Earlier this month, pricey yoga pant and cheesy sentiment pushers Lululemon started putting the phrase “Who is John Galt?” on their bags. Then they posted a blisteringly insipid entry on their blog to explain how a quote from Ayn Rand’s epic heap of political science excrement, Atlas Shrugged, had become the new “drink eight glasses of water each day.”
Lululemon founder, Chip Wilson, an intellect who usually spends his time contemplating the deep philosophies of the Landmark cult apparently first read Atlas Shrugged when he was 18 and was recently inspired to dig into the greater meaning of the book. (This Ayn Rand Appreciation Trajectory, I would like to point out, is the exact opposite of any rational person’s.) “Only later, looking back, did he realize the impact the book’s ideology had on his quest to elevate the world from mediocrity to greatness (it is not coincidental that this is Lululemon’s company vision)” writes lulu blogger Alexis (emphasis hers, sadly enough).
Atlas Shrugged, Alexis goes on to explain, is a story about a horrible world where the bad government has too much control, and that leads to mediocrity. And that might sound far-fetched, but thing is, we all accept mediocrity in our daily lives! So, basically, “Who is John Galt?” is on their bags to remind their customers to strive for greatness and never accept mediocrity. (Unless, of course, we’re talking about accepting the massive dive in quality that I noticed when Lululemon stopped making their clothing in Canada.)
Because $100 yoga pants that are going to pill after one wash = greatness.
Now, I have been known to enjoy the occasional piece of Lululemon clothing. I work in the fitness industry, after all, so lulu-wearing is a bit of an inevitability. But I just can’t abide by this. As long as any words from that scourge on political theory and literature remain on Lululemon’s bags, I will stay the fuck out of their store.
You see, I’m particularly sensitive to all things of this nature because I went through an ill-advised Rand phase myself. I was 13, I was bullied and had very few friends, and I’d had some run-ins with a school system that didn’t really want to deal with the weird gifted kid. And then I found a bunch of books about misunderstood special people who weren’t respected by society and went and lived in the mountains with other special people and lived happily ever after, and I thought that sounded really good. But then I turned 14, gained a basic understanding of the world and realized how fucking juvenile and downright stupid Ayn Rand’s writing and her bullshit philosophy, Objectivism, really were.
You know how former smokers are the most virulent and in-your-face anti-smokers? Well, that’s me with Ayn Rand. I hate her so much that I can’t even bring myself to revisit any of her work and craft a more sophisticated argument against her than the one I developed while I was, well, developing. But I’m not going to let that stop me. If Lululemon can write a blog post that features an embarrassingly infantile grasp of an embarrassingly infantile philosophy, then so can I.
Here is a synopsis of Atlas Shrugged, as remembered by my 13-year-old self:
There’s this woman named Dagny Taggart and she runs her family business Taggart Steel or whatever the hell it’s called. She is a woman, but she doesn’t let her IQ-melting vagina of mediocrity get in the way of her being a super awesome business man, because, um… because Ayn Rand needed a way to reconcile her misogyny with her narcissism.
She has a trusty manservant who works his ass off for her and her company, but he’s working class, so fuck him.
Taggart Steel Or Industries Or Whatever make the best steel ever. I think it’s made with some secret magical ingredient or blend or something. I guess it’s basically the steel version of luon, the supposedly secret special spandex blend that Lululemon uses in most of their clothing.
Anyway, having the super best steel that makes the best railway supplies (I’m just going with “supplies” because I don’t remember if they made tracks or trains or both and I really don’t care) makes them major players, because the railway is pretty much the most important form of transportation in the world. So yeah. Ayn Rand was such a fucking visionary that she couldn’t imagine a future in which the railway would not be the world’s predominant form of transportation.
And the government is very mean and evil. They’re making everyone do socialism to each other, which is, obviously, encouraging mediocrity. And this is having a terrible impact on Taggart Stuff, but I don’t really remember why. Maybe they’re trying to outlaw the magic steel ingredient because it’s not fair that the other steel companies don’t have it. Or maybe they’re trying to make them pay their factory workers more than a dollar an hour. Whatever the case, socialism is destroying the world and making Dagny sad.
Also, everyone is running around and saying “Who is John Galt?” which, if I recall correctly, is some sort of combination of “whatever,” “What can you do?” and “Who gives a shit?” Because this is obviously a catchphrase that would catch on. People would totally use “Who is John Galt?” as an expression of futility, apathy and socialism-encouraged mediocrity. Among other things, Ayn Rand is an expert on the development of catchphrases.
