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John Nausieda
(Meander) - MLife

Locale: PNW
It's only a movie on 04/17/2011 19:24:17 MDT Print View

From the NYT . Posted so you don't use up your monthly quota of free articles if you aren't a subscriber. Maureen Dowd.The comments at the Times are very interesting as well.
It was Ayn Rand’s nightmare: the president who gave hundreds of billions in hand-outs to homeowners, banks, car executives and various others she would have labeled “moochers” was explaining his vision of why America is great.
“It’s not the size of our skyscrapers,” President Obama told cheering fans at a late-night rally Thursday at Chicago’s Navy Pier. “It’s not the size of our G.D.P.”
It’s not even just because we’re individuals, he said, adding, “We also have this idea that we’re all in this together, that we look out for one another, that I am my brother’s keeper.”
Rand would have considered this warmed over, mommy party, it-takes-a-village piffle.
Obama is antithetical to Rand’s ideal man, Howard Roark, the architect of skyscrapers who violently refuses to exist for others. Paul Ryan, trying to push the cost of Medicare and Medicaid onto the old, the sick and the disabled while rewarding insurance companies with bigger profits, would be more up her alley.
Indeed, Congressman Ryan has said the reason he got involved in public service was “by and large” because of Rand, and he has encouraged his staffers to read “Atlas Shrugged.”
You’d think that our fiscal meltdown would have shown the flaw in Rand’s philosophy. She thought we could derive morals from the markets. But we derived immorality from the markets.
She wrote about Nietzschean superheroes who made things. She died before capitalism evolved into a vampire casino where you could bet against investments you sold to your clients, and make money off something you didn’t own or that existed only on paper.
The sexy Manichean ’toons in the novels of the goddess of capitalism don’t behave unethically. When they blow up things, it’s because they will not be sacrificial victims to evil second-raters.
Greed had a less ennobling effect on real genius capitalists. Instead of fighting the looters, they joined the looters.
What Rand and acolytes like Alan Greenspan failed to realize is that if everyone acts in self-interest and no one takes into account the weakness to the entire system that occurs when everybody indulges in the same kind of risky behavior, the innocent and the guilty are engulfed.
Nevertheless, Rand is blazing back as an icon of the Tea Party, which overlooks her atheism, amorality in romance and vigorous support for abortion.
Tea Party groups are helping to market part one of a low-budget film version of “Atlas Shrugged,” with no stars and none of the campy panache of the Gary Cooper-Patricia Neal movie of “The Fountainhead.” “Atlas Shrugged” aptly opened on Tax Day, getting a rave from Sean Hannity, who said it wouldn’t have been released “had Hollywood liberals gotten their way,” and a dismissive shrug from most critics, even conservatives.
“I will not pan ‘Atlas Shrugged,’ ” P. J. O’Rourke wrote in a pan in The Wall Street Journal. “I don’t have the guts.”
“I’m not sure she’s dead,” he said of Rand.
The 1,200-page novel took Rand 12 years to write. After debuting to searing reviews in 1957, it has been going gangbusters ever since. It was at No. 19 on Amazon Friday night.
Al Ruddy, the charismatic producer of “The Godfather” and “Million Dollar Baby” (and a Democrat), spent decades trying to make Rand’s master work into a movie.
“Dagny Taggart is the greatest role ever written for a woman,” he said in his gravelly voice. “She’s a great executive, she’s gorgeous, and the three greatest guys in the world are all mad about her. Hot stuff about cool geniuses.” In 1975, he wanted to pull together “a dream cast,” with Faye Dunaway as Dagny, Clint Eastwood as Hank Rearden, Robert Redford as John Galt and Alain Delon as Francisco d’Anconia.
He went to New York to talk to Rand, crowding onto a love seat at her agent’s with the tiny objectivist, who loved manly men like Ruddy. She agreed that he could focus on the love story. “That’s all it ever was,” she said.
But she wanted final script approval. “Darlink,” she told him in her Russian accent as she smoked, “I trust you, but the Russians will buy Paramount to destroy my book.”
He refused to give Rand, who started as a tyro Hollywood screenwriter in the days of Cecil B. DeMille, that much control. He kept trying, including for a TNT miniseries with John Aglialoro, an exercise machine mogul who owns the rights (he produced and co-wrote the film that’s out now), hoping for Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and Javier Bardem.
But after 9/11, he gave up. “At the end of ‘Atlas Shrugged,’ mills, ships and mines are blown up,” Ruddy said. “And I thought, wait a second, do people really want to see a movie about America being blown up and destroyed?”
He thinks the story will have a second life with stars. “ ‘Atlas Shrugged’ is the most important novel of the 20th century,” Ruddy says, “It will rise again.”‘

