You don't remember who Mrs. Riordan is? Check back in section 6 where she was first introduced.

    But Ulysses has hundreds of named characters, most of whom never show up in the text and only serve as symbols of the various main characters monomaniae. By contrast I haven't read Atlas Shrugged since I was 14, and I'm pretty sure I could list off all the named characters right now- there's Dagny, Dagny's brother, Rearden, Rearden's wife, Galt, D'Anconia, bullshit pirate dude, and I think also one dude who's a stand-in for all the meanjerk bureaucrats who get off on suppressing success. Am I missing anyone? I don't think I am.

  45. sharculese7:40 PM

    I exist! Pay attention to meeeeeeeee

  46. Duncan7:42 PM

    Steve Jobs may have been a hippie, but his principles and practices were Randite. His complaint that Obama wasn't "business-friendly" enough, for example, which is laughable in itself:

    "You're headed for a one-term
    presidency," he told Obama at the start of their meeting, insisting
    that the administration needed to be more business-friendly. As an
    example, Jobs described the ease with which companies can build
    factories in China compared to the United States, where "regulations
    and unnecessary costs" make it difficult for them.
    Of course, he expected the US government to underwrite his company, just as the Chinese government did, but that's typical libertarian-capitalist stuff; the Koch Brothers aren't in any hurry to give up their government subsidies either.

  47. bekabot7:47 PM

    There's more that one bureaucrat, there's a whole troupe of bureaucrats (enough to recast about seven Our Gang spinoffs with goofy-looking adults with even goofier names) but I don't think they count as "anyone"* so I think you're okay.

    *(Terry Goodkind's Atlas Impression: "They had denied life.")

  48. prufrock7:56 PM

    Ah. That's what i get for not consulting Google before posting.

  49. mommadillo7:57 PM

    a reader's guide to Atlas Shrugged

    Boy, if that ain't putting training wheels on a tricycle. Atlas Shrugged is already simple enough for even wingnuts to get. So simple there was no need for a Classics Illustrated comic book version.

  50. bekabot7:57 PM

    "Open your copy to the title page, and right under the Atlas Shrugged add the following subtitle: All You Fuckers Are Going To Get What You Deserve."

    Or: "Brother, you asked for it!" — Francisco D'Anconia

    (I once heard a rumor that Ayn Rand was thinking of using this as a chapter heading or as the title of the book as a whole, but I don't remember where I heard it and I don't know whether it's true.

  51. davdoodles8:00 PM

    “one of the very first things we learn about these tough, pitiless Ayn Rand heroes is their emotional vulnerability.”

    No pity for others, but a ticker-tape pity-parade for their own lonely souls?

    Rand’s (and Tracinski’s) heroes are sociopaths. No surprise there.

  52. buyaclue8:03 PM

    Are you sure? I thought it was going to be:

    "War, what is it good for?"

    name that Seinfield episode :-)

  53. bulletsarepeopletoo8:11 PM

    But there's already a guide to Ayn Rand & Atlas Shrugged:

    How is this one going to be different?

  54. Will mooch for food, more like it.

  55. DocAmazing8:38 PM

    And now you have found the overlap between Ayn Rand and L. Ron Hubbard.

  56. bekabot8:54 PM

    Would that be the part of the movie where John Malkovich enters his own brain (soul or karma or whatever it is)? If so it might explain some of the eccentricities of the writing.

  57. So ... you don't like the comment?

  58. Brian Schlosser9:16 PM

    Upvoted for TANJ!

  59. Brian Schlosser9:19 PM

    They tried, but the artists kept throwing themselves out of their windows

  60. Brian Schlosser9:21 PM

    Release every "CHEETO"

    For great justice...

  61. Brian Schlosser9:24 PM

    and the Sadness of Clods

  62. Brian Schlosser9:29 PM

    Shit, that Vent diagram already overlaps a hell of a lot

  63. M. Krebs9:37 PM

    Footnotes. Lots of footnotes explaining how it all relates to Obama's reign of terror.

