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    Posted by Lucky 3 months, 1 week ago
    I for one would like to see this as a trend here, agree with mccannnon01.

    Some points about Rand's characters. All, nearly or all, of the bad characters are easily identified from when they enter. They are shallow, without interest or intellect. Two exceptions- Jim Taggart and the scientist, high IQ maybe but at the same time 'silly'. Could specific incidents be shown that disagree with the above summary?

    The few real heroes stand out having complexity, Dagny and Hank, they are super intelligent, hard workers, productive. But on the big issues they are slow, they agonize, analyze and evaluate, a change of mind is time consuming. Are there others in that class? There are many 'good' characters who have seen the light, on approach from Galt, or otherwise, the change is quick - well hours, days, not months. This class of character are admirable, but not interesting.

    Then there are those who do not fit the above description, not many, Rand is not a fence sitter.

    To me, there is a class of Rand character who are very interesting, hard workers, the small scale achievers, stable and reliable, not the great intellects, but those who have got the big things right. Eddie and Cheryl belong here, not many of them.

    etc.

    I have not kept strictly to SamMG's question, but this could be done on follow up.
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    • Posted by 3 months, 1 week ago
      Ironically, Jim Taggart was the character I wished to start a discussion on. I was a young man when I first read Atlas Shrugged, and although upon re-read I understood his character and place in the novel better, but after all these years, he still disturbs me.
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      • Posted by mccannon01 3 months, 1 week ago
        I agree disturbing can be a good word to describe James Taggart because he is so close to the formula of success, even as Dagny rubs his nose in it, yet he refuses to accept it and chooses the path of failure. More disturbing is there are so many people in the real world that are just like him.
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      • Posted by $ blarman 3 months, 1 week ago
        Jim Taggart always struck me as one of the go-along-to-get-along types. He gets in with the political movers and just caves to everything they want to do even though he is supposedly the CEO of Taggart Transcontinental. Reminds me a lot of Zuckerberg TBH.

        Elon Musk strikes me much more as a Reardon-type person where he's more than willing to buck the system (Twitter/X) and call out the freedom violations for what they are.
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        • Posted by $ jdg 2 months, 3 weeks ago
          Elon Musk has elements of both the good and the bad just in his business history.

          SolarCity (especially) and SpaceX seem to have been designed to suck up taxpayer subsidies, and thus SolarCity went under when the trough went dry, just like its predecessor Solyndra. Tesla also got some subsidies, but it will probably outlast them. (It's hard to convince inflation-squeezed taxpayers to subsidize people willing to pay $80k or more for a car!)

          It struck me as very odd that the SEC or investors didn't intervene when he used Tesla to buy up the worthless stock of SolarCity as a bailout of Musk personally. If Trump or Buffett had tried that I expect they would be in prison. Does this mean Musk is beholden to the deep state? It sure suggests it.

          That leaves only the Boring Company, which I can't explain at all; it seemed to me a stupid idea and doomed to fail. I'm not sure if this has already happened.

          I'm also a little puzzled by his expressed desire to grab Disney. There is already an investor group trying to wrest Disney out of the hands of the pervs who have run it into the ground. Give it to Musk and we'll probably find out more about the specifics of his politics, which I somewhat like but can't completely trust.
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          • Posted by $ blarman 2 months, 3 weeks ago
            Absolutely. But we also have to recognize that Musk is real-life and Reardon is fiction. I seem to recall Trump mentioning that he supported Democrats as a political necessity in the past.
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            • Posted by $ jdg 2 months, 3 weeks ago
              Certainly. I meant this partly as discussion of Musk, but also of the fact that Rand wrote a lot of characters that were one-sided enough to stress the reader's ability to suspend disbelief. She seems to have considered this a requirement to qualify as Literature. Her standards are not mine. Very few people in the real world are all hero or all villain, and most of the villains find ways to think they are heroes.
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  • Posted by VetteGuy 3 months, 1 week ago
    Hi SMB, and welcome!

    I'd love to see more of this type of discussion here in the Gulch. It's why I originally joined.

    Over the years there have been a few discussion threads that delved deeply into AS. There was one that went chapter-by-chapter for a while, and I wish I remembered who was responsible, to give them credit for it. Also there was recently one on The God of the Machine (by Isabel Paterson).

    These are the kinds of discussion I like best. I can picture John, Midas, Frisco and the gang sitting in Midas's living room with a big fire with glasses of Akston's wine and having these types of discussion. That's as close to AR's Gulch as I can hope to get.

    Enjoy!
    VG
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  • Posted by $ Snezzy 3 months, 1 week ago
    My favorite is still the ever-enigmatic Eddie Willers. He does his job well, leaving the reader mystified before we discover that we all are Eddie.

    I like to think that I actually met Eddie. Long ago I was talking to an old (very old) rail worker, who expressed to me his delight that Atlas Shrugged had such a good understanding of rail operations. I think he cut his teeth on steam. His words did not focus on the philosophical aspects of the book, but on, "How we run the railroad." I think he was particularly pleased with the section where the electric block signals had failed and they had to revert to written orders and hand signals.

    "Now in non-fiction!"
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  • Posted by mccannon01 3 months, 1 week ago
    Do as you did with this question for starters and see where it goes. When this Gulch was younger there was a great deal of discussion of that type, but I suspect many topics became exhausted with use and things slowly moved on to mainly current events. Lots of good people here willing to take up topics when they are posted. Lots of humor here as well. Enjoy the ride.
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  • Posted by $ katrinam41 3 months, 1 week ago
    Good post. I need my thoughts shaken, not stirred every now and then, and interactions like this do a good job of it. I hope that when the time comes, I can at least be an Eddie Willers, but I 'm working towards the fisherman in shorts. So many minor characters in all the human aspects leaves me hungry for backstories. They appear simple, in-and-out lessons, yet they had to arrive at that place through their lifetimes. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall while AR was creating her masterpiece.
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    • Posted by mccannon01 3 months ago
      Many great characters in Rand's works to identify with depending on the circumstances. One character I found myself identifying with is Mike the electrician in "The Fountainhead" and the train techie that gave Dagny the truck so she could chase down John Galt in "Atlas Shrugged". Smart, highly skilled, and gets sick of working for idiots no matter how "educated" they are, but will apply those skills with vigor for people worth their salt.
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  • Posted by $ blarman 3 months, 1 week ago
    Post anything you want. I will agree with the other posters who note that we occasionally need a good refresher on things we haven't discussed for years. Welcome!
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  • Posted by mhubb 3 months, 1 week ago
    analysis of made up characters?

    i rather look to REAL people for examples and analysis

    with all their REAL flaws and Heroism
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    • Posted by CaptainKirk 3 months, 1 week ago
      Even Physics uses idealized scenarios to do analysis. Because the real-world is way too complicated... Especially as you start out.

      While I don't mind comparing people to characters to quickly wrap a perspective on them, it can also be dangerous. Especially when real-life characters like Trump exist. And he is constantly being labelled. He is IMPERFECT at best.

      But that makes it hard to discern the truest essence of things we should value. And values that should be avoided (not hurting anyones feelings even with the truth).

      Concepts are easier without a specific person.
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