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Atlas Shrugged: Part I
February 11, 2011 7:11 PM   Subscribe

After 40 years in development hell, the film adaptation of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged opens in theaters on April 15. Official site with trailer. (previously).
posted by Joe Beese (331 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
MAYBE YOU SHOULD LET ME FINISH SPEAKING!!!!!
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 7:13 PM on February 11, 2011 [17 favorites]


Awaiting the Rifftrax release with great anticipation.
posted by hellojed at 7:15 PM on February 11, 2011 [27 favorites]


Seen on Twitter today: Part 3 is John Galt's speech.
posted by lukemeister at 7:15 PM on February 11, 2011 [36 favorites]


Well, Atlas Shrugged Part 1, anyway....

I guess it's the first 1/3 to 1/2 of the book? That's what I remember reading.

We'll see if Part 2 ever gets made. My guess is, direct-to-video for that release.
posted by hippybear at 7:16 PM on February 11, 2011


Shoot me now.
posted by nj_subgenius at 7:18 PM on February 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


Im such a special producer, society can't afford for me to spend my time seeing this movie.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:18 PM on February 11, 2011 [9 favorites]


Armin Shimmerman is in it?? SO perfect!
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 7:19 PM on February 11, 2011 [11 favorites]


The director is also playing the part of John Galt, which means there might be a lack of objectivity here.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:20 PM on February 11, 2011 [58 favorites]


Oh, how the Tea Partiers will shit when they learn what Objectivism really is. That is, if this movie actually goes that far.
posted by Ardiril at 7:21 PM on February 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


They make shit movies from good books all the time.

What kind of movie do you get when you start with a shit book?
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:22 PM on February 11, 2011 [16 favorites]


Looks kinda low rent...
posted by Omon Ra at 7:22 PM on February 11, 2011


Looks kinda shitty too...
posted by Burhanistan at 7:23 PM on February 11, 2011


MAYBE YOU SHOULD LET ME FINISH JOWLS HRBLBRBLBRBLBRBLBRBL
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:24 PM on February 11, 2011 [31 favorites]


I am SO not paying to see this movie.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 7:25 PM on February 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


What kind of movie do you get when you start with a shit book?

Sometimes, The Godfather.

Probably not this time.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:25 PM on February 11, 2011 [40 favorites]


It's like a Left Behind version of Silver Streak?

Fuck it. I'm in.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 7:27 PM on February 11, 2011 [14 favorites]


Wait, that first link says it took them six months to edit this sucker. Was that part-time in the library at the Ayn Rand foundation or something? The trailer didn't seem to indicate spectacular polish or anything.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:28 PM on February 11, 2011


Are they having the first showing at the Pompous Blowhards of America conference?
posted by dunkadunc at 7:29 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


This looks like an HBO movie.
posted by Hicksu at 7:29 PM on February 11, 2011


Is the April 15th opening really supposed to be a nod to the day tax returns are due? This year returns are due on April 18th because Emancipation Day falls on the 15th. So the symbolism kind of falls down a bit.
posted by jedicus at 7:30 PM on February 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


In the late 80s I had to pick up some concert tickets I won from a classic rock station in far west Omaha. It was on John Galt Blvd. I had assumed he was some local businessman done good or whatever.

Sigh.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 7:30 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


It won't be as funny as Battlefield Earth, will it?
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:30 PM on February 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


Are they having the first showing at the Pompous Blowhards of America conference?

Yes.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:30 PM on February 11, 2011 [25 favorites]


Also,

Why ask useless questions?... How deep is the ocean?.. How high is the sky?.. Something about magnets?...
posted by Hicksu at 7:32 PM on February 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


Here at the Marriott Wardman Park, site of CPAC, the largest annual gathering of conservatives in the nation, there are many intriguing sessions. Should you pop in on "Engaging America Through Conservative Pop Culture" led by Stephen Baldwin (a.k.a. the chunky one)?
Joe, that link hurt me. It hurt me deep, Joe.
posted by notion at 7:33 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh my god I am going to get so wasted and then watch this in a theater, laughing my ass off the whole time.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 7:34 PM on February 11, 2011 [7 favorites]


I guess I'm one of the freaks that actually enjoyed reading Atlas Shrugged and came away with all of my liberal philosophies unscathed (what can I say, I've always had masochistic tendencies). If anything, it reinforced them for me. I've always seen it as a long and complicated (and not so complicated) scifi novel.

I've actually been looking forward to the movie for a long time.....until I saw the trailer. It looks almost cutesy. Half of the "charm" for me was the period setting; making it a modern tale completely rips out the foundations for me.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 7:34 PM on February 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


Joe Beese: "Yes."

Those people really ARE lunatics. Raving, crazy, bug-eyed lunatics with expensive suits on.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:35 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Needs more underwater scenes...no, check that. Needs more Esther Williams synchronized swimming scenes.

Also, is that Armin Shimerman? That is actually some really appropriate casting.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:40 PM on February 11, 2011


That tile floor at 1:40 is just up the block, across from the City Hall in NY. For a while it was full of long lines, of very disgruntled people paying parking tickets. The last time I looked in there, it was stacked with giant piles of old cardboard boxes storing paperwork. Forty years ago it was probably some kind of seat of power.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:40 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Armin Shimmerman is in it?? SO perfect!

I'd pay good money to see a Ferengi Galt. "The First Rule of Acquisition: A is A"...
posted by problemspace at 7:41 PM on February 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


JC Worth shrugged
posted by jcworth at 7:42 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow. Just reading that first link - the original was imagined as a big-budget film with Angelina Jolie, after that failed they attempted to make TV mini-series, and when even that didn't work out, they rushed out this low-budget indie version before they lost the film rights in June.

Sounds promising...
posted by mannequito at 7:43 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I predict this film will be huge and I wish I'd thought of it. I mean libertarians probably buy 3-4 copies of the book in their lifetimes, but they will go see this every weekend. I pity the girl or boy taken to this by a libertarian for a date.
posted by humanfont at 7:43 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I read Atlas Shrugged when I was fourteen, skipped most of John Galt's speech, but finished it because of the miniature train in the hidden valley.

I want to ride my own miniature train.

Alas, it doesn't seem that the train will have made it into this movie...
posted by annathea at 7:43 PM on February 11, 2011


There are two things you can never get back in life

1. Your virginity
2. The time you spent reading Atlas Shrugged.
posted by timsteil at 7:44 PM on February 11, 2011 [52 favorites]


Needs more underwater scenes...

Needs more underwear scenes, morealikes.

Think of that. Ayn Rand sex. Hot, sweaty, kinky, objectivist Randian fucking. Really. You'd have theatres packed for weeks.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:44 PM on February 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


> It won't be as funny as Battlefield Earth, will it?

Few things are.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:46 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, then. Duke Nuken, Atlas Shrugged. Any takers on the third impossible thing?
posted by Old'n'Busted at 7:47 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Passion of Dick Cheney?
posted by dunkadunc at 7:48 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Old'n'Busted: "Well, then. Duke Nuken, Atlas Shrugged. Any takers on the third impossible thing?"

Breakfast at Milliways? Or alternate a HHG movie that doesn't suck?
posted by MrLint at 7:52 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


MAYBE YOU SHOULD LET ME FINISH SPEAKING!!!!!
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 7:13 PM on February 11 [1 favorite +] [!]


Was that Brian Wilson? Seriously. Cause that would such a layer of awesomness!
posted by helmutdog at 7:52 PM on February 11, 2011


Ayn Rand sex.

Part I of the book does cover the beginning of Dagny's affair with Rearden:
He stood by the bed, dressed, looking down at her. His voice had pronounced it evenly, with great clarity and no inflection. She looked up at him obediently. He said: "What I feel for you is contempt. But it's nothing, compared to the contempt I feel for myself. I don't love you. I've never loved anyone.

I wanted you from the first moment I saw you. I wanted you as one wants a whore—for the same reason and purpose. I spent two years damning myself, because I thought you were above a desire of this kind.

You're not. You're as vile an animal as I am. I should loathe my discovering it. I don't. Yesterday, I would have killed anyone who'd tell me that you were capable of doing what I've had you do. Today, I would give my life not to let it be otherwise, not to have you be anything but the bitch you are. All the greatness that I saw in you—I would not take it in exchange for the obscenity of your talent at an animal's sensation of pleasure. We were two great beings, you and I, proud of our strength, weren't we? Well, this is all that's left of us—and I want no self-deception about it. ...

I want no pretense about love, value, loyalty or respect. I want no shred of honor left to us, to hide behind. I've never begged for mercy. I've chosen to do this—and I'll take all the consequences, including the full recognition of my choice. It's depravity—and I accept it as such—and there is no height of virtue that I wouldn't give up for it. Now if you wish to slap my face, go ahead. I wish you would."
posted by Joe Beese at 7:52 PM on February 11, 2011 [10 favorites]


Well, then. Duke Nuken, Atlas Shrugged. Any takers on the third impossible thing?

Already happened. Chinese Democracy.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:55 PM on February 11, 2011 [12 favorites]


I'm not expecting good things from this movie. I wonder who bankrolled it? The Koch brothers?
posted by MrLint at 7:57 PM on February 11, 2011


TRAINS!
DAMES!
SHOUTING!
posted by fuq at 7:58 PM on February 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


dunkadunc: Think of that. Ayn Rand sex. Hot, sweaty, kinky, objectivist Randian fucking. Really. You'd have theatres packed for weeks.

Yeah, they gave it a shot.
posted by el_lupino at 7:59 PM on February 11, 2011


Never read this atrocity, but Joe, that made me want to barf. Sadly, however, it reminds me of some of Henry Rollins' earlier writings.
posted by Existential Dread at 8:02 PM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh, the irony of a Rand movie made with honest-to-goodness dues-paying actors, writers, grips, directors, costumers ...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:02 PM on February 11, 2011 [9 favorites]


Unionized actors, writers...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:03 PM on February 11, 2011 [18 favorites]


Benny Andajetz: " What kind of movie do you get when you start with a shit book?"

Comic book adaptations like Daredevil, Howard the Duck and Catwoman.
posted by zarq at 8:05 PM on February 11, 2011


The appeal of Rand is twofold. First her novels are basic mythological tropes; her John Galt / Hank Reardon are the same archetype (and elicit the same appeal) as e.g. Superman, Batman. Namely, inhumanly strong/powerful characters who have no dependencies on anybody else. Whereas Superman's superhuman powers are physical (e.g., can fly etc), Galt's superhuman powers are economic (e.g. can singlehandedly revolutionize engine technology). In any case this character archetype is obviously deeply appealing to consuming audiences.

The Randian twist is to meld her tedious yet passionate illustration of her superhuman characters with an evil villain that is sociological in nature rather than just another imaginary character as in most mythology of this type. The evil in her books is "not being an ignorant libertarian blowhard". Because she thusly introduced her Evil Villain in the form of a social critique, her books seem "relevant to the real world" rather than just light entertainment like a Superman comicbook. The naive reader of the book comes away thinking he has gained something interesting to say about the world rather than just having enjoyed a good superhero struggle.

Thus Rand managed to combine the fun of a Superman comic book with the sense of legitimacy of having read a real philosophical/political/economic treatise. Hats off to that.
posted by norabarnacl3 at 8:05 PM on February 11, 2011 [31 favorites]


@Cool Papa Bell: Nathaniel Brandon from The Objectivist Newsletter, "Needless to say, men have a right to organize into unions, provided they do so voluntarily, that is, provided no one is forced to join. Unions can have value as fraternal organizations, or as a means of keeping members informed of current market conditions, or as a means of bargaining more effectively with employers -- particularly in small, isolated communities. It may happen that an individual employer is paying wages that, in the overall market context, are too low; in such a case, a strike or the threat of a strike, can compel him to change his policy, since he will discover that he cannot obtain an adequate labor force at the wages he offers."
posted by Ardiril at 8:10 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Galts speech?

"Chairman Thomas: We will have more order, please.

Rand: Am I speaking too fast?

Chairman Thomas: Go ahead.

Rand: Then --

Stripling: Miss Rand, may I bring up one point there?

Rand: Surely.

Stripling: I saw the picture. At this peasant's village or home, was there a priest or several priests in evidence?

Rand: Oh, yes; I am coming to that, too. The priest was from the beginning in the village scenes, having a position as sort of a constant companion and friend of the peasants, as if religion was a natural accepted part of that life. Well, now, as a matter of fact, the situation about religion in Russia in my time was, and I understand it still is, that for a Communist Party...."
posted by clavdivs at 8:14 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


They should release an adaptation of Ishmael the same day and after each screening the two audiences can have an insufferable-irrelevant-prick-off.
posted by nathancaswell at 8:15 PM on February 11, 2011 [10 favorites]


Well, then. Duke Nuken, Atlas Shrugged. Any takers on the third impossible thing?

Already happened. Chinese Democracy.


I'm gonna say 3rd My Bloody Valentine album.
posted by LionIndex at 8:19 PM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Maybe you should let me finnish speaking!

Nyt sä kuolet!
posted by zippy at 8:24 PM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion--when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing--when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors--when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you--when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice--you may know that your society is doomed.

Piffle. Nothing relevant to our times, yeah?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:25 PM on February 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


May the free market never see fit to grace any of these people with jobs ever again.
Make an Ayn Rand movie, live out the rest of your life on the dole. It's called poetic something or other.
posted by uosuaq at 8:25 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Needs more underwater scenes

Don't worry, those are going into the sequel.
posted by mhoye at 8:29 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I love this quote from Paul Krugman:

"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."
posted by CynicalKnight at 8:30 PM on February 11, 2011 [148 favorites]


Ayn Rand’s Hollywood Years (WSJ, with video)
posted by CNNInternational at 8:33 PM on February 11, 2011


Yes.

posted by Joe Beese at 10:30 PM on February 11

The irony, of course, is that Rand loathed "Conservatives" as much as she loathed "Liberals."
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:34 PM on February 11, 2011


I like that one Flock of Seagulls song about Ayn Rand, Ayn Rand so far away.
posted by CNNInternational at 8:39 PM on February 11, 2011 [22 favorites]


FOX NEWS finally has some new ad revenue coming their way.
posted by secondhand pho at 8:42 PM on February 11, 2011


The irony, of course, is that Rand loathed "Conservatives" as much as she loathed "Liberals."