So the oppressive government makes things continually worse. Some trains crash or something. People commit socialist atrocities for hundreds of pages. Somewhere in all of this, we find out that John Galt is a real dude and not just a catchphrase. He was a totally awesome industrialist visionary moneymaker, but the horrible socialist government wouldn’t let him be great (like Kanye). So he abandoned the world. And apparently this was a big deal, even though his disappearance has lead to little more than a shitty catchphrase.
John Galt meets Dagny somehow. He does not rape her, because he’s kind of a pussy compared to Howard Roark, but, somehow, she manages to respect him, anyway. He takes her to the secret mountain compound that he established when he left the world behind, because this is an Ayn Rand book, and her solution to EVERYTHING is to run away and live in the mountains. Same shit goes down in Anthem. And I think it happens in some of her other stories as well.
In the mountain compound, Dagny meets a bunch of leaders of men. Then we reach one of the few moments in the book that I remember with any clarity: Dagny sees a woman and asks what she does. Galt tells her that the woman is a writer. Dagny wants to know if she’s ever heard of anything she’s written. And John Galt is all “She writes in her head.”
What. The. Fuck? She writes in her head? I think the logic in the book is that the stupid leeches and mediocre socialists of the world aren’t good enough for her writing, so she keeps it to herself. And everyone thinks that’s cool, because she’s a leader of men.
If some struggling artist protester did that, objectivists would lose their shit. But when Ayn Rand’s precious Mary Sue does it in Atlas Shrugged, it’s totally fucking awesome. So basically, fuck the working class who are toiling away in your factories, WORKING, to build things and carry out your super-important libertarian ideas while you pay them nothing. But yay people who write in their heads and do absolutely NOTHING.
Anyway, Dagny comes back for some reason or other (Rand needed to further the plot) and things get even more covered in socialist germs. Mediocrity is everywhere! Shit is falling apart! It gets so bad that John Galt is forced to take over the radio waves (again, Rand proves herself a visionary, completely nailing modern technology) to deliver a speech. It lasts for NINETY PAGES. And he basically spends the whole speech saying that he rules and socialism drools. I don’t remember any of the details. It’s really fucking obnoxious and self-aggrandizing and basically like reading an interview with an even more humourless Bono for NINETY PAGES.
Shit falls apart some more, and Dagny finally escapes to the mountains for good, leaving her trusty manservant to die. And he’s totally cool with that. This dude has followed her through most of the book, taken care of all of her shit, worked his ass off with no complaints and been the most loyal employee in the history of the world. But he wasn’t a rich visionary, so he wasn’t allowed to go the mountains. And, once again, he’s cool with this. He dedicates his whole life to Taggart Assholes, works harder than anyone else in the book — especially that incorrigible cunt who writes books in her head — but he has to die because he’s not a rich visionary. He’s the portrait of everything that rich people wish that those wretched poor would be and it’s still not fucking good enough! He has to die! AND HE’S COOL WITH IT.
Because nothing makes objectivists harder than the idea that the poors and the working class will wake up one day and realize that they don’t deserve to live and just off themselves. It would solve all of the world’s problems! A bee colony with no worker bees! What could go wrong?!
I don’t really remember what happens after that. I’m assuming that all of the poors and socialists are suffocated by mediocrity and then the awesome rich people descend from the mountains to rebuild the world. Or maybe they stay there and the awful poors continue to lurch around and they start saying “Who were all of those fucking assholes?” instead of just “Who is John Galt?” I’m sure the ending is stupid, whatever it is.
Wait, I just googled “Atlas Shrugged last line” and this is what I found:
He raised his hand and over the desolate earth he traced in space the sign of the dollar.
That’s just amazing. And it just goes to prove how fucking right Ayn Rand was about how useless liberal pieces of shit like me really are. Because there is absolutely nothing I could possibly write to parody her that would even come close to that line.
84 responses to “Atlas Fugged: Why Ayn Rand Is Making Me Boycott Lululemon”
This is the best/funniest thing I’ve read in ages.
That made me laugh so hard that the pepsi I’m drinking nearly came out my nose. You’re my hero!! 🙂
You’re contempt for Rand matches mine. I think we’re soulmates. Also, Rand would’ve HATED yoga.
