BEAST literary critic Michael Caigoy found alive, resumes review of Atlas Shrugged
EDITOR’S NOTE: Michael Caigoy was once a young and promising literary critic. And then in late December of last year, he decided to tackle Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. The project was abandoned in late January, 2011 with no explanation. I naturally presumed the worst — that he’d gone off to live on a Peter Thiel-created island of misfit libertarians to smoke deregulated, gold standard bong-hits and exploit the porpoise proletariat. As it turns out, he just really disliked reading Rand, and we weren’t paying him. But after much pestering on my part, he’s back to finish sloggin’ through one of the worst books ever written, so that you never have to. Please, enjoy responsibly.
ONCE UPON A TIME, there was a truly awful writer-to-be whose daddy’s pharmacy was closed by the Bolsheviks. Twice. Though this didn’t prevent her family going through hardships to indulge her her artistic pretensions at the theater, and though she wasn’t averse to taking financial assistance from the communist state when it came to her education, she never rose above the bitterness of her bourgeois lifestyle being theoretically deprived her.
Even when she accepted the generosity of her relatives in the US in keeping her, she would, decades later, show her gratitude by the self-directed mythologizing of her origins; insisting that absolutely no one had helped her on her way to the dubious fame she would achieve among grating weirdos oblivious to the reservations expressed about them in their absence.
The paradox continued into her old age. As she reflected fondly on the romanticism of Aaron Spelling on the Phil Donahue show, and displayed a rudimentary understanding of atheism, her stunning successes had nevertheless left her far from the Galtian exultation she’d anticipated — though even she felt inadequacy in the shadow of a fictional character she herself had created. “John Galt,” she lamented privately, “would never feel this way!” Given her epistemology, it’s not shocking she was at least as poor at distinguishing her own contrivances from actual people as she was language from the realities it can only broadly convey.
I don’t imagine John Galt would have ended up accepting financial assistance from the collectivist government either, once his Apollonian exactitude gave way to a dependence on Flowmax. He’d have gladly died in the street like a mangy dog, or the purchaser of an adjustable rate mortgage, before passively getting on the dole — or so I’d imagine. But then he was a creation, like Kermit the Frog, drawn in erratically-sweeping crayon slashes across butcher paper, like some preverbal cry for help.
But “no one” helped poor Ayn. And (outside of what she’d already received in her youth) she wouldn’t have had it. And (beyond Medicare) she didn’t expect entitlement to anything but attention — and baseless credibility (and Social Security). Some people never took her seriously as a philosopher. She was never peer reviewed. A true capitalist, she took her ideology directly to the consumer, like a doctrinal ThighMaster.
I wonder how Suzanne Somers would’ve been as Dagny.
Her tour de force capitalist grovel — er, novel, cited by libertarobjectivist ballot stuffers as the most influential book in history; trailing only the Christian Bible in its importance. And since overlap between the two would be hypocritical — and therefore not out of the question — that means it’s probably the most influential book to many of those 800K people purchasing a (second, or third) copy each year. It probably serves roughly the same purpose; a moral cudgel. Something to be oft-referenced verbally, though rarely physically.
The paradox of her followers is the pathos they invite, though they’d probably spit at you for your sympathy (unless they were complaining about poor people, Mexicans, or taxes, in which case you can blubber with them all you like). In spite of their howls of persecution for their massive successes, few would actually warrant such. Perhaps it’s their potential successes they speak of, in that glazed Tony Robins sense. Like some vitriolic extremist splinter from a Richard Simmons engagement, fighting obesity by blaming the government for donuts, then exterminating the fatties (can’t spell “Aryan” without A-Y-N).
Though her success left a bitter cat lady, sans cat (caring about something other than smoking and currency symbols? Bah!), the trajectory of her book also flew in stark contradiction to her worldview. Her effluvial Taepodong was meant to clear the room of all pretenders who still clung to vestigial traces of their humanity and urges to cooperate as a functioning society (and the majority just can’t shake those essential evolutionary survival mechanisms). Reality stubbornly contradicts her again, as the book is selling like hotcakes.
Mean, contemptuous, vacuous, despicable hotcakes.
And rather than being the blueprint for self-contained ecosystems of polymathic success, it’s the ad hoc apologia of trust fund brats, Herculean failures, and bubble heads. She expected to be the lone voice of truth in wilderness; the braying condemnation of man for ever leaving the steppe or not kicking little kids in the teeth for fun (oh, it’s in there). Instead, she was the reluctant messiah to lepers sticky with the self-importance of average people being outrun by their ambitions.
One can only hope she took some solace in her obscurity back home. The very people whose fates reflected hers (if their parents were rich) when nationalization struck — or those whose kin toiled and died in the gulags — didn’t adopt her as their goofy mascot (in spite of her head).
And I, your synonymphilic narrator, have wandered foolishly into the warm spot in the pool, and committed myself to reading this piece of shit. I thought it would be funny. It would’ve been if it had ended forty pages in, when the text exhausted Rand’s creativity.
It’s been, what, a year since my last installment? I shirked my responsibilities, and for that I… I don’t apologize. Fuck this shit. Fuck Ayn — fuck that Moai-looking cunt in the burbling trachea with Tommy Lee’s diseased cock.
If you’ll indulge me, and forgive my absence (I regret nothing!), I’m back on this series — at least until the overpowering stink forces me topside.
To recap our “story” thus far:
Francisco D’Anconia inherited a copper plant, and wanted to hump his childhood friend, Dagny; who inherited a railroad — sharing it with her postmodernist twat brother, Jim (since Po-Mo is the only philosophy in the world other than Objectivism) — and winds up humping Hank Rearden; who worked in a steel mill, and invented a magical metal the color of a Japanese beetle’s carapace. All of them (except Jim) are good at absolutely everything, and keep employees around to have someone to berate for their superfluousness and expendability. Hank is married to an asexual WASP from an elite family; her existence a convenience to show that traditional morals don’t apply when faced with Rand morals, where sex is neither fun, procreative, nor even physical, but an acknowledgement of one’s highest values (I shit you not). It’s like an employee of the month award, except being raped is the compensation, not a metaphor for the occupation. A crybaby billionaire sets fire to his oil wells, a la Saddam, and creates a fuel shortage. So Dagny gets a centipede up her snatch about finding this magical motor that runs on (hahaha) static electricity (so wait, Rand was for green/alternative energy? The fuck…). Dags also hates everyone who doesn’t appreciate advertising blight, and given certain themes dealing with international relations, I get the impression Rand herself really hated Mexico.
Is that everything? Ah, fuck it.