She didn't think much of religion either but most of the Randians I've known were super religious.
posted by octothorpe at 8:44 PM on February 11, 2011


I clicked on the link, watched the trailer, and saw something that looked like part of the prime time lineup on the CW.

Hey, was that the Utz Potato Chip guy from "Mad Men"?
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:44 PM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Worth looking at simply for the art direction: King Vidor's faithful (hence, bizarre) adaptation of The Fountainhead.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:44 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


These trailers make me laugh so hard. They look like Dallas. Not Dallas as it would look today, but the actual Dallas of decades ago, crappy production values and all.

It's nice to see Quark getting work, though.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:44 PM on February 11, 2011


Those people really ARE lunatics. Raving, crazy, bug-eyed lunatics with expensive suits on.
- posted by dunkadunc at 10:35 PM on February 11

Brad DeLong said something apropos today. He describes some wingnut attempt to understand relativity, and notes:
From that moment on, my working hypothesis was that the conservative wing of the Republican Party is composed exclusively of people who have completely disabled their bullshit detectors. That working hypothesis has served me very well for seventeen years now.
The hypothesis does explain a lot.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 8:46 PM on February 11, 2011 [11 favorites]


King Vidor and King Vitamin are not related philosophically.
posted by clavdivs at 8:46 PM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


They make shit movies from good books all the time.

What kind of movie do you get when you start with a shit book?
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:22 PM on 2/11
[2 favorites +] [!]
Jaws?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:49 PM on February 11, 2011


May the free market never see fit to grace any of these people with jobs ever again.

I'd rather they decide to teach us leeches a lesson, withhold the bounty of their prodigous talents, and go into seclusion awaiting the collapse of civilization. /briar patch
posted by condour75 at 8:49 PM on February 11, 2011 [11 favorites]


She wanted him but he picked the jackhammer. I love the sexual tension.
posted by clavdivs at 8:49 PM on February 11, 2011


Yeah, they gave it a shot.

Wow, Helen Mirren as Ayn Rand as the older woman? Now that's kinky.

I'll be in my, uh, miniature train sleeper car.
posted by loquacious at 8:50 PM on February 11, 2011 [9 favorites]


I clicked on the link, watched the trailer, and saw something that looked like part of the prime time lineup on the CW.

Dude, that's pretty insulting to the CW.
posted by kmz at 8:52 PM on February 11, 2011


From the book's website:
“Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand is a stupendous achievement and I just adore it.”
—Rob Lowe, Actor
Source: Interview for Elle Magazine, September 2004


This is super hilarious if you picture this quote coming from Rob Lowe's character on Parks and Rec.
posted by Dr. Zira at 8:53 PM on February 11, 2011 [16 favorites]


For some reason the trailer made me think of "Atomic Train" the bestest nuclear train tv movie ever.
posted by Omon Ra at 8:54 PM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


When I was in high school in Denver in the '80s, there was a coffeehouse called John Galt's. Not having read Atlas Shrugged, I didn't get the reference till years later, so I am proud to say that my friends and I went exactly once and rejected it wholly on the basis of their dreadful coffee alone. Delusions of grandeur notwithstanding, whoever ran the place was incapable of holding up the weight of the neighborhood with that overpriced sludge, much less the world.
posted by scody at 8:56 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


The director is also playing the part of John Galt, which means there might be a lack of objectivity here.

I see what you did there.
posted by scalefree at 8:57 PM on February 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


Jaws?

True fact: In the book, the shark dies of hypoxia after a 20 page monologue on the danger of remoras.
posted by condour75 at 9:00 PM on February 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Isn't this the one where the rich guys blow up a train full of people? And they're all so smug about how everyone else is a parasite, they're sure nothing of value was lost?

I hope the Tea Party's strong stance against terrorism of any form gets them to lead a boycott on this film.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:01 PM on February 11, 2011


Also, as this movie is required to show up as a derail in this thread, I guess I must page... THE INCREDIBLES.

REPEAT, WILL THE INCREDIBLES REPORT TO THE WHITE COURTESY PHONE?
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:04 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm not an objectivist, but Rand is a highly compelling rhetorician. Her blazing passion comes through in her writing. I predict this movie will be a hit.
posted by shivohum at 9:08 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


True fact: I just had to look up remoras on wikipedia. It turns out, they travel through the world by attaching themselves to great white sharks just like un-rich people who ride on trains.
posted by Dr. Zira at 9:08 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Fountainhead is a hilarious movie. The lack of sexual tension between the two wooden-faced stars (I remember it as being Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal, and I am too lazy to Google if I'm right) made me laugh so hard I wet my pants. It was like watching the Easter Island heads make out unconvincingly.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:09 PM on February 11, 2011 [9 favorites]


I'm really curious who put the money up for this... There really isn't anyone involved in this movie that would give investors any confidence. So of course this is being financed for the love of the material.
posted by cirhosis at 9:10 PM on February 11, 2011


I'm not an objectivist, but Rand is a highly compelling rhetorician. Her blazing passion comes through in her writing. I predict this movie will be a hit.

You are a troll & I claim my $5. Nobody that's not an objectivist could say those things.
posted by scalefree at 9:12 PM on February 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


I predict this movie will be a hit.

Yeah, nothing says "Hit!" like a shoddily produced movie with no stars that just features a bunch of white people in suits talking at each other about abstruse political viewpoints, intercut with poorly rendered special effects.

The only question is this: will this do better than, or worse than, Battlefield Earth?
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:12 PM on February 11, 2011


I confess I haven't read the book, and all I know about Ayn Rand...well, I confess what I had heard hadn't made me eager to read it. But, I suppose, like Starship Troopers, it's a book that makes an impression on an impressionable mind. So when John Galt reads the mind of the alien-hive-mind-bug and loudly proclaims, "It's afraid!!! It's aaaffrraaaaaaaid!" , I'll cheer along with everyone else.

norabarnacl3, that was insightful, damn.

I briefly dated a girl in college who claimed The Fountainhead was her favorite book ever. I had heard of it, but nothing about it. That relationship was short and confusing.
posted by Xoebe at 9:12 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I get the feeling the Koch Bros aren't involved. It lacks the production values of a movie a billionaire fostered.

Maybe George Soros decided to pay for this on a dare when he was drunk or some noise.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:13 PM on February 11, 2011


On iOS, the preview site tells me that I have to install it as my default home page. They even display different buttons in the instructions, depending on which browser you're using.

Very WTF.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:18 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm really curious who put the money up for this...

'Atlas Shrugged' Rights Holder Sets June Production Start Whether Or Not Stars Align
For almost two decades, Hollywood has tried unsuccessfully to turn Ayn Rand’s 1100 page classic Atlas Shrugged into a feature film with actresses ranging from Angelina Jolie to Charlize Theron to Faye Dunaway. John Aglialoro, the entrepreneur who 17 years ago paid $1 million to option the book rights, is tired of the futility and is taking matters into his own hands. He’s announced that he is financing a June 11 production start in Los Angeles for the first of what he said will be four films made from the book.
posted by scalefree at 9:19 PM on February 11, 2011


Wow, Helen Mirren as Ayn Rand as the older woman? Now that's kinky.

Man, I totally saw that movie and I don't even remember why. It's...about what you'd expect, really. The fiery conflicted passions of Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Brandon and their respective spouse types, weird awkward fucking, lots of people being brittle and clever and not seeming to actually like each other very much. I can't say as I'd recommend it, exactly, but if you like Ayn Rand jokes it's got some potent raw material, and Helen Mirren has basically never been bad in anything so why not.

Plus you can pretend that Eric Stoltz is actually some further iteration of Marty McFly after some time travel hijinks went really wrong. Doc Brown all being like, "Great Scott! You've got to seduce and then betray and be wholly rejected by Ayn Rand or your parents will never meet!" or whatever. And then Huey Lewis and the News would sing "It's A to be A".
posted by cortex at 9:20 PM on February 11, 2011 [18 favorites]


I believe what John A is doing is called "throwing good money after bad."
posted by five fresh fish at 9:21 PM on February 11, 2011


Yeah, nothing says "Hit!" like a shoddily produced movie with no stars that just features a bunch of white people in suits talking at each other about abstruse political viewpoints, intercut with poorly rendered special effects.

So, what you're saying is that this is the Libertarian movement's Dinoshark vs Sharktopus?
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 9:22 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Love and sex are strange things in Ayn Rand books. Particularly the Fountainhead. I don't want to describe it in depth out on the blue for people who haven't heard, but here's a TVtropes link describing it. Still, Ayn didn't use that idea in the worst possible way. That'd go to One Life to Live.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:22 PM on February 11, 2011


For some reason the trailer made me think of "Atomic Train " the bestest nuclear train tv movie ever.

Reminded me more of Snakes on a Train, another Asylum "classic".
posted by kmz at 9:23 PM on February 11, 2011


I'mma let you finish, but Supertrain is the best train-related TV show of All Time. ALL TIME!
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:25 PM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


What this movie needs is a little more Wilder and Pryor action!
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:27 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Why ask useless questions? How deep is the ocean? Magnets, how do they work?"
posted by jet_manifesto at 9:27 PM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


I am really disappointed that this is not an Uwe Boll film.
posted by elizardbits at 9:28 PM on February 11, 2011 [7 favorites]


Fuck if I aren't wishing this is a joint directed by Robert Altman and starring Robin Williams.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:29 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, while we're talking books to movies, JD Salinger's dead, and people have always sort of wanted his books to become movies, albeit 90% to see how much Hollywood would mangle them.

What's the prognosis on those?
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:31 PM on February 11, 2011


Me paying to see this would be pure collectivism, hence my eager anticipation of a Pirate Bay listing.
posted by telstar at 9:34 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I predict this movie will be a hit.

Don't be silly. This is a very low-budget film with no stars and no major studio backing. It won't get decent distribution. It might do well on the video market (as well as movies do on the video market these days, which isn't very well at all).
posted by Bookhouse at 9:35 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


@HelloJed, way up at the tippy top:

Mike Nelson's actually a conservative, although it doesn't show up in his humor that often. I'd like to see him take on a blatantly political movie and see whether he has smart, nuanced positions he's willing to joke about, or if he prefers to compartmentalize comedy from his political views.

There's nothing wrong with either stance. It'd just be interesting to see.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:37 PM on February 11, 2011


So, while we're talking books to movies, JD Salinger's dead, and people have always sort of wanted his books to become movies, albeit 90% to see how much Hollywood would mangle them.

What's the prognosis on those?


I think about zero. Apparently among the reasons he married his last wife was that she shared his commitment to Sparkle Motion stuff not being done with his work that he didn't want to be done with his work.

She is 51.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:37 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


When they get through all 3 or 4 parts, they better do the unauthorized comic sequel.
posted by SansPoint at 9:37 PM on February 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Why ask useless questions?... How deep is the ocean?.. How high is the sky?..
Where are the Snowdens of yesteryear?
posted by ctmf at 9:40 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think the video sales of this movie will be good. It's not going to get the distribution to reach out to the places most of the Tea Party lives, unless they tend to live in metropolitan areas with independent theaters.

But the Tea Party eats this stuff up. They'll order it by the case, show it to their group, and ask their members to give the extra copies to their friends so that they learn about "philosophy."

And as they think the movie is a worthwhile product and a good cause, and they're probably not as tech savvy, they won't torrent.

Of course, for the young and snarky, this thing will get tons of torrents.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:41 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Remember that claymation MTV show where celebrities boxed each other? I always wanted to see Ayn Rand versus Iris Murdoch. They would stand in opposite corners monologuing at one another and then John Bayley would throw a folding chair at Alan Greenspan and THEN IT'S ON, MOTHERFUCKERS.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:42 PM on February 11, 2011 [7 favorites]


This is a very low-budget film with no stars and no major studio backing. It won't get decent distribution.

That's a good point. But I wonder if the movie isn't hitting at the Zeitgeist's funny bone right now, and if that won't be enough.
posted by shivohum at 9:43 PM on February 11, 2011


But I wonder if the movie isn't hitting at the Zeitgeist's funny bone right now, and if that won't be enough.

Atlas Shrugged and Zeitgeist. That would be quite a double bill.
posted by hippybear at 9:48 PM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


intercut with poorly rendered special effects.

Didn't even notice that.... which means I need to stop watching so much BBC. I've apparently forgotten that special effects can look good.
posted by you're a kitty! at 9:49 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


But the Tea Party eats this stuff up. They'll order it by the case, show it to their group, and ask their members to give the extra copies to their friends so that they learn about "philosophy."

Didn't happen with Battlefield Earth, won't happen with this. It's too boring.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:50 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, youtube videos with open comments...

You get a few good zingers, along with the class of overly-optimistic conservatives who seem to think this is the movie that will put America back on the right track or some noise.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:51 PM on February 11, 2011


Don't be silly. This is a very low-budget film with no stars and no major studio backing. It won't get decent distribution.

I'll bet they're going to take a page from The Passion of the Christ and have organized viewings, with Tea Partiers instead of/in addition to church groups. Rent theaters, bus people in, that sort of thing. Seems like the sort of astroturfing tea party folks are good at.
posted by brundlefly at 9:53 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


That worked out quite well for Christian Role Model Mel Gibson.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:54 PM on February 11, 2011


Passion of the Christ wasn't boring, though. (Icky, sure.) Also, it had celebrity appeal due to Mel Gibson.

The thing is that various groups try to astroturf movies all the time. They never succeed, from Battlefield Earth to everything Kirk Cameron has been in.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:57 PM on February 11, 2011


What I wouldn't give for a Tea Partier in a Medicare-funded scooter to reenact a little train scene.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:58 PM on February 11, 2011 [7 favorites]


Passion of the Christ wasn't boring, though. (Icky, sure.)