I don’t think she “Would have” hated yoga, I’m fairly certain she called yoga “Mystic dribble” from the east. She was also horribly racist, so that’s not that big of a surprise.
this is the best ever. i will social media the shit out of this.
Shit, this is good. I have to set some time aside to read the rest but the first part is awesome. Love it.
I loathe the way they jump on me the moment I enter the store?
No! I don’t want my frigging name in chalk on the door!
This is amazing. I had the same teenage experience with the Fountainhead. You’re awesome.
I want to have your babies!
Not all the protagonists were loaded, and most of the villains were rich as shit. Most of the “deplorable socialist acts” by the characters were written in a negative way because they were done out of fear of hurting someones feelings or to impress people. I’d suggest reading it again while not being an impressionable teenager, but it’s long as dick and not really worth it. It’d probably be a good idea to not write so incorrectly about the ideas explored in the book (or at least to do it in a more hilarious way. More penis jokes please).
It’s really such mediocre writing I don’t really see the point. The fact that we need to discuss the political ideas of a madwoman is kind of surprising to me, personally.
Be serious. Seriously. Christ almighty . . .
Brilliant. Sharing all around.
Died poor on medicare? Heh. I like that. Maybe next aticle you could give some step by step instructions on how to build a guillotine, as there are more than a few of her discipiles running around loose, ruining everything. Wonderful article. The disdain simply radiates!
I must say that I have never thought that one’s head could reach that far up ones own ass. Read it again when you reach the maturity of a person who has grown past the age of thirteen. maybe then you will realize that every philosophy breaks down when the there is no longer any accountability for our actions. Her work is sound and her exploration of the human condition have offered many people valuable insights into their own lives. I include myself in this group. Your appraisal of her work is based on a very limited understanding, and if I were you I would not burden myself with the obviously impossible task of understanding anything found within her body of work, it is beyond you. Not because it is so great but because simply you are a fucking moron .
You are a fucking moron you idiot. Ayn Rand is like the stinky shit that comes out of an old old old persons ass, which you don’t even know about because of your selfish and you have never cared for such a person….
wow, I bow to your eloquence. How could I be so wrong.???????
Get your head out of your ass dipshit, Taking responsibility for your own actions is at the root of her theory. Everyone keeps saying that she taught to bear no mind to the pain and suffering of others, read it again and clean the shit out of your ears first. You know, the shit that comes out of an old old old persons ass!!! haha ( what a fucking shit head.) If helping someone pleases you then it is what will give you pleasure, then go ahead, and be proud. If it hurts you then don’t. If this does not jive with your understanding of her work, then learn how to read. until then STFU. or you can keep on posting the same old vomit that helps you convince yourself that you are a good person. I guess it makes you feel good eh. I guess that is your right. Isn’t that funny.!
So you’re saying we should all be complete psychopaths like Rand? That we should base our entire society after chasing the all mighty dollar, forgetting that if we completely dick over the poor, then nothing holds any worth (Gold and Dollars are worthless when everyone starves)? Ayn Rand’s works are childish and simple because they can be summed up as “I’m the most important person in the world,” which is a fantasy most of us grow out of around 18-20.
I AM the most important person in the world, however it’s a world that I have very little control over, whether rich or poor. Thanks so much for your perspective. I am a person who has never read a single page of anything that Ayn Rand wrote. (I did see a documentary on her once though) and I formulate an impression of her books based on the personalities of those who fawn over them.
Based on that I think you’re spot on. Good job.
Note: It’s interesting that there isn’t a spellchecker on the market that will allow Ayn to slip by. I mean, someone as “great” as that?
These aren’t arguments against the satire but just a reassertion of how “awesome” and “brilliant” Ayn Rand is. If you want to imagine that she’s awesome and brilliant then you at least have to accept that: everything this article mocks is precisely what Ayn Rand believed. People whose maturity have grown past the age of thirteen, and who have maybe studied philosophy and history, would realize that Ayn Rand’s supposed “objectivism” is pathetically reasoned and not at all an exploration “of the human condition”. The valuable insights she has provided are mainly considered valuable by rich people who want to morally justify why they’re rich. Interestingly enough, the most raving Ayn Rand lovers were born into money and weren’t the rugged individuals they imagined themselves to be.
There’s a reason we don’t teach her ideas in philosophy (and i say this as someone with a PhD in philosophy): we think her ideas are a joke, which is why this article was funny.
