Welcome to Atlas ‘Clubbed, a lone blog in the wilderness where I, a “liberal-tarian” 20-something male, will spend the next several months reading and recapping Ayn Rand’s 1000+ page philosophic allegory Atlas Shrugged so that you don’t have to.
If you’ve already read the book, well, so have I actually, and I think you might enjoy this project even more than newcomers. As this is nominally a book club, I welcome and encourage stories in the comments about how this novel is a brilliant intellectual masterpiece and/or an endless brick of inert prose. Whichever. But said comments, if they come to exist, are to remain 1) substantive; and, 2) civil with some discretionary leeway for well-played ball-busting. I will readily block any moochers, leeches, and trolls.
The plan is to cover one chapter every week for 30 weeks, which takes us through the end of July 2012 excepting personal delays and global psycho-spiritual apocalypses. Factoring in a couple of weeks for such Murphy’s Law scenarios puts the conclusion of the project somewhere in the vicinity of the Republican National Convention in August (speaking of psycho-spiritual apocalypses…). So we’ll see how that goes.
First, though, some context. In late 2008, following the financial crisis and the climax of the last election cycle, I picked up Atlas Shrugged with the explicit intention of becoming more fluent in the language of conservative ideology, but for primarily rhetorical purposes. I’m politically disinclined to like Rand’s work (I voted for Obama and intend to do so again), and yet I was surprised by how provocative and compelling I found it — at least, in its premises and ambitions if not its execution. While I still regard Ayn herself as a stone-cold bitch monster, I have a begrudging respect for her ideas that I did not have when I knew her by reputation alone. There is written proof of this reaction, no less, which can be perused here at my old, defunct blog.
Which is to say I want this site to appeal to Rand fans as well as Rand detractors, even though — don’t get me wrong — I will snark on her writing. A lot. But I will take the ideas she presents seriously while I do so, irreverent editorial voice be damned. Consider it a friendly ribbing.
I think that covers all the preamble. There will be a new chapter recap posted every Monday. Today, in addition to this preface, I have posted a short bio of the author and a general overview of the book itself. “Chapter 1: The Theme” will roll out in two posts on Wednesday and Friday, with “Chapter 2: The Chain” kicking off the regular schedule on Monday the 9th. Every few weeks I’ll also throw in a short essay of a post where I review thematic issues about which I find myself (or you, hypothetical readers) having a lot to say.
And oh my should there ever be a lot to say. It’s 2012 and the very philosophical underpinnings of America are the subject of the national debate, with a big vote at the end and everything! May Galt have mercy on us all…