Wow, all this praise for a book that has been called "trash" and "filth" and, in one account I read, was thrown out the window by one person and run over with a lawn mower by another after landing on the ground.
Appreciate the quote. I've always told folks that Rand's characters represent an ideal for men to aspire to. I guess it's not a contradiction, but I've certainly been making the mistake she warns against.
I dug Don Luskin's book for that. John Allison, TJ Rodgers and Bill Gates may not be schlubs, but they're real people. And Luskin challenges us to live up to ideals.
1) Does that quote contain (dare I say it?) a contradiction? If the world has never seen it, is it normal? I have read the book seven times yet that thought never occurred...
2) I had a girlfriend some years back, had her own successful business but not really an intellectual type; I asked her if she had read Atlas Shrugged and she said yeah, really liked it. "What did you like about it?" said I.
"The heroic sex."
(Yes, that is an exact quote. The rest is left as an exercise for the reader.)
At the risk of taking your ex's side, I like her review. Almost everyone remarks on the sex. The most frequent complaint about the movies was "the sex scenes weren't steamy enough."
It is not 50 Shades of Grey in frequency or explicitness but it is celebrated as rational, expressive, and -- yup -- herioc.
Rest assured, brother, I took her side as well!
jk answered 2) so I'll answer 1).
No, not a contradiction.
It is correct that "normal" means "like the majority" but Rand is reknowned for her intentional use of specific words to get her points across, sometimes even appearing to be the least ideal word. I suspect she used the word "normal" for two purposes: One was to say that the ability to accomplish astounding things is naturally present in the makeup of man, due to his ability to reason. The other was to classify the men who abandon their faculty of reason as "abnormal."
An aside - A well-known truism is that "sex sells." cf. "Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders"
So sex should be an ideal vehicle for selling Objectivism to the masses, shouldn't it?
I think it is a bigger deal than a sales pitch. Putting that in the context of a more prudish, post war America, I think it is a rather startling celebration of human sexuality.
Eleven years before Updike's "Couples," Rand makes an extramarital affair, shall we say, "heroic?"