Eh, I found it boring as hell. Then again, I wasn't the target audience.
posted by brundlefly at 10:00 PM on February 11, 2011


I love this. I LOVE IT. Thank you so much for posting it. All I want to do is go around shouting about my superior steel.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 10:02 PM on February 11, 2011


If you have superior steel for more than four hours, call your doctor.
posted by hippybear at 10:03 PM on February 11, 2011 [36 favorites]


Little did they realize that a Scottsman from a socialist society in the future would arrive and take the transparent aluminum industry right out of their grasp.
posted by mccarty.tim at 10:04 PM on February 11, 2011 [18 favorites]


Thanks Scalefree. So he's totally self financing... I wonder what it says that after 20 years he couldn't get anyone to put up money for this thing. Especially in the current climate. You think certain types would be salivating to put money into such a "beloved" story.
posted by cirhosis at 10:05 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


You are a troll & I claim my $5. Nobody that's not an objectivist could say those things.

Do I get a share of the loot? 'Cause if so I could ham it up a bit more.
posted by shivohum at 10:06 PM on February 11, 2011


One day I will direct a film adaptation of Atlas Shrugged that you guys are going to love. It'll be cynical, humorous gritty gold and silver period piece, set in an alternate 1970, as if the 60's never happened, with art deco pushed to the limit. The trains would be the story, the characters secondary to the machinery. John Galt's speech would take too long, so the speech would start out as a blazing attempt at expressing his values, and finish in a montage of Dagny, figiting and embarrassed that Galt simply cannot communicate with anyone. Maybe I'd even make the film through the eyes of a modern day teenager reading Atlas Shrugged, and show in parallel the both good and bad things that result from his reading of the book. I'm not saying fair and balanced, I'm saying... I'll be objective!

The cinematography in this trailer is garbage, they could make it look so much better. But I like some of the locations they used. It doesn't look tough enough... it is too shiny. The world is supposed to be falling apart - that's what makes the story so cinematic, the contrast between the decay and the attempts at growth... the order and chaos. The acting doesn't look great, but it's hard to tell for sure. Wesley Mouch is great. I like the use of the word 'damn'. Rearden's logo is terrible. The Rearden metal bridge looks OK.
I'd say the whole thing rests on Rearden being believable. If they pull that off, they have a movie. The only other concern is that I hope they tell the actual story, because if it is simplified and derailed into a new political viewpoint (modern republicanism, tea part-ism, modern objectivist interpretation), then they could loose legitimacy.

And I'd even say yes, this movie might put America back on track if it advocates true meritocracy over inherited wealth/investment banking insanity/political dynasties/obsession with publicity. But I might be hoping for too much.
posted by niccolo at 10:07 PM on February 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


Well, then. Duke Nuken, Atlas Shrugged. Any takers on the third impossible thing?

A decent Dune film?
posted by juiceCake at 10:11 PM on February 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


Maybe I'd even make the film through the eyes of a modern day teenager reading Atlas Shrugged, and show in parallel the both good and bad things that result from his reading of the book.

Sidestepping the idea of doing a film of Atlas Shrugged itself, I actually do like the idea of a coming-of-age story about a teenager who reads Atlas Shrugged and who then grows in both positive and negative ways as a result.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:12 PM on February 11, 2011


I blame the bad skin and Mahogany furniture.
posted by clavdivs at 10:15 PM on February 11, 2011


I'd say the whole thing rests on Rearden being believable. If they pull that off, they have a movie.

Grant Bowler did a fine job in "Ugly Betty" and "True Blood" but he's no Hank Rearden. Hunky as all get-out, but not so much for the gravitas.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:17 PM on February 11, 2011


I say we just instead make a really awesome trailer for the movie, with trains, political intrigue, philosophy, and Ayn Rand's Mary Sue being interesting.

And then for the actual film, we have a bunch of scenes of trains being filmed with the camera level to the wheels. We see the trains go into tunnels, and come out. We see the trains wind their ways past semaphores. They whistle and toot. And so on. This goes on for 90 minutes. A meandering rockabilly song with indistinct and unknowable lyrics plays on repeat.

Then, we see a cow on the rails with "GOVERNMENT" sprayed on its side. The train slows down, and the conductor, who looks an awful lot like Ayn Rand, carefully pushes it out of the way, wipes her hands on her overalls, and gets back on the train.

The credits roll, followed by a disclaimer saying the cow would have and should have been killed in real life, but socialists at PETA diluted the revolutionary message of the film.
posted by mccarty.tim at 10:19 PM on February 11, 2011 [8 favorites]


Wallace Shawn in all roles is the only way to do Atlas Shrugged.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:19 PM on February 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


Is it OK to say that I liked Rush better when they were still in their Ayn Rand phase? I mean, their newer stuff is just weaksauce. I never paid attention to the lyrics too much anyway, so it didn't matter to me, except that when I finally got around to reading Anthem I was left wondering what the fuck Rush saw in this person.

And what about the voice of Geddy Lee--how did it get so high? I wonder if he speaks like an ordinary guy.
posted by not_on_display at 10:20 PM on February 11, 2011


We'll see if Part 2 ever gets made.

ATLAS SHRUGGED 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:21 PM on February 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


> And what about the voice of Geddy Lee--how did it get so high?

He was in the same tragic accident as Roger Hodgson.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:22 PM on February 11, 2011


You do realize that Rush abandoned all that Randian stuff decades ago, right?
posted by hippybear at 10:23 PM on February 11, 2011


Oh, youtube videos with open comments...

You get a few good zingers, along with the class of overly-optimistic conservatives who seem to think this is the movie that will put America back on the right track or some noise
racists.
posted by nathancaswell at 10:24 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


HAY I WAS IN HIGHSCHOOL TOO ONCE AND LOVED THIS SHIT OH WAIT IT IS REALLY A MOOVIE OH FUCK.

Oh, fuck.
posted by joe lisboa at 10:26 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Passion of the Christ wasn't boring, though. (Icky, sure.)

Eh, I found it boring as hell. Then again, I wasn't the target audience.


Everyone is the target audience of THE GOOD NEWS. Unless, ya know, you are one of dem Hebrew-Mooslems. Insert your own self-s(w)erving interpretations of Apocalyptic Death Cult licensing ---> (here).
posted by joe lisboa at 10:30 PM on February 11, 2011


It turns out John Galt is a pseudonym for: Hey, get off the internets already. I defer to Dagny Tag-Whatsherface. Goodnight, all.
posted by joe lisboa at 10:32 PM on February 11, 2011


White people love their rockstar CEOs.

"Are you giving me the high hat?!?"
posted by artof.mulata at 10:34 PM on February 11, 2011


Well, then. Duke Nuken, Atlas Shrugged. Any takers on the third impossible thing?

The Dr Horrible sequel.
posted by jaynewould at 10:37 PM on February 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


A decent Dune film?

Shhh. Shhh. Lie back and think of Sting in corrugated plastic shortpants gyrating to the soothing drama of Toto and thank the Maker. Call a big one, Maud'dib.
posted by loquacious at 10:43 PM on February 11, 2011 [6 favorites]


She didn't think much of religion either but most of the Randians I've known were super religious.

In my experience (which is up close, personal, and connected to this movie), the person who devotes his life to big-O Objectivism typically has two gods: himself, and Ayn Rand. That's the sort of person funding and making this movie. I don't have much experience with your typical run-of-the-mill Rand fanboy, but if you put your personal time and treasure behind the promotion of Rand's ideals, you are almost certainly not a believer in a conventional god, at least in my experience. I am interested to see how they will reconcile this with the fact that they need the Tea Party, which seems to have a vocal religious segment, to come see this movie in enormous numbers in order to make it pay. Ultimately, Atlas Shrugged as a text is quite incompatible with Christianity, at least the Christianity actually set forth in the Bible.

For the same up close, personal reasons, you could not pay me money to watch this movie. I couldn't even bring myself to watch the trailer, and I hope it flops. Ugh.
posted by little light-giver at 10:45 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


He stood by the bed, dressed, looking down at her. His voice had pronounced it evenly, with great clarity and no inflection. She looked up at him obediently. He said: "What I feel for you is contempt. But it's nothing, compared to the contempt I feel for myself. I don't love you. I've never loved anyone.

I wanted you from the first moment I saw you. I wanted you as one wants a whore—for the same reason and purpose. I spent two years damning myself, because I thought you were above a desire of this kind.

You're not. You're as vile an animal as I am. I should loathe my discovering it. I don't. Yesterday, I would have killed anyone who'd tell me that you were capable of doing what I've had you do. Today, I would give my life not to let it be otherwise, not to have you be anything but the bitch you are. All the greatness that I saw in you—I would not take it in exchange for the obscenity of your talent at an animal's sensation of pleasure. We were two great beings, you and I, proud of our strength, weren't we? Well, this is all that's left of us—and I want no self-deception about it. ...

I want no pretense about love, value, loyalty or respect. I want no shred of honor left to us, to hide behind. I've never begged for mercy. I've chosen to do this—and I'll take all the consequences, including the full recognition of my choice. It's depravity—and I accept it as such—and there is no height of virtue that I wouldn't give up for it. Now if you wish to slap my face, go ahead. I wish you would."

Her reply was soft but insistant, "zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....".

posted by doctor_negative at 10:57 PM on February 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Maybe I'd even make the film through the eyes of a modern day teenager reading Atlas Shrugged, and show in parallel the both good and bad things that result from his reading of the book.


Not quite the same thing, but I'd love a movie of It Usually Begins With Ayn Rand. Tuccile's history of the fringe of libertarianism and objectivism in the 50s and 60s would make a terrific film.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 10:57 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am Uppity Pigeon #2, and I am here to ask you a question. Is a man not entitled to his own shitty movie?

"No," says the man making Battlefield Earth, "it belongs to Xenu."
"No," says the man making The Rapture, "it belongs to God."
"No," says the man making Boondock Saints, "it belongs to emotionally stunted teenagers with severe anger issues."

I rejected those answers. Instead, I chose something different. I chose the impossible. I chose...

Atlas Shrugged.

A movie where the director would not fear the critic,
where the pundit would not be bound by petty logic,
where the selfish would not be constrained by the reasonable.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 11:02 PM on February 11, 2011 [12 favorites]


Where are the Snowdens of yesteryear?

That is not a useless question; it's actually one of the best.
posted by daniel_charms at 11:02 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am really disappointed that this is not an Uwe Boll film.
posted by elizardbits at 9:28 PM on 2/11
[+] [!]

Shhhhhh don't give him the idea for Bioshock

I saw a short film version of Anthem at a local sci-fi film festival. I heckled it, which was rude

I haven't read Atlas Shrugged and I don't like Objectivism but if this movie has Art Deco and heroic industrialists I might see it. About time we had a pro-technology movie
And you can buy films of just trains. They sell them to trainspotters
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:12 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Oh fer fucks sake" is an actual political position, by the way.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 11:39 PM on February 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


This explains the new Lamar Outdoor Advertising sign I saw to the left of I-95, heading south, just north of Jacksonville, FL, today, which simply said, in 4 foot high white letters on a dappled, dull green background: WHO IS JOHN GALT (No punctuation of any kind)

So, "somebody" is apparently spending some money on "viral" marketing for this thing... And, (oh noes!!!!) it's apparently opening in my town, too.
posted by paulsc at 11:40 PM on February 11, 2011


1) I haven't read the book.

2) That film looks soul-crushingly dull.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 11:43 PM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, "somebody" is apparently spending some money on "viral" marketing for this thing... And, (oh noes!!!!) it's apparently opening in my town, too.

No that's just one of those things that rabid objectivists do from time to time. The timing of the movie's just a coincidence. scary, right?
posted by scalefree at 11:57 PM on February 11, 2011


In my experience (which is up close, personal, and connected to this movie), the person who devotes his life to big-O Objectivism typically has two gods: himself, and Ayn Rand.

Same thing with Scientologists. Go figure.
posted by scalefree at 12:00 AM on February 12, 2011


That's one more god than true Satanists have
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 12:04 AM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


You guys! You're overlooking the best part of this story, which is that the director of the movie/actor playing John Galt is Paul Johansson, recently notorious for being that guy on One Tree Hill who was about to get a heart transplant but then the heart was eaten by a dog.
posted by brookedel at 12:07 AM on February 12, 2011 [11 favorites]


Other than the unreadable monologuey bit at the end, is Anthem really so bad? I really enjoyed it when I read it in high school. Then again, I enjoyed everything I read that year. Macbeth, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Candide, Ender's Game...

I've not read any other Rand, partially because of the bile flung at her writing from every direction.
posted by Night_owl at 12:07 AM on February 12, 2011


the heart was eaten by a dog.

W
T
F

I watched a few eps of OTH season 1 and it was a bad show back then but, man, what???
posted by kmz at 12:21 AM on February 12, 2011


(It's still better than this movie will be though.)
posted by kmz at 12:23 AM on February 12, 2011


Thus Rand managed to combine the fun of a Superman comic book with the sense of legitimacy of having read a real philosophical/political/economic treatise. Hats off to that.
Ummmm... are you sure you don't mean the fun of a philosophical/political/economic treatise with the legitimacy of a Superman comic book?
posted by Flunkie at 12:25 AM on February 12, 2011 [21 favorites]


With all those trains in the trailer, if you turn the sound off, it looks like a nice film about public transport and high speed rail.
posted by rhymer at 12:43 AM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not too familiar. Is One Tree Hill supposed to be funny? If not, thats one of the funniest unintentionally funny things I've seen since that ER episode where a helicopter fell on Emil from RoboCop
posted by brundlefly at 12:43 AM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Part II is going to be the three hour Galt speech. zzzzzzzzzzzzz
posted by AndrewKemendo at 12:59 AM on February 12, 2011


So will the movie be funded by Ayn's social security and Medicare payments?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:47 AM on February 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Fountainhead is a hilarious movie. The lack of sexual tension between the two wooden-faced stars (I remember it as being Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal, and I am too lazy to Google if I'm right) made me laugh so hard I wet my pants. It was like watching the Easter Island heads make out unconvincingly.

