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#1 Abaco

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Posted 11 June 2009 - 01:50 PM

While reading Atlas Shrugged I was struck with a strange thought. The scene where Dagney first smokes a cigarette with a dollar sign it makes her feel better than any other cigarette she ever smoked before. The description of it made me think of smoking pot. Do you think Miss Rand was hinting towards that? Don't flame me too much here. I admit this is a strange thought. I did read some on Miss Rand's personal life and, given that, I'm not sure it's totally out of the question.
There's no way to rule innocent men. --(Dr. Ferris in Atlas Shrugged)

#2 ewv

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Posted 11 June 2009 - 03:06 PM

While reading Atlas Shrugged I was struck with a strange thought. The scene where Dagney first smokes a cigarette with a dollar sign it makes her feel better than any other cigarette she ever smoked before. The description of it made me think of smoking pot. Do you think Miss Rand was hinting towards that? Don't flame me too much here. I admit this is a strange thought. I did read some on Miss Rand's personal life and, given that, I'm not sure it's totally out of the question.

There is nothing about Ayn Rand's personal life to suggest that she had anything to do with pot or would that she would have surreptiously promote its use. She opposed the use of drugs and didn't even like the effects of drinking. Be careful of the sources you read claiming to be about her personal life.

The description of the unusual cigarette did not say it made her "feel better". It specifically referred to "enjoying the taste" -- a reference to the superior quality of things created in what she would later discover as the valley:

She had driven far down the winding road, and the lights of the diner were long since out of sight, when she noticed that she was enjoying the taste of the cigarette he had given her: it was different from any she had ever smoked before. She held the small remnant to the light of the dashboard, looking for the name of the brand. There was no name, only a trademark. Stamped in gold on the thin, white paper there stood the sign of the dollar.

he only remnant of her personal quest was the stub of the cigarette with the dollar sign. She had forgotten it, until a recent evening, when she had found it in a drawer of her desk and given it to her friend at the cigar counter of the concourse. The old man had been very astonished, as he examined the stub, holding it cautiously between two fingers; he had never heard of such a brand and wondered how he could have missed it. "Was it of good quality, Miss Taggart?.… The best I've ever smoked." He had shaken his head, puzzled. He had promised to discover where those cigarettes were made and to get her a carton.



#3 Abaco

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Posted 11 June 2009 - 04:14 PM

"There is nothing about Ayn Rand's personal life to suggest that she had anything to do with pot or would that she would have surreptiously promote its use. She opposed the use of drugs and didn't even like the effects of drinking. Be careful of the sources you read claiming to be about her personal life."

Well, that's interesting. It wouldn't make sense to me that drug use would fit in Objectivism, as long as one accepts the premise that drugs affect the mind (not all would agree, unbelievably). The information I read about Miss Rand did suggest a wild side, and didn't seem like a smear piece. It was likely written by the uninitiated. I just found such a detailed description of a simple cigarette to be odd in the story. I found myself asking, "Who cares if the effect of the cigarette was so special? Why was it?" I certainly didn't get the impression that Miss Rand was promoting drug use. FWIW I hate drugs and smoking.
There's no way to rule innocent men. --(Dr. Ferris in Atlas Shrugged)

#4 ewv

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Posted 11 June 2009 - 05:48 PM

Well, that's interesting. It wouldn't make sense to me that drug use would fit in Objectivism, as long as one accepts the premise that drugs affect the mind (not all would agree, unbelievably). The information I read about Miss Rand did suggest a wild side, and didn't seem like a smear piece. It was likely written by the uninitiated. I just found such a detailed description of a simple cigarette to be odd in the story. I found myself asking, "Who cares if the effect of the cigarette was so special? Why was it?" I certainly didn't get the impression that Miss Rand was promoting drug use. FWIW I hate drugs and smoking.

There are malicious rumors circulating about Ayn Rand that are picked up and repeated by people who don't bother to check, some of whom seem to revel in "scandal" for its own sake or worse -- dragging down the good. For an accurate account of her life and its meaning you should watch the biographical video Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life, by Michael Paxton.

The $ cigarette in Atlas Shrugged was a minor plot thread that served as part of the clues and suspense of the mystery connected to the valley. It also had a unique symbolic meaning appropriate to the period, as in this passage:

He glanced at her and did not answer. Then he said, "I like cigarettes, Miss Taggart. I like to think of fire held in a man's hand. Fire, a dangerous force, tamed at his fingertips. I often wonder about the hours when a man sits alone, watching the smoke of a cigarette, thinking. I wonder what great things have come from such hours. When a man thinks, there is a spot of fire alive in his mind—and it is proper that he should have the burning point of a cigarette as his one expression."






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