  64. Theo Nelson9:44 PM

    Apologies for a much off topic comment but it Roy’s column had the word: “cried”

    I cry a lot. Sometimes it is joy, which is a good thing. However, ever since the ascension of Reagan in the USA, I have seen more and more of the authoritarian and corporatocracy infect the the so-called democracies of the world. Corporations run the Western democracies, not the citizens who reside in them. Because the Western democracies essentially drive the planet I have seen over the last 30+ years a devolvement of cooperation to the benefit of a few global entities whose only raison d’etre relies on the next quarter.

    China, of course, changes that particular dynamic because they have a history of thinking very long term and if the corporations don’t follow their advice, heads are removed. China is becoming the driving economic force in the world and as corporations are run by sociopathic scum that have no moral ethics whatsoever the Western democracies are particularly vulnerable to the the long term thinking of China.

    So I cry more often in sadness than in joy. The USA, which for all its faults, I once regarded as the greatest of countries, has become an idiotocracy. Someone once said, “Shit tends to float”. Never were truer words spoken in regards to the US electoral system and sadly, it has become gamed to that fact. The shit are the ones that get the money to compete at the electoral level. Any person of moral conscience that succeeds is denigrated and thrown to the sidelines of public discourse unless it serves a narrative of corporate advantage. The internet has alleviated that a tiny bit, but realistically, no.

    The planet is facing monumental challenges due to man-made climate changes. These changes are already affecting all of us. Nothing is being done on the Western democracy side because that might affect the next quarterly earnings of the corporations that run them. As an aside, the corporatocracy knows their actions are ultimately going to kill BILLIONS of us. There is no other possible outcome. They say otherwise. They lie. Realistically, the planet cannot support the people that live currently on it. Yet, we, as a species, continue to propagate beyond that. Do you think China does not consider these scenarios?

    So I cry. My grandchildren very likely will live through hell, or die. I regret to say that hate fills a large portion of my character. I try and balance that through my art which I do simply on the hope I make people smile. Then I read of of Robin Williams. A person who made tens of millions smile over the decades and he killed himself. I wonder if it was his inner demons that truly made him take his life or was it those demons attacked his sense of helplessness that he felt observing the world in 2014. I know I feel that way but I do not suffer from clinical depression. If I did, I am pretty sure I would be dead.

  65. davdoodles9:58 PM

    "This is the kind of project that might normally be funded by a think tank or
    foundation, but my readers know that I have always been an independent voice."

    The Professor of Weasel-Wordology in me wonders why Noble Beggar Tracinski couldn't simply have said one or other of the following:

    1. "I did not seek funding from a think tank or foundation, because blah independent voice", or

    2. "a foundation and/or think tank offered me money but I turned it down because yadda independent voice".

  66. davdoodles10:00 PM

    No Tasp for him, the Lying Bastard

  67. He never did finish this thought, probably because the vision of turtlenecked Producers transported him.

    Or because his entire thesis was poleaxed by reality.

    Today's high-tech entrepreneurs aren't Randian heroes because they LOVE Big Government in the form of DARPA, research grants, and low-interest business improvement loans.

  68. tigrismus10:39 PM

    3. "I asked and they said fuck no, if they wanted to fritter money away on useless shit they'd at least get a coke-snort off a hooker for it."

  69. "We don't actually want the rubes to read Atlas Shrugged, just like Bryan Fischer doesn't want the rubes to read the New Testament."

  70. mcjeff10:42 PM

    I've been thinking and feeling the same thing, especially in the last couple of weeks.

  71. tigrismus10:50 PM

    Money is the least important reward, but the scale is from "vitally important to me" to "really really REALLY vitally important to me."

  72. Which lame ass bureaucrats dictated Trump Towers?

  73. Derelict11:10 PM

    Yes, but with Rand, the characters enter through their own anal sphincter and remain trapped there.