Gary Cooper vs Patricia Neal: "I love you without dignity, without regret"
posted by philip-random at 1:50 AM on February 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


one of the centerpieces of the novel is a tragic train wreck, brought on by he moral collapse of collectivism. Fortunatley, the victims of the wreck were all deserving of thier fates. Here are some of those morally decadents Rand enjoyed killing off:
"It is said that catastrophes are a matter of pure chance, and there were those who would have said that the passengers of the Comet were not guilty or responsible for the thing that happened to them.

"The man in Seat 5, Car No, 7, was a worker who believed that he had "a right" to a job, whether his employer wanted him or not.

"The man in Bedroom H, Car No. 5, was a businessman who had acquired his business, an ore mine, with the help of a government loan, under the Equalization of Opportunity Bill.

"The woman in Roomette 6, Car No. 8, was a lecturer who believed that, as a consumer, she had "a right" to transportation, whether the railroad people wished to provide it or not.

"The woman in Bedroom D, Car No. 10, was a mother who had put her two children to sleep in the berth above her, carefully tucking them in, protecting them from drafts and jolts; a mother whose husband held a government job enforcing directives, which she defended by saying, "I don't care, it's only the rich that they hurt. After all, I must think of my children.

"The woman in Roomette 9, Car No. 12, was a housewife who believed that she had the right to elect politicians, of whom she knew nothing, to control giant industries, of which she had no knowledge.

"These passengers were awake; there was not a man aboard the train who did not share one or more of their ideas. As the train went into the tunnel, the flame of Wyatt's Torch was the last thing they saw on earth."
Let's hope one of these films devotes the same proportion of screen time as the book to a faithful reproduction of this climactic scene. We wouldn't want Rand's philosophy to be misrepresented after all.
posted by clarknova at 2:40 AM on February 12, 2011 [34 favorites]


Thus Rand managed to combine the fun of a Superman comic book with the sense of legitimacy of having read a real philosophical/political/economic treatise. Hats off to that.
Ummmm... are you sure you don't mean the fun of a philosophical/political/economic treatise with the legitimacy of a Superman comic book?
posted by Flunkie at 12:25 AM on 2/12
[3 favorites +] [!]

Because nothing is more objectivist than a superior being who uses his talents to serve the people and their governments
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 2:43 AM on February 12, 2011


What kind of movie do you get when you start with a shit book?
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:22 AM on February 12


Sometimes it works out surprisingly well, "Up In The Air" being a recent example of that.
posted by Decani at 2:47 AM on February 12, 2011


I discovered Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged via Metafilter. Can I get my $5 back?
posted by jonesor at 2:53 AM on February 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


"The woman in Bedroom D, Car No. 10, was a mother who had put her two children to sleep in the berth above her, carefully tucking them in, protecting them from drafts and jolts; a mother whose husband held a government job enforcing directives, which she defended by saying, "I don't care, it's only the rich that they hurt. After all, I must think of my children.

Wow, that's just terrible writing. What the hell person would ever say, "I don't care, it's only the rich that they hurt"? In what sort of conversation would a person ever be called on to defend that in the first place?
posted by creasy boy at 3:13 AM on February 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


As an actual fan of the novel, I'm looking forward to this, but I'm worried that people won't realize that the wooden acting (as evidenced in the trailer) isn't lack of talent but instead is just being true to the characters... basically, I'm skeptical as to how well the story will translate to film.

Those of you hating on Atlas Shrugged without ever having read it should give it a try, it's actually a riveting story. Just skip ahead whenever a character monologues for more than a page and you'll be fine (and cut about ~20% of your reading time).
posted by Jacqueline at 3:58 AM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Logically, the only way to serve my own rational self interest is to see this movie in the most cost-effective way I can, to wit to see it for free via BitTorrent.

Actually it looks like a horrid movie based on a horrid book by that horrid woman, so I probably won't watch it. But damned if I won't seed it till the cows come home.
posted by paisley henosis at 4:04 AM on February 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


Oh, how the Tea Partiers will shit when they learn what Objectivism really is. That is, if this movie actually goes that far.

Objectivism, psssht. Does the average Tea Partier even know who Ayn Rand is? Or how to pronounce her name correctly?
posted by fuse theorem at 4:26 AM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Those of you pondering whether Tea Partiers understand Objectivism or know whom Ayn Rand is are giving them way too much credit. A better question would be, "Does the average Tea Partier have a coherent ideology or worldview at all? (Or are they just a bunch of angry populists?)"
posted by Jacqueline at 4:32 AM on February 12, 2011


(I HATED THE GOVERNMENT BACK BEFORE HATING THE GOVERNMENT WAS COOL. YOU DAMN KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN.)
posted by Jacqueline at 4:33 AM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Angry... populists? If there were an actual party of angry populists I'd probably join it, nutcases or no.
posted by LogicalDash at 4:55 AM on February 12, 2011


Really? You know who else was an angry populist? ;)
posted by Jacqueline at 5:19 AM on February 12, 2011


Jeebus?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:25 AM on February 12, 2011


I suppose I should expect a ban, but it was worth it. I live in Calgary - you have no idea. Ayn's like Jesus/Mohammad/Gandhi here.
posted by converge at 5:46 AM on February 12, 2011


I suppose I should expect a ban, but it was worth it. I live in Calgary - you have no idea. Ayn's like Jesus/Mohammad/Gandhi here.
posted by converge at 9:46 PM on February 12 [+] [!]

Jesumohandi? I love that guy!
posted by gc at 5:48 AM on February 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


Really? Me too! I've got this little hideaway in Guyana you'd just love.
posted by converge at 5:51 AM on February 12, 2011


Great drinks - a swim up bar.
posted by converge at 5:52 AM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know, converge, not all "Randians" are assholes. It's usually just the ones who just read Atlas Shrugged for the first time. Becoming an angry, insufferable asshole for a short while after is so common that I've named it Just-Read-Atlas-Shrugged Syndrome (as someone who has given away many copies, I've seen it a lot). Most of us do settle down within a year or so and move on to a more nuanced worldview.
posted by Jacqueline at 5:53 AM on February 12, 2011


Not to start a debate, Jacqueline, but two, not necessarily separate, points off the top of my head:

1. In my experience, a lot of people carry that crap philosophy with them for a long time. It not only informs their method of being but;

2. they feel the need to push it on others as a justification for being complete dicks. And to convince people to follow that. It's all very religious.

I fully realize not everyone who has read Rand is evangelical about her. I'm obviously not, for an instance. I've just met many who have and, not only spout that crap, but try to convince you that their terrible behaviour is somehow justifiable.

Again, I merely state my opinion and experience. Let's not do this (it's been done, and better than we could hope to accomplish).
posted by converge at 6:08 AM on February 12, 2011


You know, converge, not all "Randians" are assholes.

Um, we're talking about people who refer to poor people as "leeches" and "freeloaders".
posted by octothorpe at 6:15 AM on February 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


@converge: Another way to look at it is that Rand's philosophy frees people who had previously spent their entire lives subjected to constantly trying to please and serve others. If you grew up in an abusive or controlling environment (and I'd argue that description applies to 90%+ of people who were subjected to the toxic U.S. K-12 school system even if their home life was healthy), being told that it's OK to be an individual and do things for yourself can be quite empowering.

Some people take it too far and become "complete dicks" about it, but far more people take inducing guilt and shame too far and use it to manipulate people. Rand tells her readers that the latter is not OK and gives them a foundation on which to reject the people trying to use them.
posted by Jacqueline at 6:18 AM on February 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


@octothorpe: Please cite (book and page) where in Ayn Rand's work she calls poor people "leeches" and "freeloaders" just because they were poor and not because the particular poor individuals in question were actually leeching or freeloading.

There may be some asshole who likes Ayn Rand and said some such thing, but there are plenty of assholes who like all sorts of things and say things that aren't necessarily reflective on the other things they like. Or do you think Fred Phelps is representative of all Christians?
posted by Jacqueline at 6:28 AM on February 12, 2011


@converge: Another way to look at it is....

Yes, Jacqueline, that's somewhat true. It's nice that you've found something in Miss Rand's writings that helps you get along in your day.

Nevertheless, as I was alluding to, you shall not sway me at the end of this comment section of an anonymous forum, nor shall I you.
posted by converge at 6:33 AM on February 12, 2011


I was once intrigued with this movie idea when it was going to be Angelina Jolie Dagny. Hah. It still could be an interesting movie experience. One time when I was a lot younger I went to see Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger on acid. This could be sort of like that except I am now way too old to drop acid.
posted by bukvich at 6:41 AM on February 12, 2011


Before I get flayed by all of MetaFilter for the sins of every "Randian" everywhere, I'd like to clarify the limits of my own "Randianism" -- I agree with her core values of reason, objective reality, individualism, and enlightened self-interest, but I think that some of her views on absolute free will have become outdated in the light of the past ~50 years of social science and behavioral genetics research.

However, regardless of whether people are truly free in their choices or not, believing in one's self-efficacy and treating others as if they can control their lives does seem to produce better results than a more helpless or deterministic outlook on life.

If I could put "Randianism" through a Reformation, I would direct it towards creating a world in which the outcomes of people's lives truly were under their direct control to the extent that she believed them to be and thus demanded personal responsibility for. But I'm not sure whose door I should be nailing my Theses to. :)
posted by Jacqueline at 6:46 AM on February 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't think they even have a distributor yet.

I wonder if it's really ever intended to see the light of day. The whole affair reminds me of Roger Corman's Fantastic Four, which was produced in 1994 just to secure the film copyright before it expired.
posted by pjdoland at 6:48 AM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


> one of the centerpieces of the novel is a tragic train wreck, brought on by he moral collapse of collectivism. Fortunatley, the victims of the wreck were all deserving of thier fates. Here are some of those morally decadents Rand enjoyed killing off:

I wouldn't get too worked up over that. They were only strawpeople.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:58 AM on February 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


I've never been able to finish Atlas Shrugged, I admit, so the following comparison is perhaps uninformed: but I think the best prose treatment a superman come to liberate the world was "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut. Followed by the Gospels.
posted by adoarns at 7:05 AM on February 12, 2011


Awaiting the Rifftrax release with great anticipation.
posted by hellojed at 7:15 PM on February 11 [14 favorites +] [!]


Sadly, Mike Nelson the heart and soul of rifftrax is rabidly right wing and would probably be nodding in agreement throughout Atlas Shrugged. I read a interview where he described George Soros as the ultimate evil.

Yeah, really. :(
posted by ExitPursuedByBear at 7:06 AM on February 12, 2011


where in Ayn Rand's work she calls poor people "leeches" and "freeloaders" just because they were poor and not because the particular poor individuals in question were actually leeching or freeloading.

Where the definition of "leech" and "freeloader" includes, as per clarknova's quote above, people who take government-backed loans, people who believe in labor laws, and people who support the Stalinist concept of public transportation. Sorry, people who took out Direct loans to get through college, you quite literally deserve to die in a fire. Well, actually, I'm not sorry, because fuck you I got mine.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:10 AM on February 12, 2011 [16 favorites]


My experience with Randians is that they haven't read anything but Rand, so it's kind of impossible to have a dialogue with them. They have no tools with wich to see another point of view. It turns into an endless debate about how greed is good, as seen from a comic book strip perspective.

It still puzzles me how anybody can justify such a pulpy book, with such laugh out loud dialogue, as the basis of any personal belief system.
posted by Omon Ra at 7:20 AM on February 12, 2011


> Part I of the book does cover the beginning of Dagny's affair with Rearden:

Conservatives are always railing against sexual deviance and perverts, and yet the sex in Ayn Rand books is some seriously pervy shit. Just thinking about it makes me feel dirty (in a bad way, but YMMV).
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:25 AM on February 12, 2011


"I've never been able to finish Atlas Shrugged, I admit"

As I recommended up thread, just skip ahead whenever a character starts to monologue for more than a page. You won't miss anything important and it makes for a much quicker and more interesting read. And I say this as someone who actually agrees with most of the content of the monologues!

It's such a shame that Rand messed up such a thrilling page-turner by cramming a political philosophy tract into the middle of it. I hope the screenwriter of the movie had the good sense to cut those parts out, then more people will have the opportunity to enjoy the plot.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:25 AM on February 12, 2011


"Sorry, people who took out Direct loans to get through college, you quite literally deserve to die in a fire."

Where does she say that such people "deserve" to die in a fire?

There's a pretty big difference between a scene in a novel underscoring the irony of people dying due to a system they had personally supported/advocated vs. asserting that any real person who has ever accepted a government benefit should be killed.

You do understand the difference between fiction and reality, right? Or do you think that every writer who ever kills a character does so because he/she is preaching that real people similar to those characters should die in real life?
posted by Jacqueline at 7:35 AM on February 12, 2011


Bob the Angry Flower sums up everything that is wrong with Atlas Shrugged and Randianism.

The creators of wealth are not the capitalists, or even the inventors - it's all of us. Capitalists have nothing but meaningless paper or metals without someone to till the land they own, or work in the factories they build.
posted by jb at 7:45 AM on February 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


Where does she say that such people "deserve" to die in a fire?

"It is said that catastrophes are a matter of pure chance, and there were those who would have said that the passengers of the Comet were not guilty or responsible for the thing that happened to them."
posted by dirigibleman at 7:54 AM on February 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


[Comment removed. If you find yourself typing the words "Right. I know I'm not adding anything to the, uh, let's go with "conversation," at this point, but...", that's when you stop typing and close the browser. Following it up with a spittle-flecked GO FUCK YOURSELVES rant is right out. Please just save me the cleanup next time and give that a pass.]
posted by cortex at 7:54 AM on February 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


"It is said that catastrophes are a matter of pure chance, and there were those who would have said that the passengers of the Comet were not guilty or responsible for the thing that happened to them."

