Friday, June 20, 2008

B: the gift that keeps on..

Now that we are much closer, I have this problem that my Mom is always offering me things she has. Not nice things like antiques and quality hand made furniture, but mostly worthless junk that nobody would really want or need. Case in point, this chair:

Nice enough I guess. She bought it at a garage sale or something and realized that she doesn't have room for it and has now offered it to me several times. I don't want the damn chair, but she thinks that if she can pawn it off on somebody then she won't have to own the fact that she wasted money on something that she can't get rid of.
I always feel guilty telling her I don't want her junk. She has always been a bit of a pack rat, but it is getting worse with age. She has that disease that older people get where they fill their time searching for bargains on crap they don't need. I wish there was something she could do with her time, but she has no interest in doing anything productive, or contributing to society in any way.
I want to give her some real money, and tell her to spend this wasted time searching antique stores and estate sales for the perfect coffee table that we don't have the time to find, but I know she couldn't be trusted not to buy crap.
I am almost done with Atlas Shrugged. I think that book is fucking with my world view. I don't totally agree with her perspective, but it is interesting if a bit simplistic and naive.
Atlas Shrugged was ranked #2 behind Gatsby for the greatest american fiction of the 20th century. Personally, I think it is better than Gatsby which I have never really cared for that much. I think Gatsby was very much about a time and a place which has degraded appreciation over time. This is happening to Atlas Shrugged as well, but I think it is a bit more timeless.
I think that Atlas Shrugged could be written today in much the same way and still be relevant. The weakness of the book in my mind is the tendency to become excessively preachy. Seriously, John Galt needs to shut the F-up after a while. We get it Ayn...move on with the story. She could have cut 150 pages of preachy dialogue and had a much more subtle but effective story. I believe that she made this book so lengthy and the lead in so slow to discourage the sort of people that she preaches as the evil of the world from being tempted to even read the book.
I highly recommend this read recognizing that quite a few people will dislike it for a wide variety of reasons.


susan said...

I haven't read Atlas Shrugged (I've been meaning to for a while) but The Fountainhead continues to be meaningful/view-changing to me.

And totally agree on Gatsby -- the whole green light thing has always been more depressing than interesting to me.

Lefty said...

I totally agree on the green light deal. There is a melancholy to the entire book. By now in the in the 21st century, we have been so exposed to the themes of this book without ever reading it, that our social knowledge of these themes result in the ending being forshadowed. I suspect that this book may have read in a much fresher way when it was first published.