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: It's only a movie on 04/17/2011 20:05:55 MDT Print View

So is this a review of the movie?

To understand Rand, you really have to read her non-fiction, along with the 3 well known novels.

Rand considered Nietzsche a mystic and an irrationalist. She was a writer of the Romantic school of literature, who's characters were larger than life... by design; in contrast to the naturalistic novels of today. She probably would have disowned Greenspan for taking a government job.

She hated Democrats for their commitment to socialism, Republicans for their desire to force evangelistic Christian morals on society, and the Libertarians for their pursuit of anarchism. I am sure she would have hated the Tea Party too.

As far as the movie, I haven't seen it. It was rushed into production so the option to the movie rights would not expire, had a low budget, mostly unknown actors, and covers only 1/3 of the book. Not a stellar start. I suppose it will be a commercial success due to the legions of Rand fans, who will not view the movie "objectively" -- pun intended :)

Chris Hanson
(ChrisHanson) - F

Locale: Eastern Wyoming
Hypocrite on 04/17/2011 20:28:21 MDT Print View

Like most of her ilk, what she said and what she did were two different things.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-ford/ayn-rand-and-the-vip-dipe_b_792184.html

James Neal
(Laien) - F

Locale: Ozarks
Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.................. on 04/17/2011 20:37:42 MDT Print View

Sounds a lot like our politicians.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Hypocrite on 04/17/2011 22:25:05 MDT Print View

So are you saying that she was not entitled to the money the government took from her?

To quote her regarding social security:

"It is obvious, in such cases, that a man receives his own money which was taken from him by force, directly and specifically, without his consent, against his own choice. Those who advocated such laws are morally guilty, since they assumed the “right” to force employers and unwilling co-workers. But the victims, who opposed such laws, have a clear right to any refund of their own money—and they would not advance the cause of freedom if they left their money, unclaimed, for the benefit of the welfare-state administration."

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: It's only a movie on 04/18/2011 07:39:08 MDT Print View

Like Nick said, maybe you have to read her non-fiction.

For example, I think it's called We the Living - about escaping from Communist Soviet Union.

I worked with several people that escaped from the Soviet Union.

One guy said he made some idle criticism of the government, was overheard by party person, and was blacklisted - got poorer quality food, housing, other goods

It was so bad he requested to emmigrate, and then they really abused him.

After some number of years they finally let him come here.

He has a really anti-government philosophy, like Ayn Rand, and other Soviet emmigres I have talked too

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: It's only a movie on 04/18/2011 09:59:04 MDT Print View

"One guy said he made some idle criticism of the government, was overheard by party person, and was blacklisted - got poorer quality food, housing, other goods"

Ayn Rand actually testified during the McCarthy Congressional hearings, and was in part responsible for the blacklisting of many artists in the movie industry, which she had worked in as a screenwriter for CB DeMille and others. A definite black-mark in my estimation, as this was an infringement of individual rights.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: It's only a movie on 04/18/2011 10:07:19 MDT Print View

"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."