  74. that is a reply worthy of the best fanfic version of john galt altho it is rly more of a hatefic version

    ie the one done by terry pratchett in GOING POSTAL

    i still automatically call rands hero "reacher gilt" now & have to be careful not to do it in public

  75. Derelict11:16 PM

    And the inkers kept jabbing their own eyes out with broad-tip pens.

  76. Derelict11:17 PM

    Not to mention H-1b visas.

  77. Ellis_Weiner11:18 PM

    I've done this before, but we may have new visitors for whom the following will be instructive. For "a reader's guide" to AS, what could be better than the (parody version of) its "secret" sequel? Voila:

    (I read some of Tracinski's blog but ran off screaming, and so missed the pitch for subsidies. His blog doesn't let one comment. Just as well for him! 'Cause I woulda...)

  78. M. Krebs11:40 PM

    Upvote just for remembering that.

  79. Brian Schlosser11:42 PM

    He could use a Hot Needle of Inquiry, though

  80. AGoodQuestion12:02 AM

    Tracinski is planning to publish a reader's guide to Atlas Shrugged, one of the most purchased, (half-) read, hyped and analyzed books on the libertarian right. I think our boy's about to learn the meaning of the term "market saturation."

  81. Socialist Cubone12:09 AM

    I made a reader's guide for Atlas Shrugged right here:

    Don't read Atlas Shrugged.

    $25,000, please.

  82. AGoodQuestion12:09 AM

    "Dagny Taggart's Sphincter" would make a great band name, although I'm pretty sure your band would get sued for using it.

  83. AGoodQuestion12:12 AM

    And for that matter, sorry, Jesus.

  84. If he believed in the Market, like, say, an aspiring Hollywood screenwriter or the next Best-Selling housewife/author might, Tracinski would MAKE time to write his work and then, you know, hope somebody BUYS IT. But to do that, one has to believe in one's talent and perseverance and luck, and in one's ability to create something that somebody would actually want to PAY FOR.

  85. Wrangler12:18 AM

    "...just got into Penelope the other night"

    Sounds like a good time, but you'd better watch your back. She's got a boyfriend and he tends to escalate things.

  86. AGoodQuestion12:19 AM

    ... for me to poop on!

  87. calling all toasters12:39 AM

    Let's call it "Ayn Ron: The Evillest Novelists in the Room"

  88. Pope Zebbidie XIII12:39 AM

    remain trapped safe and warm there

  89. Pope Zebbidie XIII12:40 AM

    "How was the band?"

    "Pretty tight."

  90. AlanInSF12:44 AM

    Jobs is also famous for his commitment to the free market, bullying fellow tech companies into never recruiting each other's talent, so as to keep salares artificially low.

  91. Pope Zebbidie XIII12:44 AM

    Speaking of recruiting the Silicon Valley boy-wonders, here's an article from Pando that starts off with a conference organised by Reason. Part 2 of the article covers the amusing time in the 70s when Reason was still in favour of apartheid, oh and their very special Holocaust Denial issue...

  92. Pope Zebbidie XIII12:48 AM

    I hear he's away a lot though.

  93. Other readers don't get the same "pants saturation" from the book?

  94. montag21:45 AM

    It's funny--both Gates and Jobs were both revered as tech geeks, but, for the most part, their true skills were in marketing. Neither one of them were anything but the late 20th century version of George Westinghouse. Westinghouse had his Tesla, just as Jobs had his Wozniak. Wozniak himself has said that he was interested in spreading the technology while Jobs was always talking about making money on it.

    That Jobs, just like Gates, ended up behaving like a modern-day robber baron should not come as a surprise to anyone.

  95. Tehanu2:04 AM

    stupid Disqus

  96. Tehanu2:07 AM

    Just add page numbers for the sex, er, rape scenes. I used to skip from one to the next when I was 14 and it was 1962 and sex scenes were really hard to find in library books....