@dirigibleman: You're quoting a novel. Please demonstrate that you understand the difference between fiction and reality by quoting something from one of her non-fiction political philosophy books or essays (there are several for you to chose from) to support your assertion about her actual beliefs.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:02 AM on February 12, 2011


Oh good god, fine. I'm sure Ayn Rand didn't literally think that leechers and freeloaders in the real world deserved to die in a fire. Does that satisfy you?
posted by dirigibleman at 8:05 AM on February 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


But she sure seemed to think they should die in her book.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:06 AM on February 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


And Joss Whedon thinks at least one member of any happy couple should die in all of his TV shows. I don't think he advocates that for reality.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:08 AM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


*stumbles out of the smoking wrecking of a derailed miniature train car bleary-eyed and slack-jawed, holding a blank DVD-R in one hand with the words "The Passion of Ayn Rand" scrawled on it*

What... what the fuck was that? That was a very bad idea. I couldn't watch the whole thing. Not even all of the naughty bits. I need a pregnant virgin sparkly rainbow unicorn chaser with extra virgin and unicorn.

But I'm pretty sure that doesn't exist. But this jar of peanut butter and nutella exists. So does this spoon, and my face. Hello, spoon! Hello, face! Why, you look so dressed up, spoon, is that chocolate and peanut butter that you're wearing? Why, why yes it is, face, thank you for noticing. I just picked it up. Why, spoon, you shouldn't have. Let's slip you into something more comfortable. *lick*
posted by loquacious at 8:09 AM on February 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


dirigibleman, there's no need to be so disagreeable about this. If it's only in fiction, then...

If, however, you can find it in her work (outside of ficion), I for one would love to know. It would more ammunition for the arsenal.
posted by artof.mulata at 8:10 AM on February 12, 2011


"Bob the Angry Flower sums up everything that is wrong with Atlas Shrugged and Randianism."

Bob the Angry Flower obviously never actually read Atlas Shrugged because the entrepreneurs who went "on strike" took on manual labor jobs to support themselves in society and/or when they initially began building the economy of Galt's Gulch. Dagny explicitly requested to work (and was hired) as a cook and housemaid during her mid-novel visit.

(I am seriously beginning to wonder whether any of you have actually read Atlas Shrugged or if everything you know about its content was merely gleaned from the occasional Two Minute Hates held for it on MetaFilter?)

"The creators of wealth are not the capitalists, or even the inventors - it's all of us. Capitalists have nothing but meaningless paper or metals without someone to till the land they own, or work in the factories they build."

The typical capitalist or inventor is capable of tilling land or working in a factory if he/she has to. The typical laborer is not capable of organizing a business or inventing new technologies.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:22 AM on February 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


I read Atlas Shrugged. Well, most of it.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:26 AM on February 12, 2011


"The typical laborer is not capable of organizing a business or inventing new technologies."

Ugh.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:27 AM on February 12, 2011 [14 favorites]


This is the best news maybe ever, and possibly additionally the greatest day of my life. I am so excited to see this movie.

jb, that Bob the Angry Flower really pisses me off because it misinterprets Rand's entire philosophy. Rand isn't opposed to labor or hard work — she's actually in favor of it, and depicts almost all her protagonists as at some point or other working a labor job simply because it has to be done. Objectivism is a pro-"progress" philosophy — you do whatever it takes to move forward. If that means working as a janitor, you do it. If it means designing a massive skyscraper, you do it. But you only do it if you think the destination is worth working towards (versus Roark, in The Fountainhead, toiling away in a quarry for no real reason other than he's poor and needs the money). Honestly I don't know who ever reads Bob since it's a shitty ugly comic that seems to enjoy attacking easy targets and misses its mark every time anyway.

Besides, there are much more fun criticisms of Rand to be made, ones that don't dismiss what Objectivists actually believe in.

Ummmm... are you sure you don't mean the fun of a philosophical/political/economic treatise with the legitimacy of a Superman comic book?

The trick to reading Atlas Shrugged is that you have to get behind Rand's dictatorial narrative voice and accept that in her world, literally everything adheres to Objectivist philosophy, whether it's fucking or bank robbery or making sandwiches. Nothing exists other than as a symbol of itself. There is no random chance, no disease, no inherited class legacy. You are born somewhere on the Objectivist Spectrum and that defines every single event that will happen to you in your life.

If you're reading the book and find yourself disagreeing with Rand's perspective, get another book, because Atlas Shrugged has nothing to offer you by way of debate. It's her way or the (deadly, about-to-explode-if-you're-not-a-capitalist) highway. But if you're willing to subject yourself to her perspective, everything suddenly turns awesome. You've got mad scientists and sexy businesswomen and sexy Spanish people with long names and sexy pirates. All the good guys are sexy so that you know who to root for. All the bad guys have the plague or something.

My favorite thing to discuss about the book is how Eddie Willers, who's the first person we see and kind of a stand-in for the reader, ends up marooned on a train track about to die by the end. Like, he doesn't get to see the error of his ways and turn into one of the Good Guys. He's too stupid for that. So he just kind of dies. It's one of the only loose ends in that book, which otherwise laboriously ties up its characters' fates.

I think that Rand's books contain hints of positive, not-totally-horrible ideas, all of which have been said better by other people elsewhere. As a sixteen-year-old kid I liked the idea that good artists are the ones who do their own thing, and that bad artists are the ones who can't have a thought without asking themselves what XYZ Famous Person would ask about it. I also liked that The Fountainhead examines in part how the personalities of newspapers/media are tied to the people who created them. Even the idea that your sexual personality is somehow connected to the rest of your personality was a breath of a fresh air when contrasted to the average conversation 16-year-old guys have about sex. (Fuck, I'm 20 now and I still know guys who'll just sit down and talk about who's seen whose boobs; compared to that Ayn Rand sex scenes are classy and meaningful.)

The problem with Objectivism, of course, is everything else. Rand didn't put a whole lot of thought into her philosophy; she made it what she wanted, and when she found a contradiction she either ignored it or declared her followers blasphemous for bringing it up. The result is a philosophy that sounds good in complete isolation but breaks down after either a few years of thinking it through or reading any somewhat thorough criticism of the philosophy. And it's hilarious how, like with Wynand's papers, Rand's philosophies are so connected to her personality. She loved pulp fiction and modern symphonies and dom/sub relationships; what makes Atlas Shrugged fun is how it contains all this stuff but also tries to pass these things off as the Proper Way To Live, as if it's just a proper logical progression that a good person rapes women or hijacks federal aid ships. And there are no percussions because in a logical world people who want to do things are always talented enough to get away with their crimes.

I hope the director captures that sense of oblivious, giddy lecturing. If it's simply an action movie, it loses the tension that makes Atlas Shrugged unintentionally hilarious.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:28 AM on February 12, 2011 [8 favorites]


"Ugh."

If you think the typical laborer *is* capable of those things, then you have an even more naive view of human capabilities than Ayn Rand. :D
posted by Jacqueline at 8:29 AM on February 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


norabarnacl3: "
Thus Rand managed to combine the fun of a Superman comic book with the sense of legitimacy of having read a real philosophical/political/economic treatise. Hats off to that.
"

I read it at 21, thinking it was something I ought to have read. If that was fun, I'll eat my own silly plot device.
posted by notsnot at 8:37 AM on February 12, 2011


Honestly I don't know who ever reads Bob since it's a shitty ugly comic that seems to enjoy attacking easy targets and misses its mark every time anyway.

I do. And that comic may not be dead on about Atlas Shrugged but it is DEAD FUCKING ON about 90% of the Randian wannabes I've ever met, who are special snowflakes and far above manual labor. Bob skewered a particular breed of geek libertarian perfectly, and if you haven't met those guys, I'm happy for you.

What I want to know is where Angelina Jolie is in this movie. I told myself I'd rent an Angelina Jolie Atlas Shrugged, but I guess I'm doomed to disappointment. I'm hoping the person upthread who called this a placeholder was right, because the thought of la Jolie playing through some of the dialogue quoted from the book in this thread makes me want to get out the popcorn for the Bad Movie of the Month club.
posted by immlass at 8:37 AM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you think the typical laborer *is* capable of those things, then you have an even more naive view of human capabilities than Ayn Rand. :D

Jacqueline, the problem with Ayn Rand is that she Others almost all of mankind, promotes this idea that there's a Right Way and a Wrong Way to be a human being, and that most of us are the Wrong Way. The naivete of Rand is that she thinks there *is* such a thing as a "typical laborer".

People are wiser and more complex than we think. They've lived entire lifetimes, asked themselves difficult questions, slowly come to realize who they are and what they want. Not some people. All people. But we're not trained to notice their multitudes. All we do is ask ourselves, "Are these people asking the same things I do?" If they're not, then it's easy to dismiss them as somehow simplistic or stupid or not worth our time.

Like, when you say things like:

The typical capitalist or inventor is capable of tilling land or working in a factory if he/she has to.

You're making a HUGE leap in connecting factories to farms. Factories are DESIGNED so that pretty much anybody can work in them. What's more, it's arguable that they're designed in a way that the people who work in them aren't doing meaningful work and can feel alienated/estranged by their work, and that this is one of the crimes of industrialism. But farms are way different. It's hard to work on a farm unless you've been trained. And it's hard, grueling work. I bet if you take an average "capitalist", whatever the hell you think that is, and have him work a week on a farm, he'll find it doesn't suit him at all.

(For what it's worth, being a "capitalist" is really easy. It's usually easier than working on a farm. So is inventing things. You just make something, and then you see if people will pay for it, and then you make something else. There's a reason we have a lot of entrepreneurs in America and it's not because being an entrepreneur is particularly strenuous or intellectually demanding.)
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:39 AM on February 12, 2011 [17 favorites]


Define "typical." None of the self-identified Objectivists I've met (an admittedly small sample size) would have described themselves as "typical," but they were all laborers and none had, or have gone on to, organize a business or invent new technologies. Yet they were all Randian Supermen in their own minds.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:44 AM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


@Rory: I didn't connect factories and farmwork, jb did and I quoted/responded to him. But there really isn't a significant difference between picking fruit and screwing parts on widgets. Both are mind-numbingly repetitive and can be done by almost anyone.

Personally, I've worked in all major sectors of the economy (agriculture, manufacturing, service, and knowledge) and while the former are certainly more physically demanding, the latter are far more intellectually demanding. The relevant range of human ability is far greater for intellectually based work than it is for physically based work.

You're talking about what "suits" people and I'm talking about who really needs whom. Most humans are capable of farmwork -- it's what 95%+ of us did until very recent in human history. A much smaller percentage are capable of inventing useful things and building/running large organizations, and the more complex you get in inventions/organizations (i.e. the more advanced your civilization becomes) the smaller the percentage of capable people gets.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:57 AM on February 12, 2011


None of the self-identified Objectivists I've met (an admittedly small sample size) would have described themselves as "typical,"

Eh, that's not true in my experience. Quite a few are businessmen or sales-oriented real estate types. Most seem to have come from money or at least, had a very, very easy time breaking into their business. That is also to say, they aren't really die-hard Objectivists either. They seem to look at it as more of an academic approach to the usual business, self-help "What Color is Your Parachute" type of book. I don't think they sit around thinking about Ayn Rand, but simply take it for what it is and ignore the conflicting parts.

As someone who has spent considerable time reading real philosophy, to think that someone could put Ayn Rand on the same intellectual ground as Heidegger or Wittgenstein is frighting. Sort of like putting that guy who owns the little computer repair shop downtown with Richard Stallman. If anything it just seems to reinforce their worldview that they got where they are because they worked hard, and most people are just fucking leeches. Try switching "dad paying for school" with "the state paying for school" and watch as they try to justify why it is okay for the former but not the latter.
posted by geoff. at 8:59 AM on February 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


Is this a lifetime movie?
posted by kenaldo at 9:01 AM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think "We the Living" is a telling book. It's about a bunch of artistic young Russians caught up in the Soviet revolution and being told they have to do what the state tells them with their lives and their talents. Some rebel, some acquiesce. (Spoiler: the plucky heroine rebels) I liked that book.

I think the Soviets made Ayn Rand and, in America, I think the Soviets made her relevant.

I think it's the Superman romance of it all that keeps her relevant now.
posted by Trochanter at 9:04 AM on February 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


@The Card Cheat: Not only is your sample size small but you're sampling the wrong thing. The question shouldn't be "How many Objectivists do I know who are inventors or entrepreneurs?" but "How many inventors and entrepreneurs do I know who are Objectivists?"

Depending on your age and/or social class you probably don't know enough inventors or entrepreneurs to have a good idea of those professions' political and philosophical leanings. Plus there's the whole issue of successful inventors and entrepreneurs being too busy inventing things and running their companies to debate politics and philosophy, so you could very well know some and not know it.

But I know what you mean. I meet their equivalents in libertarian-anarchist circles all the time and none of them have yet followed through on my suggestion to move to Somalia if they think anarchy is such a great idea. :)
posted by Jacqueline at 9:05 AM on February 12, 2011


I'm hoping all the Libertarians and Tea Party folks come away from this movie really loving trains. Then maybe they will start using public transport more and vote for policies that support Obama's high speed rail initiative!

I can dream, can't I?
posted by vewystwange at 9:08 AM on February 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Jacqueline: Personally, I've worked in all major sectors of the economy (agriculture, manufacturing, service, and knowledge) and while the former are certainly more physically demanding, the latter are far more intellectually demanding. The relevant range of human ability is far greater for intellectually based work than it is for physically based work.

Yeah, but what does "intellectually demanding" actually mean? Look, I write poems and direct plays and make movies and design web sites and do advertising and beanplate pop culture and a whole bunch of other things in fields of "intellect" and it's not like any of it is particularly difficult. It takes a lot of practice at any of them if you want to be distinguishably good, but five or ten years of concentrated effort will get you pretty far in any of them. Many people find these fields intimidating or unpleasant, because the people who work in them are either bad at communicating their passion to others or else they're let's-face-it fuckfaces of the worst variety, but these are all skills that can be pretty effectively taught.

