Query: Who wrote this first? Two novels that change a 14 year-old’s life, Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged

Eye of Sauron, or John Galt?

Lord of the Rings features a time when evil almost wins. Atlas Shrugged celebrates such dystopia.

I first heard this within the past couple of years.  As with too many really good lines that get passed around the internet, it came to me first with no source listed.

It’s rather brilliant.  To whom do we properly give credit for its invention?

There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

Update:  In comments, Ellie and Liam both point to John Rogers at Kung Fu Monkey, March 19, 2009.  Sounds good.  Can anyone pin it on anyone else, earlier?



12 Responses to Query: Who wrote this first? Two novels that change a 14 year-old’s life, Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged

  1. JamesK says:

    Yeah I’m still sad they ended Leverage :(


  2. Ed Darrell says:

    27% don’t have a clue that the answer is 42?


  3. onkelbob says:

    John Rogers is a screenwriter, he is responsible for the most excellent series Leverage. And his other famous quote involves finding the baseline of the crazy-stupid among the population. His compadre Tyrone deduced it is 27%.


  4. Ed Darrell says:

    How much better off the world would be had Alan Greenspan and Paul Ryan taken up Lord of the Rings instead of Atlas Shrugged.


  5. Ed Darrell says:

    Thanks for the reminder, Mr. Howard! I didn’t remember I’d posted it before (see: https://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2011/05/13/quote-of-the-moment-on-shaping-lives-lord-of-the-rings-or-atlas-shrugged/ ).

    Then the attribution was more tentative, at least to me.

    Thanks for paying attention.

    Now: Should we know who John Rogers is?


  6. sbh says:

    Well, I got it from Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub. When I quoted it at the time I assumed it was by screenwriter John Rogers (not the northwest pioneer my primary school was named after) because I could find it on his blog, sans quotation marks, with no indication of a prior appearance turning up in the usual places (say Wikiquotes, Google Books, and so on though I don’t remember now exactly what I looked at).

    This quotation amuses me in part because I did in fact run into both books when I was about fourteen (a little earlier for LOTR, a little later for Atlas Shrugged). Both authors wrote abysmal prose, but Tolkien was a born story-teller, while Rand seemed to have learned her craft from de Sade. Heinlein, who shared much of her world view, could have taught her a thing or two about effective writing.


  7. jsojourner says:

    No idea who first quipped thus. But a Presidential Medal of Freedom is certainly called for. Ayn Rand was/is the epitome of evil.



  8. JamesK says:

    Well TvTropes.com says that KungFu Monkey was quoting Paul Krugman. But then Paul Krugman apparently attributes it back to Kung Fu Monkey at: http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/28/rule-by-the-ridiculous/


  9. Ed Darrell says:

    Also, I love this comment at Kung Fu Monkey:

    Frank said…

    One of my favorite quotes about Ayn Rand is from a column by comic book writer Steve Grant:

    “I’ve always suspected that Rand, who fled to America as a result of Stalinist persecutions, at least according to her data, was a Soviet sleeper agent sowing discord in America by effectively starting a religion that raised self-satisfaction to the highest of human aspirations (but, as T-Bone Burnett sang, you can’t want nothin’ if you want satisfaction) and openly mocked and scorned concepts like altruism and charity; her view, enshrined in ATLAS SHRUGGED, that men of great talent should step away from society and await its inevitable collapse under the weight of its own corruption is oddly similar to Marx’s conviction that communism was the natural and inevitable end result of capitalist society.”



  10. Ed Darrell says:

    You both came up with John Rogers, Ellie and Liam Does that end it? (I read that, and assumed Kung Fu Monkey was repeating it.)

    So far, Rogers’s post at Kung Fu Monkey is the earliest I’ve found:

    That’s work until someone comes along with Abe Lincoln’s original, earlier version of the quote.


  11. Liam says:

    It looks like the answer is in one of your links: John Rogers (Kung Fu Monkey) – http://kfmonkey.blogspot.com/2009/03/ephemera-2009-7.html


  12. Ellie says:

    Thought it was John Rogers? No?


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