You find a philosophy that teaches that we should be the best that we can be, and be proud of it, as silly. To you, a way of living your life that says that you should be able to own what you build and create, is silly. The right to decide the fate of that which belongs to you, is a silly notion in your eyes. If these are the things that you and your fellow PHD’s find silly, then what the hell are you teaching in your classes.? I am a father of three children who came from meager beginnings. I am a tradesman and an atheist both for 20+ years. I have learned a great deal from Mrs Rands work and continue to do so. I do not find these things silly, and I feel sorry for any student that might take you too serious.
Geez Louise . . .
Good job Sarah, Ayn Rand is teen literature at best hardly worth a read again when an adult with more important things to read.
Joe, let’s be logical about this. Like Rand would like. We’ll begin by parsing your argument, bit by bit:
1) First sentence — ad hominem attack.
2) An accusation of misunderstanding with no reference (therefore, another ad hominem attack).
3) Lauding the work by an appeal to emotion, anecdotal evidence that it has made you feel good (sounds like a religious tract — the Bible?).
4) Another ad hominem attack.
5) Ad hominem attack.
I would stipulate that a barrage of insults rather undermines any reasonable thesis. Even if I happened to agree with your position — I don’t — you’ve significantly weakened your position by making yourself into a strawman jackass. Good job.
Excellent argument 2fast, I guess all of the work done by Rand has just been undone with your excellent english report. I guess my lack of proper form will mean the death of logical introspection around the globe. Thank you for setting me straight .
You are so very wise I don’t know how I could have been so wrong.
Have you read the work, or are you just making this up as you go along?
Your command of the language can not be denied, that much is certain,(not a joke), I honestly wonder what your opinion is of her work. Do you believe that there is honestly nothing of value in her work? I would enjoy an honest discussion regarding this. My attack was prompted by my experiences regarding past debates of her work. Please let me know if you are interested in discussing this further.
I didn’t have the strength to soldier through Atlas but read The Fountainhead, listened to some interviews, and read some essays when in college during the industrial revolution. My first problem with Rand is her prose, which sucks, but I think English is her 2nd language, so I can let that go. My second, and largest, problem with her philosophy isn’t that I think it’s unethical (which it is), illogical and unrealistic (check and check) but that it doesn’t work. Every time those ideas have been tried (19th Century America, and America during the lead up to the Great Depression; our current economic shitstorm; Iceland) they’ve led to disaster. OK, that’s more than 2 problems. No one told me there would be math. But I really dislike Objectivism-it’s dumb.
Joe, at this point you should just STFU. You were soundly thrashed in a straight-up smack-down. Ms Rand’s vision read like bad Science Fiction back then and is simply laughable now.
I am with you. Ayn Rand watched the evil of Socialism / Communism as it took over the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Its concepts are seen across Europe now and in Detroit and Africa. Please take heart that there are more people in the U.S. than the soft, mush-mouthed, intolerant leftists writing from Ivory towers not far from their Mother’s womb’s. There is a reason that the U.S. has been unique in its place in the world. Capitalism has raised more people from the scourge of poverty than any other system in mankind’s history.
I would stipulate you come out of your mom’s basement once in a while to get some sunlight, so you at least get some vitamin D to stave off the rickets.
Your hate writing is inspiring. Way to put us all straight. Because we all need to be put straight about what is wrong about things in the world and in society. Wait I forgot if I criticizing you Sarah or Ayn Rand.
I was interested in what you said until you said fuck. You still sound like that 13 year old girl you mentioned. There are some tough things to grasp in Atlas Shrugged but when you make such an uneducated, unintelligible appeal to it’s philosophies it is really an embarrassment to you and your followers.
“‘I was interested in what you said until I chose to be frightened of a word.’ My mock outrage allows me to avoid actual debate whilst looking like I’m up on a hiiiiiiiigh, high horse making ad hominem attacks. Great thinkers throughout society been aware of the existence of ‘swear words’ but I’ll choose to ignore that fact in favor of shaming down this little girl. My approach can’t lose!”
What the fuck point are you trying to make, BCR? That Anglo-Saxon terms, be they nouns, verbs, or interjections, are somehow inappropriate to a mocking summary of an overrated piece of garbage literature and the uninformed and ill-read proponents of such?
People–let’s not just boycott Lululemon, but all stupid fascist companies charading as visionary or enlightened!!!!!!