I'd argue, in fact, that most people in "intellectual" lines of work all suffer from similar incapacities as anybody in any other line of work; that is to say, they're good at what they do and not very good at what they don't do. That our society sucks off businessmen and intellectuals rather than plumbers and locksmiths doesn't mean that b+i are really much smarter. It just means their smart is more socially acceptable. Kind of like how women who look like Katy Perry are more socially acceptable than women who look like actual human beings.

You're talking about what "suits" people and I'm talking about who really needs whom. Most humans are capable of farmwork -- it's what 95%+ of us did until very recent in human history. A much smaller percentage are capable of inventing useful things and building/running large organizations, and the more complex you get in inventions/organizations (i.e. the more advanced your civilization becomes) the smaller the percentage of capable people gets.

So what you're saying is that the people who invented a complex social structure are more essential within it than the people who had no part in creating said complex structure but are still forced to participate in order to survive. Get rid of the inventors and organizations and I think you'll find that the rest of humanity is quite capable of getting along without them.

(Which is not to say that I hate organizations or inventions. But I think that organizers and inventors are a little bit too obsessed sometimes with how pretty their inventions are and how much better they make the rest of the world.)
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:11 AM on February 12, 2011 [9 favorites]


40 years makes the wait for the Hitchhiker's Guide movie seem paltry.
posted by hoyland at 9:15 AM on February 12, 2011


Well, then. Duke Nuken, Atlas Shrugged. Any takers on the third impossible thing?

"Buckaroo Banzai vs. the World Crime League “. It could feature the Secretary of Defense wanting to despair a “War on the Crime League", but Buckaroo says "They're nothing but a bunch of criminals “ and buckles on his pistols before going out to take Hanoi Xan on single-handed.

It would be AWESOME!
posted by happyroach at 9:21 AM on February 12, 2011 [7 favorites]


As an actual fan of the novel, I'm looking forward to this, but I'm worried that people won't realize that the wooden acting (as evidenced in the trailer) isn't lack of talent but instead is just being true to the characters...

This is true. Ayn Rand invents characters made of wood. Witness the love scene from FOUNTAINHEAD that I linked to above. Meanwhile, there's the broad-comedy screenplay adaptation of ATLAS SHRUGGED that I tried to write some twenty-five years ago. But that's a whole other story. It even has a moral.
posted by philip-random at 9:25 AM on February 12, 2011


"Get rid of the inventors and organizations and I think you'll find that the rest of humanity is quite capable of getting along without them."

I hope we never find out because I strongly suspect you're wrong. For all that I enjoyed Atlas Shrugged, I would prefer that it remain in the realm of social science fiction.

"But I think that organizers and inventors are a little bit too obsessed sometimes with how pretty their inventions are and how much better they make the rest of the world."

My immediate reaction to this statement was to look up your profile to confirm that you are -- as this sentence led me to suspect -- very very young.

I invite you to study history and/or visit parts of the world that do not have the benefit of modern inventions and institutions and rethink the magnitude to which inventions and organizations have made the world. It's not all iPods and Walmarts, it's also clean drinking water, vaccines, sewage treatment, food transportation networks, literacy, etc. etc. etc...
posted by Jacqueline at 9:25 AM on February 12, 2011


Anyhow, I gotta go do other stuff now, but I have some parting words for all of you "Objectivists are assholes!" people: In general, you are more likely to be exposed to the particularly disagreeable adherents of the views that disagree with your own, because the nicer adherents don't want to argue with you and just change the topic. Debating issues with only the disagreeable people skews your perception that the other side is made up of assholes.

Trust me, your side has plenty of assholes too! I know this because I'm a contrarian and thus I end up arguing with everyone. :D Here I am carrying the banner for Objectivism and Libertarianism on MetaFilter, but if you put me in a room with my fellow Objectivists and Libertarians they'd be calling me a socialist within the hour. (They really don't like it when I ask them questions like, "So, if the only choice a subsistence farmer in Africa gets to make today is whether to feed the small amount of food he has left to his hungry kids or eat it himself because he needs the energy to work in the fields, can you truly say he's 'free' just because the tax man isn't coming around to hassle him?")
posted by Jacqueline at 9:30 AM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


That movie trailer is full of dick-faces. It surprises me that they'd populate a whole movie full of dick-faces, in fact dick-faces that I recognize from other movies. I kept saying "I've seen that dickface before!". Maybe it's a movie that'll appeal to people with dick-faces. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
posted by ishmael at 9:31 AM on February 12, 2011


I'm not going to watch this movie, but I'll leech it just out of principle.
posted by Drexen at 9:35 AM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


The typical laborer is not capable of organizing a business or inventing new technologies.

>The difference of natural talents in different men is, in reality, much less than we are aware of; and the very different genius which appears to distinguish men of different professions, when grown up to maturity, is not upon many occasions so much the cause, as the effect of the division of labour.*46 The difference between the most dissimilar characters, between a philosopher and a common street porter, for example, seems to arise not so much from nature, as from habit, custom, and education.

I.2.4

>It is naturally to be expected, therefore, that some one or other of those who are employed in each particular branch of labour should soon find out easier and readier methods of performing their own particular work, wherever the nature of it admits of such improvement. A great part of the machines made use of*34 in those manufactures in which labour is most subdivided, were originally the inventions of common workmen, who, being each of them employed in some very simple operation, naturally turned their thoughts towards finding out easier and readier methods of performing it.

I.1.8

Adam Smith disagreed (though he notes that inventors who do this as their main job are more effective). Anyway, my congratulations on arguing in favour of objectivism on MeFi.
posted by ersatz at 9:44 AM on February 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


And then Huey Lewis and the News would sing "It's A to be A".

Is this a MeFi Music pre-announcement? Because it should be.
posted by dhartung at 9:48 AM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


My immediate reaction to this statement was to look up your profile to confirm that you are -- as this sentence led me to suspect -- very very young.

I'll thank you not to condescend to me based on my age. You're 32, which isn't exactly venerable either. Please stick to discussing my ideas and not me.

I invite you to study history and/or visit parts of the world that do not have the benefit of modern inventions and institutions and rethink the magnitude to which inventions and organizations have made the world. It's not all iPods and Walmarts, it's also clean drinking water, vaccines, sewage treatment, food transportation networks, literacy, etc. etc. etc...

Look, I totally agree. Inventions are awesome! Society is awesome! But I think that there are two fallacies with your argument here:

1) You seem to argue that the people inventing things are somehow more necessary than the people farming or working in factories. My counterargument is that those inventors rely on the public just as much as the public relies on them. Do you think Rearden could afford to spend literally ten years making his magic metal if he hadn't already made millions of dollars by selling a valuable product that in some way benefits the public? If he'd lived in Galt's Gulch all his life then he'd never have been given a chance to invest that much time in his metal, because none of the people living in that valley have enough need for metal to pay him millions. In fact, the only reason the GG residents are able to continue this lifestyle at the end of the book is that literally everybody else on the planet is dead.

2) You also argue that the people who invented vaccines and literacy and drinking water &c. are the only people who could have invented those things. Like, without the "inventor" we simply don't have inventions. You subscribe, like Rand, to the Great Men theory that says genius is a Thing and you either got it or you don't. But I don't think intelligence is that cut-and-dry. Anybody can invent something. In fact, most if not all inventions initially happen by accident. Somebody does something cool, somebody else thinks of how else that cool thing can be used, a third person thinks of how that cool thing could be sold to the masses. None of those people are doing anything particularly difficult. I'd bet that a lot more people are capable of doing that than actually do it, in part because once something's been invented there's suddenly no need for anybody else to get around to inventing it.

Like I said: I love inventors and do-ers and businessmen! Really I do! I fully intend to spend my lifetime creating things that hopefully millions of people will pay me for. My friends tend to be creative make-things people also. But I am not an Objectivist and am actively critical of the philosophy because it pretty contemptuously puts people into categories that don't exist, and dismisses their potential as human beings. Which is something that you've done in this very thread, Jacqueline, so if anything all you're doing is confirming my suspicions.
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:48 AM on February 12, 2011 [17 favorites]


A friend of mine has found that laying the Dead Kennedys' "Kill the Poor" over the top of the trailer works pretty well.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:59 AM on February 12, 2011 [9 favorites]


All I know about objectivists is they're much more into arguing than being capitans of industry.
posted by chairface at 10:03 AM on February 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


None of those people are doing anything particularly difficult.

My personal experience strongly disagrees with this. I've known people who have done all three of these things, and they worked like dogs at them, and had insights that nobody else around them had, or were in most cases capable of having.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 10:03 AM on February 12, 2011


@Pope Guilty: I guess I can't be a real Objectivist because I laughed my ass off at that and Objectivists are notoriously humorless.

(Q: How many Objectivists does it take to screw in a lightbulb? A: THAT'S NOT FUNNY.)
posted by Jacqueline at 10:05 AM on February 12, 2011


My personal experience strongly disagrees with this. I've known people who have done all three of these things, and they worked like dogs at them, and had insights that nobody else around them had, or were in most cases capable of having.

But none of that is particularly difficult.

Working hard? Anybody can do that. I'm the laziest person I know, but last year I pulled a 60-hour day shooting and editing a film, simply by not stopping until I either finished or passed out. Given a choice I'd rather spend all day lying in bed (which is where I'm writing this). I don't know anybody who's actually incapable of working hard if they want to. And I don't blame anybody for not wanting to.

As for insights: Insights are easy. If MetaFilter has taught me anything it's this. We all have a dozen insights every day. All of us have individual, unique experiences; we connect things together in different ways simply because we have different things to connect. One of the things that frustrates me about how we teach art and business is that we tend to teach "techniques" without mentioning that technique is usually just a way of helping us frame whatever our actual real experience is; you get a lot of artists and entrepreneurs alike who have lots of interesting ideas but choose instead to emulate somebody else's work because they've been taught that it's "good work". Lots of potential wasted.

I spent two summers working with children as young as nine years old, and I can say that even at that age kids say some brilliant, insightful things. Insight isn't challenging. The challenge is recognizing that insight when you have it, learning to value it, and learning to contextualize it and turn it into something else. But that's a skill too which can be taught.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:18 AM on February 12, 2011 [8 favorites]


I invite you to study history and/or visit parts of the world that do not have the benefit of modern inventions and institutions and rethink the magnitude to which inventions and organizations have made the world.

Talk about historically naive! What area of the world are you referring to, exactly? I don't know of any part of the earth which hasn't received the "benefit" of Western civilizing influence in one way or another. (Arguably China.) Sorry, but you can't point to our post-colonial satellite states and banana republics and claim them as evidence of the inherent goodness of the free market. It just doesn't work. What are you trying to say here?

"Look at Haiti, see what happens when those slaves get too uppity? And Cuba, well, gee, they sure had it coming, they should have been content to toil in our car factories! And don't even get me started on those Africans.... if only they'd all cooperated and come over to work on our plantations, the continent would have been better off without them!"
posted by mek at 10:22 AM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


The biggest problem with setting this in modern times instead of the 20's is the problem of the great men. The fantastic engineers like Rearden, the men who could plan mines like d'Anconia would be somewhere in the upper management, if that high, in modern day. The planners, the inventors, the geniuses, they generally aren't the CEO's these days. The one exception I'd make would be in the high tech industries, biotech and computers. But other than those, seriously, do you think the head of CSX knows a thing about how to get his trains rolling? The great inventors are not (with the exception of high tech, as I said) the richest men out there. The people on Wall Street do not know how to actually create material things, how to engineer things. They know how to make money, yes, but not how to actually set up a factory to produce anything.

There's another problem with setting it in modern times. Everyone knows that trains are an evil socialist program designed to strip us of the freedom to drive a car as fast and as far as we want.

Anyway, I'm going to download and seed it with an infinite ratio. Not because I expect to enjoy the movie, but because that would amuse me and that is acting in my own self interest.
posted by Hactar at 10:48 AM on February 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


But none of that is particularly difficult.

You and I have very different experiences then, or maybe just unbridgably different definitions of difficulty. I consider all of that extraordinarily difficult.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 10:51 AM on February 12, 2011


In the late 80s I had to pick up some concert tickets I won from a classic rock station in far west Omaha. It was on John Galt Blvd. I had assumed he was some local businessman done good or whatever.

Sigh.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 7:30 PM on February 11 [+] [!]


I don't know about Omaha, but John Galt is a famous name in Southern Ontario's history. He even had a town named after him.

In 1816, a large block of land originally owned by the Six Nations Indians was purchased by William Dickson – a Scotsman who dreamed of founding a settlement to attract his fellow lowland countrymen. Scots from the “old country” immigrated to the village called Shade’s Mill. In 1827, the Canada Company Commissioner, John Galt, visited the area and, in his honour, the village was re-named Galt.

He was a colonizer, explorer and country-builder (he founded Guelph and Goderich and created the Huron Tract), writer, a businessman, a wheeler-dealer, a lobbyist, a negotiator and eventually a prisoner (for failing to pay his sons’ school fees).

It is this John Galt that comes to mind whenever I read the name or hear the name spoken. It always takes me a second to perform the mental shift to move away from "real historical figure" to "character in a book."
posted by sardonyx at 10:56 AM on February 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


You and I have very different experiences then, or maybe just unbridgably different definitions of difficulty. I consider all of that extraordinarily difficult.

Well, that's why so many people emphasize lessons like "learn through failure" or "write what you know" or "trial and error". If you've never done one of these things before, then you are almost bound to fuck something up; if you try and make something that has absolutely no connection to your life, you are guaranteed to fail. But every time you try, you learn something about what you're doing, and slowly you begin to develop theories (even if you don't call them theories) about why things work. Then you apply these theories to your life as it happens and suddenly find that, without breaking much of a sweat, you're able to turn your thoughts about your own life into something more universal, whether that's a company or an interpretive dance or whatever else.