  97. Tehanu2:11 AM

    One of Pratchett's best IMHO. Now I come to think of it, the golems would've squashed Rand with a really satisfying squelchy sound.

  98. montag22:48 AM

    What's quite funny, and a bit tragic, about this is that the book is so bad that its fans are desperate to treat it as if were high art and penetrating philosophy, to the extent that they'll waste valuable time providing a simulacrum of scholarly activity around it. As others have noted, the book is so simplistic and puerile that reader's guides are wholly unnecessary, but since that's what is often done for great, complex books about the human condition, by gum, Atlas Shrugged needs them, too.

    It's an imitation of the scholarly process, for a badly written, monomaniacal book that has to be given away for free to libraries and public schools, just to keep it in the public mind. That alone should define its status as the icon of a cult.

  99. MichaelNewsham3:02 AM

    Not to mention allowing him to steal the land to build it on, dump toxic wastes into the local water and air, poison his workers, renege on paying even their original miserly salaries and benefits, and bring in the local police thugs to beat the crap out of anyone who complained before having kangaroo courts toss them in jail for a long stretch.
    Silicon Valley's libertarian ideal for America- suicide nets around every workplace.

  100. MichaelNewsham3:05 AM

    Don't think it was necessarily Jobs bullying others more like the quote from Adam Smith:
    "People of the same trade seldom meet together even for merriment and
    diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public
    or some contrivance to raise prices."

  101. The shadow can only mock, never create.

  102. Wm Kiernan6:12 AM

    Wouldn't it be better for little Bobby to write a Reeder's Guide to Teh Fountainhead? Think about it: it's got MOAR FUCKIN.

  103. It's not the being rich part that bothers some rich people. It is the fact that no matter how much money they have, there will always be people who don't worship and adore them. Also the sneaking suspicion that a lot of people who appear to W&A don't really mean it.

  104. chuckling7:15 AM

    Speaking of literature, your question reminds me of something out "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." Thanks, poor chuckling can always use a chuckle.

    But back on topic, I think one can find some good in "Atlas Shrugged" as well. I mean, who would want to live in a country run by lame ass railroad administrators? Not me, I can tell you. And I'm sure anyone with children can tell you the same thing, or you can check out some VHS's from the library and see it for yourself. Thomas and Friends would make terrible societal overlords. They are constantly making mistakes, often very serious ones. And although they seem to learn lessons, somehow they always keep making terrible mistakes. If those so called Libertarians really loved Ayn Rand, they wouldn't let their children anywhere near Thomas the Train, except for maybe to let G.I. Joe blow him up.

  105. It could actually work given the fact there must be a lot of people who don't want to read the book but want to say they did. Or perhaps he's hoping to cash in on some sort of Randroidian One Upmanship contest.
    "Oh you have a copy of Atlas Shrugged? [scoff] Well I have two copies and the Official Reader's Guide."
    "Yeah? I have three copies and the guide and the annotated guide to the guide and the special A.S. highlighter."
    "Big deal .."

  106. redoubtagain7:39 AM

    Do Not Throw With Great Force Or You Will Be Sued

  107. redoubtagain7:49 AM

    Darn it, now I have what my wife (intentionally) calls an earwig.

  108. redoubtagain7:50 AM

    "Pity, party of one, your table is ready"

  109. willf8:04 AM

    I think we are all a bit too hard on poor Ayn Rand's fiction. "The Fountainhead," for example, could be read as a passionate defense of modern art.

    The Fountainhead shows that Ayn Rand knew as much about Art as she did about economics, or interpersonal relations.

    Yes, she does have Roark gripe on and on about the lingering effects of 19th century academicism in architecture, but she still spends paragraphs berating artists who she thinks are incapable of naturalistic representation. Which is odd, since the modern aesthetic took hold in the plastic arts years before anyone thought of making a monument to the 3rd memorial.