Long list: Whole Foods, BP, Newscorp, Papa John’s, Yahoo, Apple, Tyson, Citibank, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, McDonald’s, Facebook, Wellpoint, American Airlines, Koch Industries . . .
This is amazing! You are spot on and an amazing writer.
I once cleaned at this store, through an independent cleaning service. I saw all the staff room staff profiles (kinda like fb profiles) of each employee, with their five year plans and all this ‘personal progress’ stuff. Then there were the reading lists, stuff like the ‘Tipping Point’ etc… but mostly what got on my nerves were the slogans everywhere. And remember, this place was filthy and they only paid for once a week cleaning, which was inadequate. It was the grimiest job on my route and ok upstairs in the shop was nice with the sales staff all chirpy and go-gettin’, but down in the basement it was this dark cavernous load of glop to mop… and I’d be looking at this slogan from one of their bags and it said “You are what you think about” and right then I was looking at a big pile of grimy unfathomless muck and was thinking only about shit. So i figured right then I was a giant piece of shit. It worked. I never went back.
I read Atlas Shrugged in university. I remember having a seizure while reading it. Probably not because it was overly profound or overly offensive, mostly because I had epilepsy. If any book gets too heavy, I suggest putting it down
Yeah, Ayn Rand is an shit writer, and a terrible philosopher.
she’s got some points. if you ever want to be happy, you fucking communist swine, you have to look out for yourself.
you get one shot at life, you’d better take it as hard as you can.
Geez . . .
wow you need to read it now especially with all the occupy BS that is going on now is going to turn our country into the government in Atlas Shrugged. Maybe if you can read it as an adult and actually remember what the story is about instead of making up a bunch of bullshit. It is showing what this sad country is coming to because no one respects working hard anymore these days all those occupy people want to sit and whine while other people are in the office working their ass off making their well-deserved money. And if you are able to work, then you should quit mooching and stop whining and make your own salary.
You are an idiot. You’re just the kind of tool that Ayn Rand was writing for: the kind that thinks that everyone who gets screwed over by the rich cocksuckers in America just needs to work a little harder. I bet you are just as loud as you are stupid.
occupy protestors are moochers? moochers how? like the wall street bankers who got billion dollar bailouts on the working mans taxes and then cut million dollar bonus checks to their CEOS?
please define your version of Moocher for me?
wow, really? it is a fact that there is little to no social mobility happening anymore due to the greed of a few, not from lack of hard work. it used to be the case that people could work hard and move up in life, but that just can’t happen anymore the way thing are being run by companies and the government.
Cause making money is the most important thing in the world.
Bwaahahahahaaa! Best. Troll. Evar!
Oh… wait. You were serious? Oh my! Listen — do you have medical insurance? I hope so, because I’m pretty sure they can treat what’s wrong with you. If you go in and get it diagnosed soon enough, that is. Otherwise, you’ll probably suffocate.
But there’s no need to be ashamed. Recto-Cranial Immersion Syndrome is much more common amongst the well-to-do than is reported. It’s okay. With help, and support, you can rejoin the human race.
I think I love you. I nearly pissed myself when I read “They’re making everyone do socialism to each other.” I hate Ayn Rand with a white-hot hatred,and not only did your article skewer her perfectly, it was expressed in a way that was just frigging hilarious. Thank you. You made my week.
My first reply was to MH.
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Brilliant summary of Atlas Shrugged aside, I had no idea that Lululemon had moved their operations away from Canada and still continue to charge the same price for Yoga pants that pill on the first wash. How “Ayn Randian” of them?
That was so awesome….. I need to go have a smoke now.
oh and Luon is Nylon and spandex. Thats it. Its knitted into a thick 4 way stretch to make Luon. That is what gives it that butt lifting effect. Side note on Nylon. It is not bio degradeable. So hundreds of years from not there will still be 1000s and 1000s if not millions of those damn yoga pants existing on this planet.
So your overpriced see-through butt-lifting britches will still be there in the landfill decades, if not centuries, after you bust through the crotch or wear out the knees? (not YOU, Jennifer . . . I meant the rhetorical ‘you’)
This article is weak at best. I can see how people who have not taken time to read the book would think it is funny. Or have a chuckle about have their own Rand phase.
I think I’m getting a headache. If one more self-styled literary philosopher-genius encourages me to have a second look at Ayn Rand, I’m going to throw up.
