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Day 80-2: Along Comes Evelyn

Mail call! My cranky correspondent says I must be drinking too much to have so miserably misunderstood her critique of Ayn Rand. “The coolest aspect of Rand’s novels is her distinctive sexuality. Her taste for antagonistic sex must have embarrassed right-wingers in the 1940s and ‘50s,” she says. “That took some guts and a sense of humor, which you [meaning me] evidently lack.”

THE NAME IS 'EVELYN,' NOT 'DOMINIQUE'Hmm. I thought I made it clear that I had nothing against Rand’s sexuality. When Rand couples her characters, she invests all of their power, to the max. The Fountainhead’s Dominque uses her newspaper column to deride Roark’s work, even as she invites him to plunder her body. She’s hardly helpless. Their violent lovemaking embodies their work, their war, their passion for so much that isn’t sexual.

 I believe in purity of expression in all dimensions (short of serious injury), as long as the doings are consensual. Dagny and Dominique are strong-willed women bent on draining the cup of life with a worthy partner. They know what they’re doing. Unlike my stalker, who’s just earned the name ‘Evelyn,’ for the character in Play Misty for Me. (Hear Orson Welles narrate the lame movie trailer!)

Rand wasn’t the first writer to say love hurts, but she primed the pain with socioeconomic and sociopolitical issues. When her leads consummate the buzz, history feeds their need. Talk about compelling unions. Compulsive might be the better word.

I do agree with Evelyn’s observation that Gary Cooper turned in a lame performance as the idealistic violator in the movie version of The Fountainhead. Cooper played the scene like a George Romero extra who’d lost his teeth. Jimmy Stewart would have been driven. (Watch him take Kim Novak shopping in Vertigo or knock Doris Day out with pills in the second Man Who Knew Too Much.)

A number of normal readers write that they’ve been organizing their communities all along, but that the public suffers from flu fatigue. “It was easy to get my neighbors excited about bird flu until it showed up,” says a Wisconsin woman. “Familiarity has bred contempt,” reports a student in San Jose. “We’ve lost them.”

I was afraid of this, and not because my personal protective equipment sales are negligible. (Fitch is never far from my thoughts.) I don’t doubt that demand will return aplenty in October, at the start of flu season, even if H5N1 is still lying low.

After all, I’m selling a solid mask technology and everyone knows we defeated bird flu with technology. Never mind that America’s hospitals locked patients out, that there were disturbances and blackouts and shortages. Who cares that Tamiflu failed frequently and that Relenza doesn’t always work—and was impossible to get when fear broke out?

It’s as if a thriller called Pandemic bombed with critics. I’m afraid the fans will wind up catching it anyway, Word-of-mouth gets around, you know.

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