QED

Chris Hanson
(ChrisHanson) - F

Locale: Eastern Wyoming
Re:Re: Hypocrite on 04/18/2011 10:08:51 MDT Print View

I'm not surprised in the least she rationalized her actions, much like big business is always crying "free market" and "keep the government out of our business" but grows fat on government bailouts, trade restrictions, and subsidies.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: It's only a movie on 04/18/2011 11:03:55 MDT Print View

"The other, of course, involves orcs."

Rolling on the floor laughing here

cary bertoncini
(cbert) - F

Locale: N. California
I love that quote on 04/18/2011 12:26:25 MDT Print View

But one of the things I hate about the Internet and blogs is the seemingly well-accepted practice of passing on quotes without attribution, as if simply placing the text in quotes is sufficient credit given to the originator. After searching for an hour, I still haven't been able to uncover the quote's author. I can trace many references to it back to a blog a few years ago by Paul Krugman, but even Krugman, who seems to be a respected journalist, fails to provide attribution.

Finally found the source: Raj Patel.

Edited by cbert on 04/18/2011 12:36:16 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: It's only a movie on 04/18/2011 12:27:17 MDT Print View

"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."

--------------

Yes, let's take the musings of a comedian as intellectual literary criticism, who's contributions to literature are comic books :)

I would hope that no single book would alter the course of any individual's life.

Rand wrote that, "Art is a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist’s metaphysical value-judgments."

To understand the book, one needs to study all her works especially her writings on Objectivism. And to understand Objectivism, one needs to study western philosophy... a life long endeavor.

Atlas Shrugged is a metaphor tying together her views of politics, economics, morality, psychology, and metaphysics... she is presenting a philosophical system in a novel; something which had not been done previously. The characters are "bigger than life" by design, which is her selective re-creation. Her intent is to show the consequences of collectivism, and the role of man's mind in his existence. The only fantasy is that it is set sometime in the future, which in itself does not classify the work as fantasy.

Why has it had a resurgence in popularity (#6 in Amazon.com bestsellers book rank)? Probably because much of we are going through today, she portrayed in the novel. Many people attribute the melt-down to capitalism, whereas she predicted government interference would lead to a melt-down. In the novel she was very critical of political pull, favors, lobbyists, special franchises, etc.

Tolkein rearranges and suspends reality -- modern fantasy literature.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: I love that quote on 04/18/2011 12:31:08 MDT Print View

Cary,

It was made by John Rogers. His claim to fame are comic books, cartoons, and a few fantasy/science fiction screen plays. His reality is wandering around inside of Dungeons & Dragons, for which he has written several pieces.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re:Re: Hypocrite on 04/18/2011 12:58:10 MDT Print View

"I'm not surprised in the least she rationalized her actions"

She is not entitled to her money?

She did pay into the system. As a writer, she was self-employed, and probably paid the self-employment tax which is double the rate that most people pay.

I imagine she paid a lot into SSI, as she probably made the highest income level for many, many years. She just would have preferred to keep the money and invest it herself.

cary bertoncini
(cbert) - F

Locale: N. California
Thanks for the cite on 04/18/2011 13:19:09 MDT Print View

I really hate the tendency on the net to obscure correct attributions.

I don't think how someone makes a living is any indicator of the value of their opinion, though. And I think viewing Rand's romantic novel (her description) as containing an integrated philosophy might be a bit hyperbolic; I'd say it is more like an ideology. I'll admit that I found it shrill and idiotic in much of the text I read, and like Pynchon's ridiculous morass, Gravity's Rainbow, could never get all the way through it after several attempts. I do suspect that many who are currently championing her book or buying it even will never read it, either.

There has been literature, by the way, with integrated philosophies for ages. Plato's Republic could be viewed that way, or The Bhagavad Gita for very ancient texts. I'd also point to Xi You Ji (The Journey to the West) from the 1500s, or Shakespeare's Hamlet, Voltaire's Candide, Nietzsche's Thus Spake Zarathustra, Joyce's Ulysses, etc.. It's hardly a novel idea.