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SO. MUCH. WIN.
Best thing I’ve read today. Thank you so much, and fuck Lululemon. I own one pair of their pants and they pilled up before I even washed them. The fit is great, but, ugh pilling!
OK yeah Ayn Rand sucks. You didn’t really explain why it justifies a boycott of a company’s entire product line. You know what does justify a boycott? Child labor, racial discrimination, environmental abuses, corruption, dealings with foreign governments that repress basic human rights. Subtly referencing a book you don’t like on a totebag? Really!?!? THAT is a boycott-worthy offense? Let the record reflect that liberals lost the moral high ground in the national political discussion when they started irrationally demanding the same levels of ideological purity that conservatives did.
Dear Liberals Everywhere,
I am sorry that my silly, bile-filled rant about a silly, bile-filled woman has single-handedly destroyed our credibility. If I had known this would go viral in such a way, I would have included a disclaimer at the top of some sort to explain that this is my own personal diatribe, but I guess it’s too late for that now. I broke the entire left wing. And I feel bad about that.
Sorry, but Scott’s got a point, and this article (despite my dislike of Rand) is shit. It also shows how myopic, wild-eyed, and insensate the left wing can be, similar to how the right-wing can be.
If you want to boycott a company, fine and good, but it should be for the reasons Scott listed, not for what Sarah listed-simply putting the quote from John Galt on a tote bag means nothing in and of itself. The post reminds me of the response given on a Canadian left-wing site to the recent movie version of Atlas Shrugged; everybody there acted as if it was the end of the word, when in fact, it wasn’t, since the movie (in my neck of the woods, anyway) barely played but in one theater, and was gone in a few days. My response to the discussion was that the movie had failed, nobody gave a shit, ‘the battle’s won, the day’s done, let’s just leave it at that.’ The reaction was, of course ‘We have to keep on whining about it in order to feel good’-for what, I don’t know.
It’s possible that this was meant as a joke, and little more, and that it’s inclusion does not necessarily mean the approval of John Galt or Ayn Rand. Certainly, it’s nothing to damn the whole company over.
By the way, Sarah, if you and everybody here are going to be so knee-jerk about having a quote from Atlas Shrugged on a Lulemon tote bag, you should then understand when somebody from the left does something that offends most conservatives in the media and elsewhere.
Neville: This is a rant on a pop culture blog. It’s not a proper article, and I point out that it’s going to be silly and not entirely realized in the opening paragraphs at least twice. Please rest assured that I would not include phrases like “do socialism to each other,” cracks about Ayn Rand’s hat, and capslock in an actual call to arms over a proper boycott that had aims beyond my own personal preferences and a desire to make fun of a crappy writer and the increasingly embarrassing company that makes up absurd claims about magical seaweed shirts and strongly suggests that their employees join a cult and read that crappy writer’s books.
And people are not passing this story around because they’ve taken it to a heart as the most legitimate rallying cry against lululemon ever; they’re doing it for the like-minded lolz. The fact that this is the best thing that people can like to when they’re discussing a boycott over something that’s been printed on a bag suggests to me that serious business liberals are actually spending their time on bigger crimes against humanity.
I’m cool with people hating the post (and me) because it didn’t make them laugh, because they don’t agree with it, because they think it’s poorly written or because I forgot about Hank Reardon completely, but I don’t think it should be torn down for being something that it never once claimed or tried to be.
And the reason that some of us get so worked up about Ayn Rand is because she offends us on an esthetic level as well as an ideological one. Sometimes we froth at the mouth because people are taking her ideas seriously and we actually want to fight against them. Sometimes we’re just making fun of her the same way that we make fun of Nickelback.
Thanks for letting me know what rules I should use to determine my own ethics! You’re right; if i find out that a company’s ideological stance is “fuck poor people, i’m getting mine,” i should DEFINITELY continue supporting them even if it goes against everything I believe.
I mean unless Lululemon is hiring child sex slaves of color to dump manufacturing toxins into the Pentagon, i guess i just need to send them aaaaaaaall my dough. You’re right in pointing out that I am a silly, stupid asshole to make my own judgment call on the reprehensibility of a company ethos! THANKS SCOTT! THANK YOU!!!!!
That was AWESOME. I laughed, I cried, I read Ayn Rand when I was young too. Favorite line: “He’s the portrait of everything that rich people wish that those wretched poor would be and it’s still not fucking good enough! He has to die! AND HE’S COOL WITH IT.”