    Rand doesn't get that you wouldn't have Walter Gropius without Paul Klee. You wouldn't have Le Corbusier (or Frank Lloyd Wright) without Kasimir Malevich.

  110. I'd say that assessment is right on the money. I've known a few conservatives who have bought a copy of Atlas Shrugged and never finished it, or even got around to starting it.

    Because it's thick as a brick, a real doorstop. A reader's guide would be very useful for people who would like to pretend to have slogged through the thing.

  111. cleter8:17 AM

    The characters who went Galt didn't renounce their wealth. They each had a tidy stack of pirate gold waiting for them in Galt's Gulch, right next to the pile of power vouchers for the perpetual motion machine.

  112. That actually sounds fun to read.

  113. Me too.

    That song really did have an infectious saxophone riff.

  114. cleter8:22 AM

    "No amount of car elevators could fill the emptiness in Mitt Romney's heart. He didn't need more wealth, all he needed was love. And there, standing next to his Mercedes, he wept. All he wanted was slightly over 50% of America's love...."
    From "Atlas Shrugged II: The Secret of Romney's Gold," by Brian Herbert and Ayn Rand Jr.

  115. cleter8:29 AM

    I look forward to Roy's column in 2016 about the Cliff's Notes people suing this guy for plagiarism.

  116. Cato the Censor8:52 AM

    This Herbert had the nerve to compare Atlas Shrugged to Les Miserables? That's not John Galt, that's John Gall.

  117. Derelict8:53 AM

    Yes, but they played really tight!

  118. OH AYN RAND NO.

  119. Needs moar food pellets!

  120. Brian HerbertMasterful.

  121. Never having read Atlas Shrugged, every once in a while I think I'll read it just for fun. Then I realize (1) it wouldn't be fun and (2) life is short and I am old. So, no. Not to mention that I'm only halfway through the Discworld books, which are probably more realistic in the long run anyway.

  122. Derelict9:27 AM

    . . . the special A.S. highlighter."

    Is that a feces-smeared fingertip?

  123. brandonrg9:37 AM

    the best reader's guide is the uncyclopedia entry on John Galt:

  124. brandonrg9:37 AM

    it's also funny to see rand acolytes begging for donations, though

  125. satch9:46 AM

    Aw, ya shouldda stuck with it. Galt's speech is near the end, and if you managed to make it that far, you've GOT to see how it comes out.

  126. Cameron Kelley9:46 AM

    I remember how electrifying that Royal Shakespeare Company production of "The Loneliness of the Producers as Performed by the Editorial Staff of National Review Under the Direction of Jonah Goldberg" was.

  127. "Atlas Shrugged II: The Secret of Romney's Gold," by Brian Herbert and Ayn Rand Jr.

    It occurs to me that tons o' fun (and possibly cash) could be had if someone was able to convince some of the faithful that they were Rand's offspring.

  128. satch9:55 AM

    After inventing his own internet.

  129. drspittle9:55 AM

    They kicked ass.

  130. M. Krebs9:58 AM

    Reminds me of those annual (?) polls where people are asked to name the greatest novel of all time. One poll of academicians always has Ulysses and The Sound and the Fury (or the like) as the top two, while another poll of the general public has -- you guessed it -- Atlas Shrugged and Dianetics as the top two.

    People really are strange.

  131. BigHank539:59 AM

    That's funny as hell. If you've read the thing.

  132. "... but she still spends paragraphs
    berating artists who she thinks are incapable of naturalistic

    I know, right? I mean, wasn't the Chrysler Building a refutation of all her criticisms?

  133. drspittle10:02 AM

    I don't remember the name but it was the one in which Elaine was editing a Russian dissident's book and of course his visit to New York to meet with her and her boss was a disaster because every time her pager went off the author went ballistic (must have reminded him of the Gulag). Elaine tells him that Tolstoy's original title for "Ware and Peace" was "War, What Is It Good For"?

