1049: Bookshelf

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
(Redirected from 1049)
Jump to: navigation, search
I had a hard time with Ayn Rand because I found myself enthusiastically agreeing with the first 90% of every sentence, but getting lost at 'therefore, be a huge asshole to everyone.'
Title text: I had a hard time with Ayn Rand because I found myself enthusiastically agreeing with the first 90% of every sentence, but getting lost at 'therefore, be a huge asshole to everyone.'


This is a play on the "hidden door" in which you pull down the right book and suddenly a wall of books turns into a hidden door. It is most used in spy movies or books. In this case, the book is Atlas Shrugged and instead of a secret passage, the wall swings around and takes you to a message "You have terrible taste".

Atlas Shrugged is a dystopian novel by Ayn Rand. Randall is suggesting it's a bad book.

Although the intent behind the book was in Rand's theory of Objectivism, it has become largely adopted as a battle-cry by Libertarians. One could find this as another reason to dislike Rand's literature, as Libertarians have been notoriously disruptive and annoying to many who oppose their political philosophy or their means to get their message across.

The title text is a general criticism Randall has with Rand, since most of Rand's characters are fiercely independent and rather tactless. Also see Ayn Random.

But the title text also shows the fact that people reading Rand can easily be swayed and aligned with her beliefs by the fact that it stresses that you are unique and individual, and that Randall was victim of these circumstances until he finds Rand's approach preposterous and rejects it. Oddly, since he seems to be judging Rand this on his own accord and making his own decision, one could theorize that he is truly an individualist in that he is not swayed by anyone, even a person who preaches not to be swayed and to make your own decisions — a subject pursued in Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead.


[Cueball stands in front of a bookshelf.]
Cueball: Ooh, Atlas Shrugged.
[Cueball yanks out book only for a click to be heard.]
[The entire setup begins to rumble, while the bookcase and a surrounding platform takes both it and Cueball behind the wall.]
[The tiny, dark room behind the wall has one thing painted on it.]
Wall: You have terrible taste.
[The whole piece of kit moves back to its original position. Cueball stands there mildly stunned.]

comment.png add a comment! ⋅ comment.png add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!


Rig this up to the entire twilight section. Problem solved. Davidy22[talk] 13:57, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

Does Atlas Shrugged have any particular relevance to the strip? Alpha (talk) 02:14, 3 February 2013 (UTC)

Ayn Rand is pretty controversial, and a lot of people dismiss her books outright. Some of them are an interesting read, though. -- (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

There is a factual inaccuracy in the explanation here — her philosophy is libertarian, not conservative. Please fix that. 14:47, 8 October 2013 (UTC)

"far-right" ??? This very subjective and insulting. But I guess it's the aim of such assertion. 07:47, 14 October 2013 (UTC) Another inaccuracy: Rand herself found the Libertarians, like any political party, to be counterintuitive to her philosophy of Objectivism. Though I think "libertarian" should be changed to "objectivism," I'll leave it and just make a side-note, because one could say that Atlas Shrugged is to Libertarians as the Bible is to Christians. Jinx 20:55, 11 April 2014 (UTC)

I have to agree, Objectivism is a philosophy, Libertarianism is a political movement. Although the two have a few overlaps, they are very different things. Rand was adamantly opposed the Libertarian Party and and wrote quite a bit about her objections. 23:36, 10 August 2014 (UTC)

Does Libertarianism have anything to do with this strip? Why is it included 21:24, 5 November 2014 (UTC)

As a communist, I love this one :DInternational Space Station (talk) 15:56, 17 April 2016 (UTC)

Reading Atlas Shrugged right now. Randal's political beliefs would probably place him among the villains of the piece, a comic criticizing an influential work based on taste might place him there as well. Doesn't matter, my terrible tastes lead to me reading Atlas shrugged and xkcd so... careful Randal. 14:12, 3 December 2019 (UTC)

All you guys in talk:

Proverb a hit dog will holler

(US) An offended or defensive response to a statement suggests that the statement applies to the person complaining. 02:27, 26 July 2020 (UTC)