Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Friday, September 26, 2008

This Dear Soul

I thought my dear must her own soul destroy,
So did fanaticism and hate enslave it,
And this brought forth a dream and soon enough
This dream itself had all my thought and love.

And when the Fool and Blind Man stole the bread
Cuchulain fought the ungovernable sea;
Heart-mysteries there, and yet when all is said
It was the dream itself enchanted me:
Players and painted stage took all my love,
And not those things that they were emblems of.

Those masterful images because complete
Grew in pure mind, but out of what began?
A mound of refuse or the sweepings of a street,
Old kettles, old bottles, and a broken can,
Old iron, old bones, old rags, that raving slut
Who keeps the till. Now that my ladder's gone,
I must lie down where all the ladders start,
In the foul rag-and-bone shop of the heart.

--William Butler Yeats

This poem is blessedly simple to understand. Yeats' protagonist fell in love with a fanatical, hateful woman. But he wanted her, so he created a false image to superimpose on her. He believed what he wanted to believe, instead of seeing the truth. Why? The real reason is much uglier than the fantasy. Need, vanity, lust--there are a hundred reasons, none of them attractive to look at.

I want you to look at something. Megan discusses the bailout and uses the homeless as an example. Her argument can be summed up with this bit:

How much money are we willing to pay to maintain our sense of

And there you see where Megan lives. The smooth hair and placid, unlived-in face, the MBA wreathed in the "glory" of the Chicago Boyz, the cloying networking, the prep school education, the sidewalks of New York and designer shoes and dresses: They originate in the foul rag and bone shop of her heart. Her vanity and callousness, her love of luxury, exclusiveness and privilege, her smirking disregard for torture, poverty, pain and illness. That is what Megan McArdle really is. That is the creature who passes for a human being, the daywalking vampire who would drain the blood of her country to satisfy her base lusts.

She is revolting.


Anonymous said...

Yep. I see her every single day in Metro Atlanta. She goes to the Holy Church of Fuck You I Got Mine,everyone else be damned. There's a gas shortage here now,no gas stations have gas,and people are being simply evil to one another and refusing to conserve or so much as carpool.

I'm reading The Price of Privilege by Madeline Levine right now and it SO describes people like Megan. Levine is focused on teens,but I think there's an emotional growth stoppage in people who have too much,an empty space they try to fill with money and things. There are few if any human attachments because people like her are raised to value things and acquiring things more than humans or connecting with the actual planet they walk upon.

We are a well off country and yet we are full of miserable,depressed and angry people. I believe this is why.

Susan of Texas said...

Your gas situation is amazing. I haven't heard anything about it since we had no electricity for so long. We were in the same boat because so many people bought gasoline before the hurricane and we couldn't get any afterwards for a few days. Police had to be called to supervise the long lines at the few stations open. The mayor told people to not hoard gas, although many were filling containers to run generators.

Natural disasters, war, old infrastructure--gas shortages might become more common.

Megan could change if she wanted to. It's too profitable to be what she is, however.

Anonymous said...

I was so angry after reading what she wrote about homelessness and mental illness, I was damn close to offering my services to brad and Nutella over at FMM to punch her in the face for them. I don't have any grudges against people born into privilege, but I can't abide those who have yet can't imagine what life is like for people who haven't.

Her thinking is so simplistic, so clueless and lacking in reality outside of her comfort zone, to say her writing is appalling is an understatement. As someone who has struggled with mental illness and depression for most of my life, it's not simply a matter of "taking the medication." It doesn't make everything rainbows. Many mentally ill people are disorganized and forgetful. Routine is difficult for them. They are not being lazy or making bad choices. They are suffering from a bloody disease that is pharmaceutically treated with debilitating side effects. That's not even touching on those who don't have access to or can't afford medication in the first place. But Megan doesn't live under these circumstances, so they obviously don't exist for anyone else. Her observations based on her experiences speak for everyone.

Like you said, revolting.

Susan of Texas said...

As a reader of FMM, it made me especially angry to read that post. She is so hurtful.

You know, I am very happy that Megan McArdle exists and has such a prominant job. History will preserve her like a bug in amber, the perfect example of homo inhumanus.

Anonymous said...

The fact that there are so many people over there responding with things like "excellent post, Megan. You are so right" is thoroughly depressing as well. I would have hoped that attitudes like hers were an exception that disgusted most, not something to be applauded.

Susan of Texas said...

It is depressing. Happily there are always a few people telling her she's full of it, however.

Right now she's praising McCain's debating performance. McCain looks as if he's about to launch himself at Obama in frustration. The grin he has plastered on his face is scary.

I;m not a huge Obama fan, but at least he looks presidential and dignified.

Anonymous said...

Excellent blog post!

Susan of Texas said...

Thanks, dillon.