Having read your review on the Judas Priest concert in the NP – not a bad read at all – I clicked the link at the bottom that brought me to this blog.
I’m quite sorry I did. All that this ‘rant’ achieved (sorry to use the ‘a’ word) for you was to expose yourself as the obviously UNgifted thirteen year old that you must’ve been back in those bad old days. I mean, I was twelve when I read Atlas Shrugged and sadly, I was not actually ‘gifted’ and yet, I recall enough detail that even little-ole-non-gifted ME could see right off the bat that you were clearly talking out of your butt on this.
This may’ve just been an exercise that attempted to combine lighter elements of rage excused with dashes of humour, but … if that’s what it was, well, I am sorry. Because regardless of what your fans and minions will have you believe, it missed by light-years.
Good luck with all this.
This is hilarious. And I totally agree we should boycott Lululemon. No one should be making this much money off yoga and cheap Chinese labor. But I also have a lot of respect for Ayn Rand. The evil people Dagny Taggart was fighting in (the very badly written) Atlas Shruggged were not Mother Theresa types working hard to save the poor. They were corporate cronies running highly subsidized businesses that were not adding any value to the world – not unlike today’s banks and huge corporations that are backed by (and prop up) people in government. And the struggle was that of the independent entrepreneurs agains big business. A lot of her characters’ did ‘the right thing’ even if powerful corrupt enemies in government try to tear them down. And the apocalyptic scenario at the end of her book.. starting to sound like what’s happening today: all these propped up corporate structures falling apart and the people are protesting because government decisions are still being dictated by individuals’ interests rather than what is ‘right’ for the people or the country.
Ayn believed that pure capitalism would help us avoid that situation. Either she was mistaken or the pure capitalism she dreamt of is too theoretical.
I wouldn’t ask you to re-read Atlas Shrugged. I can’t believe you read it at the age of 13. It really is a painful experience. There’s a lot to criticize Ayn Rand for. And Objectivism as a modern movement/philosophy is weird. But I believe that if she was alive today, she would be as indignant about the state of the world as some of the people who claim to hate her today.
I agree with you. Our current political and economic climate would have been a hard one for Rand. I can’t imagine that she’d want to side with the Occupy movement, but she’d have been even more repulsed by the behaviour of the corporations and governments in relation to them. The world we’re living in is a complete abomination of her ideal.
I also think you’re right about the possibility of her concept of free market capitalism being too theoretical, especially when governed by her equally abstract vision of ethical self-interest. It’s telling that the expression of her ideas that best resonated with people were works of fiction.
Capitalism, socialism, Marxism – all political systems are best represented in theory.
I am from Egypt where we are trying to put in place a political system that is fair and just – but more importantly incorruptible in the long run. One of the slogans of the revolution is ‘Never Again’. We don’t want another generation shedding blood to get rid of whatever/whomever we put in place today. We tried socialism in the 50s and 60s (government started with good intentions but on the losing side of the Cold War) and crony capitalism the last 30 years (leading us to one of the worst eras of our history).
There is something extremely risky in giving people power on a large scale. It leads many to corruption and abuse of these powers. And, sure, you can put mechanisms in place to stop that or deal with it when it happens. But it’s – at best – inefficient. Humans are smart – they always find a workaround. At worst, it can cost lives.
So I’m not a fan of giving a small group of people (elected or not) a lot of money (government budget) and politely asking them to do what’s best for society, then be shocked when they try to put their personal interests ahead.
Don’t they say madness is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results?
I believe self-interest plays into how people make decisions. Governments are made up of people. And it’s inefficient to keep asking them to direct their effort towards the good of the people rather than for their self-interest.
Perhaps I’ve become too cynical.
I believe people-led movements and initiatives are much more effective and powerful. I believe people can make great decisions for themselves, especially in small groups. And I believe that it’s much easier to tear down the structures that don’t work if there isn’t a huge bureaucratic monster of a government that will fight to survive even when it is no longer benefitting the people who built it.
I don’t know why I’m going into this. I really care what happens in the US and especially with the Occupy movements – basically I really care what people like you think. I hope there is massive change and I hope we can all, in our respective countries, resolve the situation for future generations rather than have one more generation inherit the mess that was caused by our ancestors’ mistakes.
