and I am fully prepared to get executed for this writing, but here goes.
You see, I don't hate Ayn Rand.
Oh wow, I haven't been smothered by a GMO free pillow yet, so guess I'll keep typing, beyond the orange keep your hands off my railroads and vagina squiggle....
I like Atlas Shrugged. I've read it three times. How many times have you read it?
It's a long book.
The first time I read it I was an 18 year old sophomore at Georgia Tech and I was doing my co-op quarter in a power plant in Florida so that I could pay for my mechanical engineering education. We were doing "heat rate" tests. What that meant was that for three days of ten hour shifts, I got to sit on the ground floor of a power plant in Florida in the summer (can you say hotter'n hell?) and every fifteen minutes read some gauges, do some calculations, and then wait for the next time. Since I was pretty good at math and stuff, it took me about 90 seconds to do that, which meant I had 13 minutes and 30 seconds to kill between stints. I needed to kill time.
So I read Atlas Shrugged.
I read about Dagny Taggart who ran a railroad despite the fact she was surrounded by dicks. I read about Dagny Taggart who cared more about providing an essential service than assuaging the egos of the Cruzes and Ryans and all the pretty boys around her trying to convince her that THEIR regulations were the ones that were good for her pretty little self. I read about Dagny Taggart who admired whom she did, fucked whom she wished to, and didn't let the other fuckers fuck with her.
Was a pretty empowering book for a female mechanical engineering student in 1981.
I read it again after I became the first female power plant manager in the state of Texas. I was 28 and had just had my first kid.
My experiences then were totally male dominated. I used to go to conferences of three or four hundred people, and I'd be the only woman there. (And perhaps there were three or four men of color there, but that may be an exaggeration.)
Again, Dagny was my hero. She helped me not be afraid to speak truth to power without even knowing that was what I was doing.
The last time I read it, I was 39. I was a big shot executive in the power industry at that point, but I was getting weary of going to lobby governors and the like so that they would back off on making us put pollution controls on our power plants. I didn't want to have to pollute to support my family and I sure as shit didn't agree with how much my company would pay for me to have dinner with the gov (can you say $10k a plate?). Dagny still appealed to me, because she got weary, too.
Yeah, so, I know that liking Atlas Shrugged is the death knell around here, but Dagny is the one who helped me learn to speak up and I just can't deny that.
I am now blindfolded and gagged.. feel free to execute me.