Not everybody wants to do this. And a lot of the people that are doing this don't find it easy to make a living. But that's different from not being capable of doing it. And in any event, this doesn't make the makers and doers any more accomplished than the people who never feel the urge to do this. Maybe it makes them more accomplished than people who try to do and make but fail, but what is Objectivism saying that we do to these people? Are we teaching them how to make things better? Are we encouraging them to find paths in life that they're more comfortable taking? According to Atlas Shrugged what we're to do is mock them and then wait for them to die, which sounds a lot like the current Republican party's solution to a lot of things.

(I have a twofold critique of Rand's logic here. First, she depicts artists who come into being with an idea of what they want to make with their art. Roark refines his technique under Henry Cameron, but it's suggested that Roark's architectural philosophy was somehow inborn. Rand never shows a human being change his internal philosophy; in her world, nobody ever learns how to be a success, they have to be born knowing. And, second, she presents some very conflicted ideas about what the solution to this is. The Fountainhead depicts a culture that's actively hostile to her preferred art, but she never suggests how to turn that culture more appreciative. And Atlas Shrugged flat-out suggests that letting governments sponsor artists or scientists will corrupt those people's works, but Galt's Gulch is a similar sponsorship program in that a billionaire is paying to give a group of people freedom that society doesn't offer. She tries to eat her characters' cakes and still have them, but she relies on some very brittle logic to do this.)
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:07 AM on February 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Difficulty is the number of times you need to fall down before you can walk across the room.

Invention is quite difficult by that metric.

But people do still learn to walk, talk, and drive cars. It takes a lot of time to learn these things, but we manage somehow.

Most people consider learning a new language difficult, even though nearly everyone has done it already...
posted by LogicalDash at 11:31 AM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rand is like J.K. Rowling. At least she gets kids to read.
posted by Trochanter at 11:49 AM on February 12, 2011 [8 favorites]


re: Social Security & Disability
Rand had no problem with exploiting the benefits of a government program that people had no choice but to participate.

Also, to those saying "In my experience...", your experience has been with Randroids. Generally, you will never know when you deal with an actual objectivist (note the lower case).
posted by Ardiril at 12:04 PM on February 12, 2011


My major beef with objectionism is the persistent undertone of intolerance.

For a philosophy so caught up with identifying the facts of reality, it doesn't accomodate real people very well.

Jacquiline writes: "If you think the typical laborer *is* capable of those things, then you have an even more naive view of human capabilities than Ayn Rand."

I think any labourer is capable of anything.

Taggart Transcontinental is just a metaphor for the Little Choo Choo that Could.
posted by parki at 12:12 PM on February 12, 2011


objectionism - heheh
posted by Ardiril at 12:19 PM on February 12, 2011


The more I read about the actual production of this movie, the more I think its producers were out to make a quick buck.
posted by Ardiril at 12:26 PM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Generally, you will never know when you deal with an actual objectivist (note the lower case).

The routine capitalization of Objectivist in a Randian context is generally done to disassociate it with objectivist philosophies (moral objectivism, for example) which are not batshit crazy.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:28 PM on February 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


trudat, PG.
posted by Ardiril at 12:31 PM on February 12, 2011


Long time Objectivist chiming in here...never really was too excited about any plans for a movie or TV series about Atlas...didn't really see the need. And I assumed that this announcement would reveal a...poorly-filmed, cheaply-made attempt at a film. But after watching the trailer, I have to admit - it does look much better than I imagined, and might consider seeing it in the theatre.
posted by davidmsc at 12:34 PM on February 12, 2011


Jacqueline: If you think the typical laborer *is* capable of those things, then you have an even more naive view of human capabilities than Ayn Rand. :D

Unlike many here at Metafilter, I spent many years working with my hands and my back and the sweat of my brow. Now, I use my brain and my fingertips.

There is nothing wrong with honest labor, be it with your body or your brain. A captain of industry may be able to do the work of a factory worker but if he's the only one in the factory, he's not going to make very many widgets over any given time period.

What people achieve in their lifetimes is a combination of their innate talents, willingness to work towards their goals and the circumstances in which they live. Ayn Rand actively ridicules the last of these. She was wrong and her philosophy is wrong, although it does serve as an interesting example of how twisted one's view of how reality could or should be if you're willing to ignore very real aspects of current reality and human nature. Marx made some similar mistakes.

P.S.:

I do enjoy and encourage your contrarian role in dampening the echo chamber effect here, even though I don't agree with much of what you write. I don't want MeFi to become the negative free republic.
posted by double block and bleed at 12:40 PM on February 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


the circumstances in which they live. Ayn Rand actively ridicules the last of these.

That's a pretty stiff charge to lay on a Russian girl who was 12 during the 1917 Russian revolution.
posted by Ardiril at 12:55 PM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


"My metal. Your railroad." Heck of a pickup line.
posted by stargell at 1:08 PM on February 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Don't worry, no one from the Tea Party is really going to see this. They're all going to be too busy seeing Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:09 PM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ayn Rand and Objectivism is just silly, but reading this thread, and not least Rory Marinich's posts has made me aware of an aspect of her thinking which is really typical of her age, and very absurd in ours. On the other hand, her version of reality has become true, if in a way that would have confused her completely.

First of all: Rory Marinich is right, it isn't difficult to be a genius, but it is extremely hard work. Many people are smart enough to invent or innovate, but they are not hard-working enough to profit from that talent. Actually, I think this is part of the Randian allure. Many teens and twenty-somethings realize they are smart enough to be the next Bill Gates. But at that point in life they are still not aware they just aren't hard-working enough. And from my personal experience, the few who are actually that committed don't see themselves as hard workers, so they buy into the romanticism which is at the core of Randianism - the myth of the gifted artist/entrepreneur/political leader. Romanticism is a key concept here. Rand was - as many of her generation - reading the 20th century through the 19th.

Secondly: Since the 80's, it has actually become possible for people with a minimum of effort but a maximum of disregard for society to become immensely rich. Not at all in ways Rand would have understood or appreciated. To the contrary - there is not that much difference between the Koch brothers and the corrupt Sovjet leaders. Owning the political bodies, disregarding human lives and the environment, ignoring the law of the land. With no personal effort whatsoever. And the tools of these cynics are amongst others the Randists.
posted by mumimor at 1:14 PM on February 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


Can we get a mod to swap this so that this is a thread about dogs eating hearts as a plot twist, and then have a Randian derail?

Also, I need to stop laughing.
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:15 PM on February 12, 2011


Now development-hell is over it's time for watching-hell.
posted by w0mbat at 1:21 PM on February 12, 2011


Aww crap now I have to read it in the next two months so when I go see it I can smugly say "not as good as the book."

I read the Fountainhead when I was 15 and liked it, but I distinctly remember there being a very out of place speech by one of the characters at the very end of the book complaining about European socialism, when Europe had not even been mentioned up to that point.
posted by Joe Chip at 2:29 PM on February 12, 2011


Anyway, I'm going to download and seed it with an infinite ratio. Not because I expect to enjoy the movie, but because that would amuse me and that is acting in my own self interest.

Something tells me John Aglialoro will be jealously defending his private intellectual property against socialist pirates like you. He'll be acting as an individualist by using government regulations, the collectivist MPAA and the public courts, of course.
posted by clarknova at 2:39 PM on February 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


using government regulations, the collectivist MPAA and the public courts

All of which are perfectly acceptable objectivist actions.
posted by Ardiril at 2:51 PM on February 12, 2011


I'd like to see him take on a blatantly political movie and see whether he has smart, nuanced positions he's willing to joke about, or if he prefers to compartmentalize comedy from his political views.

I saw a live rifftrax performance a few days before the last elections, Nelson had no trouble making fun of conservatives/tea partiers.
posted by the bricabrac man at 3:24 PM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I recognized a couple of frequent Coen-bros players (Polito and Lerner, I think?), and it made me realize how much I wished the Coens were adapting Atlas Shrugged. That would be so fucking awesomely weird that I think my heart would stop.
posted by COBRA! at 3:34 PM on February 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


All of which are perfectly acceptable objectivist actions.

If you don't understand how that's a contradiction you might also believe there are no contradictions.
posted by clarknova at 3:41 PM on February 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


A contradiction to what? Please explain.
posted by Ardiril at 3:51 PM on February 12, 2011


I'm contradicting myself right now.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:22 PM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why ask useless questions?... How deep is the ocean?.. How high is the sky?.. Something about magnets?...

And the tides, what about the tides?
posted by the noob at 4:41 PM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Using collectivist means to enforce individualist desires? It's almost like there's a common hypocrisy in all individualist ideologies!
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:41 PM on February 12, 2011


Oh, does c-n mean how he tacked 'collectivst' onto MPAA to build a straw man when the adjective obviously does not apply?
posted by Ardiril at 5:09 PM on February 12, 2011


The two Star Wars trilogies have more intellectual heft than anything written by Ayn Rand.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:30 PM on February 12, 2011


That would have been funnier if you had just said Jar Jar Binks.
posted by Ardiril at 6:14 PM on February 12, 2011


"No," says the man making The Rapture, "it belongs to God."

Ahhh.... the Rapture is a good movie. I recommend it.
posted by dobbs at 6:30 PM on February 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


That would have been funnier if you had just said Jar Jar Binks.

I'm not trying to be funny I'm dead serious.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:37 PM on February 12, 2011


Oh, does c-n mean how he tacked 'collectivst' onto MPAA to build a straw man when the adjective obviously does not apply?
posted by Ardiril


To be honest, I read this and first thought, "well, he sort of has a point." And then I remembered that when trade organizations show up in Atlas Shrugged, they're unvaryingly painted as leech organizations working for the moochers (Jim Taggert likes them, Dagny and Rearden hate them). So yeah, it doesn't seem like MPAA enforcement is really in line with the True Rand Spirit.
posted by COBRA! at 6:39 PM on February 12, 2011


There are two things you can never get back in life

1. Your virginity
2. The time you spent reading Atlas Shrugged.


Actually, I believe these are customarily lost in the opposite order.
posted by escabeche at 6:51 PM on February 12, 2011 [7 favorites]


Sidhedevil: "The thing is that various groups try to astroturf movies all the time. They never succeed, from Battlefield Earth to everything Kirk Cameron has been in"


Oh, you're so silly. Kirk Cameron hasn't been in anything.


Old'n'Busted: "Well, then. Duke Nuken, Atlas Shrugged. Any takers on the third impossible thing"

Mick Jagger giving up spandex. Keith Richards giving up the ghost. Republicans treating women as fully autonomous entities capable of cognizant thought about their own uteri.

Yeah...none of those is ever gonna happen, I don't know what I was thinking...
posted by dejah420 at 8:01 PM on February 12, 2011


It's too bad this turned into such an enormous derail. In response to one of Jacqueline's points from way upthread, I'd just like to say that it's extremely disingenuous to posit that one categorically cannot analyze or interpret an author's fiction to parse a larger point they are making, particularly in the context of the work in question. To say that her novels are 'just novels' is facile at best, and ignores the entire field of literary criticism and theory (and this is true of anyone's writings, fictional or otherwise).
posted by nonmerci at 8:14 PM on February 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh, does c-n mean how he tacked 'collectivst' onto MPAA to build a straw man when the adjective obviously does not apply?

The adjective is perfectly appropriate. The MPAA is a non-profit, and exists to pool resources for the benefit of its members. In that sense it is a collective.

To make it less Objectivisim-friendly: it relies on the Patent & Trademark Office to protect its ratings system, copyright law to protect its members' property, and extensive use of the courts for enforcement. Taxpayers were levied at gunpoint (as a Randian might put it) to pay for these. As an NPO, however, it does not. So it is not only collectivist in and of itself, also feeds parasitically on a larger collective. Through lobbying it even expands this system. Through its ratings monopoly it limits what can be produced while itself producing nothing.

I think the man is made of sterner stuff than straw, here.
posted by clarknova at 8:32 PM on February 12, 2011 [7 favorites]


Is not a man entitled to the hurf of his durf?
posted by Snyder at 10:04 PM on February 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


Rand supported the use of patents, trademarks and copyrights as the legal implementation of intellectual property rights. Also, a system of courts is one of the three basic governmental functions. Your point is false in the first place, and distorting the definition of 'collective' beyond the objectivist definition does nothing to change that. Finally, Rand fully supported the exploitation of government benefits paid with "taxes levied at gunpoint" in the sense that "You have the right to take back was stolen in the first place."
posted by Ardiril at 12:45 AM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, and one other thing about (lower-case 'o') objectivism: If something seems hypocritical, too damn bad.
posted by Ardiril at 12:49 AM on February 13, 2011


IS A MAN NOT ENTITLED TO THE FAVORITES OF HIS POSTS?

NO, SAYS THE MEFITE, THEY BELONG TO MATHOWIE.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:02 AM on February 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ardiril: Rand supported the use of patents, trademarks and copyrights as the legal implementation of intellectual property rights. Also, a system of courts is one of the three basic governmental functions. Your point is false in the first place, and distorting the definition of 'collective' beyond the objectivist definition does nothing to change that. Finally, Rand fully supported the exploitation of government benefits paid with "taxes levied at gunpoint" in the sense that "You have the right to take back was stolen in the first place."

Content creator supports protection of copyright on works created?! I've never heard of such a thing!
posted by paisley henosis at 2:18 AM on February 13, 2011


Is not a man entitled to the hurf of his durf?

No, says the man going HERP DERP; it belongs to the WHARRGARBL.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 8:19 AM on February 13, 2011 [10 favorites]


Finally got around to watching the trailer for this. Man, a movie about business looks boring as fuck, eh?

The Fountainhead depicts a culture that's actively hostile to her preferred art, but she never suggests how to turn that culture more appreciative.

