On January 15, 1919, a huge, poorly constructed molasses tank burst in Boston's North End. It unleashed 8.7 million litres of the sticky brown liquid that raced through the working-class streets at 35mph. Twenty-one people died, mostly by drowning. While the molasses was only two feet deep, its inherent gooeyness made it impossible for the hapless victims, knocked down by the force of the torrent, to stand up and clear their noses and mouths.
I bring up the Boston Molasses Disaster by way of finding an historical analogue for my experience of reading Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead. I feel much as those Bostonians did some 90 years ago. drowning in a flood of sticky, purple language unable to extricate myself. Now, you may conclude from this that I'm not enjoying my Randian sojourn. This is not exactly true. Rand's ideas - at least as a personal philosophy - have a strange appeal. Everybody wants to feel like Superman, and she is more than happy to oblige. For me, reading The Fountainhead is a process of crossing great fjords of expository description to find the little islands of insight.
Also: the rape scene? Not cool. You can justify it any way you like, but it made me feel gross.
And now, the metrics:
- Rage at the depredations of strangers: 3/10
- Rage at taxes: 4/10
- Consideration for others (where the lower the number, the greater the consideration): 4/10
- Extent to which romantic relationship has become a titanic struggle: 1/10
- Sense that I am being dragged down by mediocre society: 9/10
- Desire to build tall buildings: 7/10
It's early yet, but overall I would have to say that The Fountainhead is not having an appreciable effect on my overall jerkiness. The most of the metics are static, or bounce around within a fairly limited range. I am, however, growing increasingly irritated with the mediocrity of society at large. This hasn't manifested itself in my behaviour yet, but I'm curious to see which way I go with it. Lead a revolt? Retreat into solitude in a remote cabin? Only time will tell.