• • Scaredy-cats and dogs
Betsy Marston, High Country News (Paonia, CO) Atlas Shrugged | Some state legislators like to rail against government intruding into people's lives -- unless, of course, those same legislators want to do the intruding themselves. Idaho Republican State Sen. John Goedde recently introduced a bill requiring all high school students to read "and comprehend" Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, a doorstop of a novel about fed-up industrialists opting out of society. Then, after plowing through some 600 pages of leaden prose, the students would have to pass a state-approved test about the book, reports Time magazine. Scores of people commented on the bill, which Sen. Goedde admitted was largely a symbolic gesture, but one observation struck us as particularly apt: "There are two novels that can change a bookish 14-year-old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves Orcs."