There is no solution to that. The best you can do is design for the few people out there who like your stuff, and ignore everyone else. Luckily for Howard, he worked in architecture and not television. I think the point she wanted to make is that the masses have no taste and prefer crap, so don't bother with 'em.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:06 AM on February 13, 2011


Ayn Rand movie endorses Obama Train Plan.
posted by scalefree at 10:25 AM on February 13, 2011


In the late 80s I had to pick up some concert tickets I won from a classic rock station in far west Omaha. It was on John Galt Blvd. I had assumed he was some local businessman done good or whatever.

Probably named for the novelist, not for the fictional character.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:36 AM on February 13, 2011


Five seconds after I started reading this post, my room-mate booted up Bioshock 2.

Which is probably a far more nuanced engaging of Rand's work than a straight adaptation of her books is ever going to be.
posted by egypturnash at 4:16 PM on February 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, if we elected an Objectivist to any position of power, wouldn't they automatically become a tyrant as they act in their rational self-interest?

[/willful misinterpretation]
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:12 PM on February 13, 2011


Strange but true: Elia Cmiral is the talented-but-poorly-represented composer responsible for the scores to both Battlefield Earth and Atlas Shrugged, as well as Wrong Turn and the Kristen Bell-starring remake of Pulse.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:45 PM on February 13, 2011


Strange but true: Grant Bowler, who plays Henry Reardon in Atlas Shrugged, played Captain Gault on Lost.
posted by WhackyparseThis at 12:43 AM on February 14, 2011


So, if we elected an Objectivist to any position of power, wouldn't they automatically become a tyrant as they act in their rational self-interest?


No. They would place gigantic financial bets which, upon losing, they would immediately engender government apparati to compensate themselves for their losses using future tax revenues, all the while bemoaning "socialism" and "big government".
posted by telstar at 1:02 AM on February 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


OTOH, if Joss Whedon regularly wrote some kind of bizzare half-baked philosophical tracts on relationships, you might well conclude that.

And Joss Whedon thinks at least one member of any happy couple should die in all of his TV shows. I don't think he advocates that for reality.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:08 AM on February 12 [1 favorite +] [!]

posted by r_nebblesworthII at 6:09 AM on February 14, 2011


Probably named for the novelist, not for the fictional character.

For what it's worth, the Douglas County Historical Society says that the street was "named for a character in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged who never arrives.... because the street did not go anywhere." (It's a 90° loop in a commercial park that houses businesses like the HQ of Omaha Steaks, and the aforementioned radio station.)
posted by dhartung at 10:06 AM on February 14, 2011


Many people are smart enough to invent or innovate, but they are not hard-working enough to profit from that talent. Actually, I think this is part of the Randian allure. Many teens and twenty-somethings realize they are smart enough to be the next Bill Gates. But at that point in life they are still not aware they just aren't hard-working enough.

Also, they may have not picked their parents carefully enough.

(I suspect Gates brought some significant focus and intelligence to the game as well, but I think it's crucial to recognize his other advantages and a certain amount of luck.)

A much smaller percentage are capable of inventing useful things and building/running large organizations, and the more complex you get in inventions/organizations (i.e. the more advanced your civilization becomes) the smaller the percentage of capable people gets.

Years ago as a Mathematics undergrad I sat through a few lectures by this guy. I'd say most people would agree Mathematical research is often both (a) quite specialized and technical (some would even say difficult and arcane) and (b) generally among some of the more useful stuff we do to increase our capabilities as a civilization. I'd say the relatively small percentage of the population capable of understanding Cannon's contributions would agree with the idea that not everybody is capable of doing his work.

But I recall him being pretty humble about it. In particular, I remember him saying something about his contributions being "his" ideas, and expressing that what seemed more likely to him over the aeons of time was that thousands upon thousands of individuals have probably thought most of the thoughts he's had, and so it is with most of the understanding there is to be had of the world.

This is something of an inversion of the usual narrative, which usually has us simplifying down the discovery or invention of something new through a single inventor, one Prometheus that brings fire down from the mountain. We have a little trouble with something like Calculus... Newton, right? Oh, right, Newton and Liebniz independently, right? Oh, Archimedes almost had it? Wait, there were dozens if not hundreds of other mathematicians who put the ideas on solid footing?

There probably really are some giants... I'd pick Gauss and Feynman and Tesla out of a crowd. But even they don't exist in a vacuum. They collaborate with a community of people doing work in their field. They are in various senses supported and enabled by a specialized society that takes care of other facts of life for them while they do this work. This, I think, is one of the points of the Bob the Angry Flower comic... not that the Randian great men would be opposed to manual labor and hard work (it's clear in The Fountainhead that Roark doesn't fear the quarry), but that they will necessarily have to spend more time on the mundane and less time on whatever their passion is.

That necessity may itself be the mother of certain labor inventions... but that's the curious thing. Laborers in my experience sometimes display the same inventiveness on a practical level. In fact, I'm going to tie that in with a phenomenon I've noticed in school classrooms and businesses. There are certain roles that you might think are tied to specific people -- say, troublemaker and smart guy -- until those people are gone. Once the "first chair", as it were, departs, it's not infrequent that the second chair steps up... and starts actually doing the job. There's something that goes on in terms of status and individual and group narratives. And while I do believe there is a range of capabilites, the funny thing is how often an "average" person can start doing really well at something once they decide they have a reason to.

What I'm saying would certainly be anathema to Rand... her supermen are completely unaffected by social dynamic, and their talent is raw and elemental. There may be some individuals who are so driven and gifted. But by and large, we're much more social creatures than our culture (and perhaps our psychology) teaches us to think.

A more concrete example of some of my recent thinking on that front: a conclusion I took from The Fountainhead as a young reader was that if you're going to do art, you should be unconcerned with what other people think, you should be concerned with perfecting your execution and voice instead, doing it because you have to. People who have "look at me" syndrome or are ostentatious about their status as artists -- people for whom it's about social identity and lifestyle -- really are just careerists and poseurs who lack integrity, right? Fairly straightforward reading of the text. The funny thing is that I actually have this internalized at a fairly deep level. But over the last few years it's been interesting to observe that some of the people I know who've taken this route have also spent more time working at their art and producing better and better stuff. I suspect what has happened is that they have first told the world a story about who they are, and now the people they know actually help reinforce their identity and habits.

It turns out that society isn't simply a drooling mindless beast that's trying to destroy the individual, it is a matrix for a variety of narratives (among other things) that you feed into it and it feeds back to you.

I think it also turns out that Rand's fundamental theme of Individualist vs Collectivist thinking is a false dichotomy.
posted by weston at 10:30 AM on February 14, 2011 [12 favorites]


Oh my god I am going to get so wasted and then watch this in a theater, laughing my ass off the whole time.

Good luck. Re Joe Beese's link:

"The film has not yet been picked up for distribution."

Hey, was that the Utz Potato Chip guy from "Mad Men"?

Hey, what's Patrick Fischler doing in there? In a bit part, too.

He's got quite the MeFi Double Feature this year: Red State and Atlas Shrugged, Part I.

Also, fantastic comment, weston.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:53 PM on February 14, 2011


not all "Randians" are assholes.

I'm optimistic that some day I'll find an example that proves you are right. To date, every last one of them (and I used to be one) has been an unmitigated ass.
posted by dgran at 11:33 AM on February 15, 2011


I loved this the first time when it was called Eastbound and Down.
posted by not_on_display at 11:37 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


"No," says the man making The Rapture, "it belongs to God."

Ahhh.... the Rapture is a good movie. I recommend it.


Whoops, I definitely meant to type "The Passion."
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 11:12 AM on February 16, 2011


Ok, since you took it back, I'll say I liked The Rapture. A lot.

(What is "The Passion"? The TV miniseries or The Mel Gibson?)

Oh, you didn't take it back. It was dobbs. Nevermind. Still, great movie. I haven't seen it since it came out. I'm gonna watch it again!
posted by mrgrimm at 11:40 AM on February 16, 2011


Ebert on The Rapture. Sorry, last one.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:08 PM on February 16, 2011


The Mel Gibson one, I'm too lazy to type out the whole stupid title. And I'll take it back, because I've never heard of The Rapture.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 3:53 PM on February 16, 2011


What the Rand defenders don't seem to understand is that there are billions of people out there, and the genetic diversity that represents ensures that there will always be someone just as capable out there. If the "Captains of Industry" all left from a town it might be a meaningful local protest, but on a global scale not so much. Somebody will always be there to step up to the plate.

As I type this I am listening to I am a rock.
posted by ambulocetus at 7:50 PM on February 16, 2011


I am an island.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:00 AM on February 17, 2011


I'm the ocean.
posted by philip-random at 9:11 AM on February 17, 2011


I am the sea.
posted by octothorpe at 9:37 AM on February 17, 2011


I am the Resurrection.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:42 AM on February 17, 2011


I am the Walrus.
posted by scalefree at 10:02 AM on February 17, 2011


I'm Spartacus!
posted by Trochanter at 10:06 AM on February 17, 2011


I am the greatest!
posted by Burhanistan at 10:20 AM on February 17, 2011


I am the owl.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:47 AM on February 17, 2011


I'm a little teapot, short & stout
Here is my handle & here is my spout.
posted by scalefree at 11:05 AM on February 17, 2011


I'm not gonna pay a lot for this muffler
posted by Trochanter at 11:26 AM on February 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am a banana.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 11:40 AM on February 17, 2011


I'm Popeye the Sailor Man.
posted by not_on_display at 12:25 PM on February 17, 2011


I'm thinking people gave up on the conceit of "I am [superlative totality]" and just started posting things that had "I am" in them.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:30 PM on February 17, 2011


I am not aware of too many things.
posted by not_on_display at 12:36 PM on February 17, 2011


just started posting things that had "I am" in them.

Free association, Dude. It's where 63.5% of made up statistics about comedy come from.
posted by Trochanter at 2:00 PM on February 17, 2011


I AM........MELAS KHOLE
posted by Existential Dread at 8:48 PM on February 17, 2011


Henry Reardon comes home

3 minutes 40 seconds from Atlas Shrugged 1.
posted by philip-random at 4:14 PM on February 24, 2011


I only made it about 2 minutes through that clip. Yikes, that was awkward and stilted.
posted by octothorpe at 4:33 PM on February 24, 2011


high fucking 5 on the meineke reference
posted by nathancaswell at 7:39 PM on February 24, 2011


Henry Reardon comes home

I remember Arrested Development being funnier.
posted by cortex at 9:28 PM on February 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


The clip is actually better than I thought it would be. Some of the awkwardness and stiltedness actually comes from the way Rand writes her characters. The non-heroic characters are intended to sound stilted and inane ("oh, I'm unappreciative! Oh, you're oh so selfish!"); the heroic ones are intended to sound unconventional, strong, and blunt. I think whoever put this scene together probably took some of the edge off of it.

The production values are also higher than I thought they'd be. They still look like they're trying to telegraph high quality rather than just being high quality, but it's going to be good enough for most people.

The biggest problem I see with that clip is that the "wire it to my account" exchange doesn't make any sense. Why not take the check and just deposit it, and write your own check? The source is going to be equally obscure at that point. Of course, here we get into the fact that Rand can write her villains and patsies a number of different ways: perhaps the writer realizes the problem I just point out, but perhaps the character wants to humiliate Rearden, or perhaps he is stupid, and she wants to show these qualities, and so the scene itself is indeed telegraphing its punches: this guy is a leech and an ungrateful one at that.

I'm going to have to go back and read AS, though, because as I think about this, the weird thing to me as a reader of Rand's work is that her superman has any trouble negotiating this at all. He seems to not notice the problem with the "wire it to my account" bit. He seems to care about what people think. It occurs to me that AS might be that much more effective with the protagonists being more in the mold of demigods who struggle in the journey to completion to Randian godhood than someone like Roark who just Is. The reader who internalizes that journey is probably going down the road to objectivism more quickly than the one who merely beholds the ideal, and I now half suspect this is why AS is Rand's highest profile work.
posted by weston at 11:27 AM on February 25, 2011


This trailer sparked a chain of thought with me that has me very seriously considering a new webcomic project aimed at satirizing Atlas Shrugged. To feel that out, I'm rereading it, and it's a really weird experience for me... I'd read the book before, and of course knew that I had problems with it. But reading it really closely, with an eye to satirizing it, I honestly can't believe that anybody takes this mendacious piece of crap seriously... if anything, I feel like a sucker for sitting down and subjecting myself to it again.

I mean, Jesus. Among the many, many things that drive me nuts, the worst is that Rand absolutely isn't arguing in good faith. Any character who isn't one of her heroes is a moron; to me, the fact that she felt like she needed an army of strawmen to illustrate her point really winds up highlighting what weak sauce she's selling.

And her grasp of human psychology literally blows my mind. Did this woman ever speak to a human being in her life? I honestly want to know- people who take this shit seriously, do they just ignore the bits about relationships, or do they spend all of their time explaining to their significant others how there's a delicate balance of love and loathing that leads to a mocking grin arf arf arf.

Fuck. I don't know- part of me says this book's too fucked-up to be worth satirizing. Part of me says it'd be really unpleasant to have a bunch of sociopaths in my head for 9 months. Part of me thinks that Bioshock pretty much did what needed to be done.

On the other hand, I think there are some pretty good jokes buried in there.
posted by COBRA! at 12:05 PM on February 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


COBRA - in case you didn't catch it earlier: the short weird story of my attempt to write a parody of ATLAS SHRUGGED.
posted by philip-random at 11:51 AM on February 26, 2011


This trailer sparked a chain of thought with me that has me very seriously considering a new webcomic project aimed at satirizing Atlas Shrugged...

I've mentioned it in other posts, but Matt Ruff's Gas, Sewer & Electric does a fine job of skewering Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged, which is described as, "Das Kapital for capitalists, with chase scenes and heavy petting."

He also has an good collection of links to Rand-related sources on his site.

He mentions It Usually Begins with Ayn Rand, which was a semi-popular Rand satire from the early '70s.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:35 AM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


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