What would you do for Ayn Rand?
Ayn Rand fan spells out appreciation in world’s largest book ad. Nick Newcomen travels 12,000 miles with GPS tracking ‘pen’ to emblazon message ‘Read Ayn Rand’ across the US
by Alison Flood
Some literary fans show their dedication to a particular author by traipsing to book signings or festivals; others track down elusive first editions. Nick Newcomen went a little further than most, spending a month driving more than 12,000 miles to inscribe his message â€“ “Read Ayn Rand” â€“ on a vast swath of US land.
Using a GPS tracking device as a “pen”, Newcomen took about 10 days to complete each word, turning on his GPS logger when he wanted to write and turning it off between letters, videoing himself at landmarks along the route for documentation. He drove 12,328 miles in total, across 30 American states, inputting the data once he was finished into Google Earth to create the world’s largest book advertisement.
“I saw on the internet some GPS ‘penned’ shapes and drawings done by others. They intrigued me because I saw potential there to use GPS to create a ‘written’ message on a very large scale,” said Newcomen.
He decided to point people towards the author because he believes that “‘Read Ayn Rand’ deserves to be the world’s biggest message”.
“She is the only modern author and thinker to offer ideas that have the potential and power to genuinely reshape the world for the better,” he said. “And on a personal level, her books and ideas have been instrumental in helping me achieve success and happiness in life.”
Rand counts among her disciples former chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan, along with Brad Pitt, Oliver Stone and Ronald Reagan â€“ although Noam Chomsky once called her “one of the most evil figures of modern intellectual history”. She is best known for her novel Atlas Shrugged, in which she trumpets the right of individuals to look out for themselves even as the world collapses without them (“I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine,” says hero John Galt), for her philosophy of Objectivism and her advocacy of “full, pure, uncontrolled, unregulated laissez-faire capitalism”. She has undergone a revival in recent months, with Atlas Shrugged enjoying a boost in sales.
Newcomen listed his top 10 reasons to read the author on a website about his travels: “She explains with refreshing honesty and clarity which basic ideas America must adopt and which it must reject if it is to remain a great nation,” he wrote, and “her ideas in essence are true”.
Other writers hoping for similar endorsements will be disappointed: Newcomen says he has “no plans at this time to do any more GPS ‘writing'”.
0 thoughts on “What would you do for Ayn Rand?”
Frightening, but then I tend to agree with Chomskey. In other words, this is just another guy using technology and infrastructure that has been collectively developed (and maintained) while he waves his oversized flag for the cause of rugged individualism. Whoopee.
I thought he did it for a Klondike Bar. Didn’t realize he was actually a fan. Scary.