  134. Hell, Eddie Willers loved Dagny, but unfortunately for him, he was only a Beta.

  135. drspittle10:06 AM

    Could you add and "Congressional Republicans" to the title?

  136. GeniusLemur10:12 AM

    "One of the big themes that drives the plot throughout Part 1 is the loneliness of the producers."
    The producers are lonely because arrogant disdain for everyone else is the only form of happiness Ayn Rand allows.

  137. "As an aside, the corporatocracy knows their actions are ultimately going to kill BILLIONS of us."

    Well, yeah... but console yourself with the knowledge that, to the corporatocracy, those particular billions don't matter. In fact, they probably had it coming.

  138. drspittle10:19 AM

    Then there was the unforgettable "The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Rander".

  139. Has he actually read Les Miserables?

  140. Al Swearengen11:06 AM

    "Atlas Shrugged II: Electric Car Elevator Boogaloo"

  141. Dave Ranning11:13 AM

    Rands secret for juvenile appeal is that one can be a hero for being a complete asshole.
    And that is very cool when you are 16.

  142. Robert Hamilton11:30 AM

    When Newport Beach (CA) opened a new public library about 20 years ago I remember being shocked by the number of named Big Donors who chose AS as their special, really important donation to the collection. I wonder how many of the 250 copies of that book remain in that library today.

  143. Will mooch for overvalued stock options and corporate jets?

  144. You left out the bad math, pink Himalayan salt, and he Veg-O-Matic

  145. Dr. James Sheppard reveals his dark secret? Jaye Davidson reveals his/her secret? JR was actually shot during Bobby's dream sequence? St. Eligius only existed in the mind of Jack Torrance? Bob Newhart wakes up next to Dominique Taggart Pleshette, complaining of a bad dream?

  146. redoubtagain1:10 PM

    Implied in the other three

  147. atalex1:13 PM

    "[mS]everal Atlas Shrugged characters renounce their wealth and go Galt -- and get rich again, but on their terms because they're naturally superior to the horrible statists like you."

    And do you know how they got rich again? One way was have an honest to god PIRATE loot relief ships carrying money to starving refugees in Europe and return the funds to the good people of Galt's Gulch in an amount equal to their lifetime tax contributions. THAT is who Ayn Rand considered "a good guy."

  148. atalex1:14 PM

    And then she dumps Reardon -- with his encouragement! -- to shack up with Galt.

  149. atalex1:16 PM

    All the money in the world is worthless if anyone but you experiences any happiness, pleasure or even hope. That's why so many billionaires have devoted themselves to making everyone else wretchedly poor.

  150. atalex1:18 PM

    Ditto. I got about five pages into the speech, got bored and started flipping ahead, and when I realized that sociopathic wanker was going to spend another 45 pages talking into a microphone, I threw the book across the room and never bothered to finish it.

  151. bekabot1:20 PM

    "Yes, but with Rand, the characters enter through their own anal sphincter and remain trapped there."

    They are to libertarians what the unborn are to social conservatives. (Sort of the same idea, only in reverse.)

  152. uykhvasdrvtjyku1:25 PM

    Or rather, since both Dagny and Rearden have been very successful in
    economic terms, they have been rewarded only with money, and they treat
    that as if it is the least important reward.

    For a guy who claims to be writing an Atlas Shrugged Reader, he really doesn't understand the book at all.

    The point of Rand's "heroes" is that they care only about making money. They care not at all about friends, family, hobbies, society, or intellectual pursuits beyond what can make them a buck. The expectation that they should care about such things is what's holding them back, the means by which the "looters" control them. Only once they've abandoned those constraints are they free to reach their productive potential. (Why they should care so much about money, when there is no other point to their lives, is not something Rand bothered addressing.)

    It's understandable that someone would try to shoehorn Rand's characters into their own perspective, a normal human perspective in which we care about what others think, but that is the exact opposite of what Rand was on about.

