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Dear Google: How About Ayn Rand on a Doodle?

Dear Google: How About Ayn Rand on a Doodle?

5 Mins
August 25, 2016

Every day Google updates its homepage logo with different illustrations—a creative signature now known as the Google Doodle—to honor holidays, events and people who shape the world. Recently “doodled” are a cadre of extraordinary women, many of them quite obscure.

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Japanese-American activist Yuri Kochiyama, for example, got the nod from Google posthumously on the anniversary of her 95th birthday in June. And in February, Draga Ljocic-Milosevic, the first Serbian female doctor, who went on to lead the Serbian feminist movement, also earned her own Doodle, on the 161st anniversary of her birthday. A month earlier, it was Beatrice Tinsley, a New Zealand cosmologist and astronomer who successfully researched the ways galaxies work—their growth and death.

Other female honorees this year have been perhaps better known. Suffragette and feminist Alice Paul received a Doodle in January on the occasion of her 131st birthday. Paul, who died in 1977 at 92, led the charge for a women's right to vote amendment, our 19th, ratified in 1920.

And to that we say, “Hooray!”

Why not create a Google doodle honoring Ayn Rand?

Yet we wonder, with so many extraordinary women from the ranks of science, industry, human rights and also thought have received their due, why not Ayn Rand, best-selling author of Atlas Shrugged and other novels?

ayn rand google doodle

New York University professor Chris Matthew Sciabarra, a political theorist who has written and edited works about Rand and her philosophy of Objectivism, agrees that Rand is overdue and should not escape Google's notice.

chris matthew sciabarra

"If Google uses these Doodles for other thinkers, then OF COURSE Rand is worthy!" he says. "For one, her popularity has only increased over the years, and scholarship, though perhaps still in its infancy, is soaring on her."

Rand is the subject of two recent biographies, by Anne Heller and Jennifer Burns. The Atlas Society has produced a number of works exploring Rand’s novels and philosophy, as have other organizations and individual scholars like Sciabarra.

Google has celebrated other women in literature and philosophy They include philosopher and mathematician Maria Gaetana Agnesi,

France's Simone de Beauvoir, Jane Addams, and Spanish electronic book inventor Ángela Ruiz Robles, among dozens of others, showing Google's interest in elevating women whose achievements have made their mark.

“With all respect to the other women Doodlees,” says Atlas Society CEO Jennifer Anju Grossman, “Rand’s impact has been enormous. Her books have sold tens of millions of copies. The Library of Congress honored her with a request for her manuscripts. “Who is John Galt?” was a regular sign of her impact at early Tea Party rallies. Even President Obama considered it necessary to Read Ayn Rand.”

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The Doodle Process
Google's well-known founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin began the logo doodling tradition way back in 1998. Their first Doodle honored a trip to the desert and the Burning Man festival, as they put a stick figure behind Google's second "o."

Their second Doodle came for Bastille Day and was penned by Dennis Hwang, who was a lowly intern in 2000 and who has risen to become the company's webmaster.

Since then, according to Google's website, more than 2,000 Doodles have appeared on the site. They are created by a team of illustrators that Google calls "doodlers," and from user inputs that help make the case on why someone or something new should be honored that way.

Notes Google: "The team receives hundreds of requests every day so we unfortunately can't respond to everyone. But rest assured that we're reading them."

"Ayn Rand has influenced people from all walks of life."  —Chris Matthew Sciabarra

The process can go on, in some cases, for a year in advance. "A group of Googlers get together regularly to brainstorm and decide which events will be celebrated with a Doodle. The ideas for the Doodles come from numerous sources including Googlers and Google users. The Doodle selection process aims to celebrate interestingevents and anniversaries that reflect Google's personality and love for innovation."

larry page sergey brin ayn rand

Rand was certainly a strong advocate of technology and innovation, and that spirit carries over to her many admirers. In 2013, to note a finalexample of her impact, Nick Newcomen, a GPS artist, created a 12,328 mile-long Google Earth message to honor her. He spent 30 days on a road trip using an Ostarz BT-!1000XT Bluetooth data logger to write "Read Ayn Rand" across the U.S, viewable to those looking at Google Earth.

How can you help get Rand on Google's radar? Email the company: proposals@google.com.

And tell us here just what you think Rand's Google Doodle should look like. We'd love to hear your ideas. We have less than six months to go before Rand’s February 2, 1905, birthday—so don’t dawdle, Doodle!


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