I hope we can find a solution by working together and learning from each others’ experiences. And as much as I agree that Ayn Rand’s ideas should be examined with caution – I think it’s important to not pick any one theory in whole. They are all complex ideas after all. We can always take the best teaching of each without identifying with one and judging the other. And then maybe our generation will come up with an ‘ism’ that works in theory and fiction as it does in practice…
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Beautiful synopsis of Atlas Shrugged… just to clarify the part you can’t remember, cause it is perhaps the most awesome part… Dagny, with all her genius vision and business acumen, Can’t use Reardon Metal with extra super luon to fix her ancient american train rails (built with gubmint money, but deteriorating with age) cause even though Hank Reardon WANTS to sell her the metal… the dang gubmint is making Reardon sell his super duper metal to companies who are making spaghetti strainers and golf clubs and other consumerist frippery out of it. Darn Gubmint!!! Refusing to let something that ALL people need be built so that stuff people WANT gets built instead! There aughta be a law against that! But the dang gubmint gets it in the end… cause there’s all this stuff made out of Reardon Metal but the transportation infrastructure is so far deteriorated, it cannot be brought to the people!!! HA HA HA!!! In her amphetamine crazed mind, she got confused, and under the surface, Rand wrote a textbook socialist tome. The absolute moral of the story, Is that you need a grand vision to pull together and get the things that people NEED done, and then getting the things people want comes easier. The rest of the book you remembered PERFECTLY. And you are also right, lululemon quality HAS deteriorated. The last pant I bought of theirs, stretched so much after only one wash, I decided to put them on probation, and think before I bought anything else… I am taking them off probation for that totebag, and just plain firing their asses.
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I know I’m coming to this blog late, but for months I have been going to my Pilates studio and glaring at women who are wearing their stupid overpriced Lululemon gear, wishing that someone would articulate my rage at that company ever since the whole Ayn Rand dustup. I found your post on a Google search and am so gratified — thank you. I’m still wearing my Athleta clothes and I may continue to boycott Lululemon for all eternity.
Amusingly, they deleted my comment.
A long time ago when some objectivists were spamming other forums than theirs, I pointed out to them that her only actual achievement in philosophy was “watering down Nietszche to the point where he could be accepted by inferior minds.”
Their response seemed to lack objectivity.
One last thing (and by the way, yes, agree with the others that this is super funny only because it’s true). The mean responses to joe were beside the point.
Joe: You derived the most you could out of Ayn Rand books. No one’s dismissing that. It’s also probably true that you drew out of them something you yourself put in, but if someone’s been suppressed too much, perhaps a dose of you-can-think-of-yourself-damnit-ism is in order. Most people don’t need it, though. What we’re dissing is the quasi-Nazi, quasi-feudal cult that she was part of (despite her bullshit claim, virtually nothing happens outside a social context; hers was a big wave of spending on “the rich are right!” books and organizations in the late 40s and 50s, coinciding with the union-busting and witch-hunting of the McCarthy combine). We don’t want to, can’t really, make our peace with that cult, because it wants inequality for its own sake – the rich can’t be rich if everyone’s prosperous. Is that obvious? rich is only a relative term.
Also, those many of us who are better writers than Ayn Rand do think it’s laughable someone so bad at her craft should get all the fawning adulation she got and still gets. It’s a huge disconnect, and people only think she’s a good writer if their reading list has been rather small.
To prove this, joe, look at the difference between her readership and the bomb movies made from the books: the NYT refused to list ayn rand and l ron hubbard books on the bestseller lists for a while: in both cases, when they made inquiries, the publisher admitted MOST sales in both cases were bulk buys. But it’s much pricier to bulk-buy movie tickets, and they have no pass-around. So movies are a truer reflection of the general market. And The Market says Ayn Rand was bad at her craft.
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Amount of people who died from Marx’s philosophy: Hundreds of millions
Amount of people who died of Ayn Rand’s philosophy: 0
I think it’s pretty clear.
Oh big surprise the blogger is left of Trotsky and hates all things capitalism including this great albeit lengthy book. Get a life cunt.
O big surprise! The commenter is a misogynist fascist just to the right of Hitler, in love with a work so flawed it is universally ridiculed by everyone from children to economics professors. If you believe there is any value to Rand’s “philosophy”, you are amoral, you are evil, but most of all, you are astonishingly stupid. Fuck you, Matt. You cunt.
No. Actually he was referring to the size of ur penis as useless