I kinda think, though, that everything I read alters my life in some way--certain texts just seem to do so more noticeably or profoundly than others. Vonnegut has had a huge effect on my life, for one example.

Edited by cbert on 04/18/2011 13:28:13 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Thanks for the cite on 04/18/2011 14:07:31 MDT Print View

Cary,

Just keep in mind that A.S. is a novel. It is fiction and the theme/plot is presented through style and characterization; it is not a structure philosophical treatise. No matter what one's view of the content is, most critics agree that technically, the work is very well constructed. Not to mention that English was her 2nd language.

Given that it is one of the longest novels ever written, it takes more than just a reading... study would be more appropriate; if one is inclined to do so. Also, Rand wrote volumes interpreting it after the fact.

When Rand says it is a "Romantic" novel, she is referring to the Romanticist (Romantic era) period/style of art.

Regarding the novel. It is a fairly recent literary form, typically its origins are placed in the 1700's. I do not consider Zarathustra a novel, although many do.

cary bertoncini
(cbert) - F

Locale: N. California
Novels on 04/18/2011 14:28:03 MDT Print View

Xi You Ji is a novel.. I'd consider Zarathustra and Candide (~1750s) to be novels, too. The first novel in English is considered by many to be Malory's Le Morte D'Arthur from the late 1400s.

Romanticism is of course to what both Rand and I were referring--the genre is known for it's aspects of fantasy and exaggeration, which are among key qualities differentiating it from Realism and the main trends of Modernism.

Atlas is among the longer novels written in English (many consider this one of it's failings--it belabors it's points), but there are numerous novels in French, Chinese and other languages that extend over several volumes. It could be argued, too, that especially contemporary fantasy texts, which frequently are printed as separate novels in a series (like Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series--I think 14 books averaging about 700 pages each), are actually novels similarly spread out over volumes.

I think the Bhagavad Gita is actually structured like a novel, too--I guess it is actually part of a larger collection (Mahabharata), but as a standalone, it works as a novel and dates from about five thousand years ago. I know, technically it's epic verse, but like most epic verse, serves the same role as a novel.

Edited by cbert on 04/18/2011 14:51:15 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Novels on 04/18/2011 15:08:06 MDT Print View

Romanticism is the conceptual school of art. It deals, not with the random trivia of the day, but with the timeless, fundamental, universal problems and values of human existence. It does not record or photograph; it creates and projects. It is concerned—in the words of Aristotle—not with things as they are, but with things as they might be and ought to be.

- Ayn Rand, Introduction to The Fountainhead



Several different forms of literature can be classified as fantasy. To begin with, there are stories laid in the future, as, for instance, Atlas Shrugged and Anthem, Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-four, and a whole string of older books. Strictly speaking, this type of fiction is not fantasy, but merely the projection of something in time. Its justification is to show the ultimate consequences of some existing trend, or some other application to actual reality. The only rule about it is that it should not be purposeless (which is so general a rule that it applies to all literature).

- Ayn Rand, The Art of Fiction

cary bertoncini
(cbert) - F

Locale: N. California
A good example of why the author should avoid entering into the discussion of his/her own works on 04/18/2011 15:25:58 MDT Print View

The author cannot change how the world receives the work and generally winds up looking foolish.

Ayn is conflating genres and definitions to try to defend her vision of her work and its place in literature. It is what it is. 1984 is different from Atlas in that it conforms more to the conventions of Realism and Modernism--it attempts to present realistic characters and how they would behave in a realistically imagined future world. By her own design, Ayn's characters are romanticized, unrealistic characters acting more as tropes (though she argues that they are not symbols, most scholars of literature view them as such). Her book is more akin to fantasy than Orwell's because of key differences and qualities such as these.

Edited by cbert on 04/18/2011 15:27:26 MDT.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Only a Movie on 04/18/2011 15:30:31 MDT Print View

Can't wait for "D1anetics 3D" In the meantime, a Rand flowchart.

Successs, the Rand way(tm)