  153. uykhvasdrvtjyku1:37 PM

    The fact that Atlas Shrugged and Dianetics top the list is a sure sign that the poll was gamed by the books' respective cults. (Rand's and Hubbard's even more forgettable books dominate the rest of the top ten, if you really need conclusive proof that the poll is nonsense.)

  154. drspittle2:37 PM

    But of course!

  155. realinterrobang3:24 PM


  156. cleter5:48 PM

    I knew a guy who would steal copies of Atlas Shrugged from public libraries because he thought it was an abomination that this magnificent work would be in statist libraries, funded by tax thievery. He then gave the stolen copies of the book to people he thought were worthy.

    For your convenience, dear reader, I have greatly shortened the long John Galt-y screed he went into when I asked him why he had so many copies of Atlas Shrugged on his bookshelf.

  157. cleter5:51 PM

    Is there a genre of Ayn Rand-y rock music called Reardon Metal?
    There ought to be.

  158. cleter5:53 PM

    "I am John Galt. Welcome to WalMart."

  159. cleter5:54 PM

    No, but he probably saw the Wolverine v Gladiator singing movie.

  160. UnsaltedSinner6:16 PM

    I didn't like the musical version, though. Nathan Lane's performance as Hank Rearden was unconvincing, particularly in the rape scene.

  161. YNWA405157:10 PM

    Yup-- it's certainly undeniably the case that the hedgehog cannot, in fact, ever be buggered.

  162. Meanie-meanie, tickle a person9:07 PM

    John Scalzi "I think Ayn Rand’s philosophy works perfectly well as long as you’re an Ayn Rand character; otherwise it’s complete crap. Doesn’t keep me from enjoying Atlas Shrugged for its potboilerrific qualities."

    Can't actually disagree, because it's his taste in potboilerifficicity, not mine. Still not gonna read it...

  163. M. Krebs11:32 PM

    You've partially restored my faith in humanity.

  164. uykhvasdrvtjyku1:47 AM

    In case anyone cares, here is a list of "reader's picks" from the modern library:

    I dare anyone to argue that with 7 of the top 10 from Rand and Hubbard, that this list wasn't totally gamed by bots or idiots with too much time on their hands. Note that only die-hard cultists would ever bother reading any but the top one or two Rand or Hubbard opuses, and that no one who loves Rand is likely to care for Hubbard, or vice versa, making it extremely unlikely that they were chosen by consensus.

    The non-fiction list is just as bad, but the Shruggalos seem to have gotten the better of that one:

  165. montag21:48 AM

    Balzac was right.

  166. Ye can bugger me wife at the cost o' yer life
    Ye can fuck wi' me son, but you'd best bring a gun.
    If ye fuck wi me sister, but I'll tell ya, mister,
    That's the last thing you'll ever have done.
    What I'm sayin' is, hey, you can do it your way;
    Be a prick, you know it's always your call.
    But I'm tellin' ya, brother, on the soul of me mother,
    We're like hedgehogs: We cannot be buggered at all.

  167. freq flag10:08 PM

    Upvoted for "Herbert" reference (ST-TOS).

  168. freq flag10:13 PM

    -sigh- Such is blogging...

  169. freq flag10:16 PM

    Easy cure...Baker Street

  170. docroc10:46 AM

    I think it's important to keep up with the "thought process" of the "leading philosopher" whose "philosophy" has been translated into Federal fiscal policy for so many decades.

  171. nemomen12:57 PM

    Rush is as close as it gets. "The Trees" is a favorite anthem for Ranroids.

  172. geraldfnord10:22 AM

    Uh, I've long considered and labelled Ayn Rand's work romance novels. ("Capitalism's Savage Unknown Ideal")

  173. julz fabs3:48 AM

    If anyone needs to fill out a ca form family leave, I found a blank form here: