Atlas Shrugged Chapter 8: The John Galt Line

Egocentrism abounds. When the first page of a chapter is an entire dialog, as in, involving two people, and there’s no telephone involved but we only get one person’s words and the other person is identified solely as “the worker,” well, we shouldn’t expect much balance to the perspectives presented.

Chapter summary: As the train line nears completion, Dagny and Hank do their best to upset the media apple cart, but appear to fail (which means, by Dagny’s own standards, she failed miserably). The train line is completed, the train chugs down the line, Dagny has an orgasm or three in the engine room after basking in the glow of all the support she’s getting from the hoi polloi (always with the grammatical nag, there, that “hoi” means “the,” but that’s nothing to do with Rand). Then she and Hank go back to Ellis’s place and she has an orgasm for real, because being a cold-hearted callous self-centered greed machine who nonetheless gets surrounded by madding crowds of apparently masochistic groupies gets her so hot.

It’s you and me and, well, all the faceless, nameless little people against the world, which must by process of elimination be a few handfuls of ne’er-do-well media moguls and Old School Clingers who can’t see the blinding light of generous selfishness that is Dagny Taggert.

In other words, gag. Not for the rail line or the getting it complete on time or the solipsistic opening with Eddie or how every last engineer not otherwise engaged offered to drive the train or even the way that Dagny’s clit is all atingle for far too much of this chapter; all of that is understandable, actually, given the characters and whatnot. No, the gag is for the ham-fisted masturbatory paean during which Dagny realizes everyone that can hie themselves to a rail crossing to see the Taggert Transcontinental does so for the sheer pleasure of waving to the Bright New Vision.

Way over the top, Ayn. WAY.

The good news is that, after two weeks, I’m still on pace. My optimism that I will come out of this adventure with an overall positive opinion of this book has waned significantly after this chapter, though. Ms. Rand has a bit over 800 pages to win me back, let’s see if she succeeds.

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