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July 13, 2006 12:04 PM   Subscribe

Keep on Shrugging: apparently the planned film of Ayn Rand's much-beloved Atlas Shrugged -- a chief vehicle for her philosophy "Objectivism" -- is moving ahead. It's now planned as a trilogy and has a studio, a (draft) script, funding, and (tentatively) Angelina Jolie as Dagny Taggart (the star) -- she's apparently a big fan. For background, here's the Objectivism Mockery links page, including the brilliant, now-vanished "Objectifism."
posted by grobstein (107 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh, oops, here's an archived version of "Objectifism." It's a pretty awesome (insulting) take on Objectivism and Rand enthusiasm. It's totally juvenile, of course, but it would be silly to deploy only serious argument against a movement whose attraction has so much to do with the perception of coolness.
posted by grobstein at 12:07 PM on July 13, 2006


Angelina Jolie doesn't exactly strike me as a cutthroat capitalist.
posted by QuarterlyProphet at 12:12 PM on July 13, 2006


My favorite 2-second mockery
posted by anthill at 12:16 PM on July 13, 2006


This seems like a reasonable occasion to link to Atlas Dined.
posted by Wolfdog at 12:17 PM on July 13, 2006


That mockery page is full of dead links.
posted by absalom at 12:18 PM on July 13, 2006


Rats. Sorry.
posted by grobstein at 12:20 PM on July 13, 2006


Longer version.
posted by Wolfdog at 12:21 PM on July 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


oh god.
posted by jimmy at 12:22 PM on July 13, 2006


Jamie Foxx as Francisco d'Anconia!

I cannot see how a three-part movie could work from a box-office perspective. Besides, the plot needs a major update anyway (while retaining the novel's objectivist basis), so a 2 1/2 hour movie should be workable.
posted by mischief at 12:25 PM on July 13, 2006


Written above the urinal at the bar next door:

"Who is John Galt?" <--- "Who is three year's old?"
posted by jon_kill at 12:32 PM on July 13, 2006


I'm all about "Objective Hate" right now, you pussies...
posted by SweetJesus at 12:33 PM on July 13, 2006


According to this, John Galt might be Brad Pitt. It's going to be a celebudrama.
posted by iconomy at 12:34 PM on July 13, 2006


My unsolicited advice would be to pack it all into one big movie, which should be doable if they cut the second through twelfth paragraphs of each person's line of dialogue.

I really think it could work as a kind of political thriller if it's kept taut, but three movies? Are American audiences really gonna flock back to theaters to find out the answer to "Who is John Galt?" I mean, it's not exactly "Who shot J.R.," ya know?
posted by soyjoy at 12:36 PM on July 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


mmmm... railroad drama...
posted by bshort at 12:41 PM on July 13, 2006


Angelina Jolie is no less batshit insane then Tom Cruise. If you don't believe it, that's fine, but in a few years I have a feeling that will be the universally held opinion.
posted by cell divide at 12:42 PM on July 13, 2006


oh god.
posted by teferi at 12:46 PM on July 13, 2006


Jamie Foxx as Francisco d'Anconia!

I still say it should be Sacha Baron Cohen doing an outrageously fake Latin accent, and that Billy Bob Thornton should play Hank Reardon.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 12:49 PM on July 13, 2006


And Kevin McDonald as Jimmy Taggart.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 12:49 PM on July 13, 2006


I have not read Atlas Shrugged yet. Would somebody mind briefly summarizing it for me please.

Thank you.
posted by Cookiebastard at 12:50 PM on July 13, 2006


what's with the spurious "r" in "daft"?
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 12:50 PM on July 13, 2006


Something about this:

Here's some information that Bidinotto probably doesn't have, but which we were able to glean thanks to our global contacts: the daughter of LFB owner Kathleen Nelson, Jennifer, "hates the idea" of Jolie as Dagny. Jennifer wants to play Dagny and thinks the moviemakers should hold off production until she's ready to take on the role. "Maybe the producers 'get it,' but the actors they apparently want to cast do not. They're going to have a hell of a directing job on their hands...ugh."

Makes me think this is some kind of joke.

I'm no fan of Rand's "philosophy," so I can't say I'm objective (no pun intended,) but I can't think of a worse idea than this movie. Atlas Shrugged is boring, boring, boring - and then it becomes stupid, stupid, stupid.
posted by elwoodwiles at 12:51 PM on July 13, 2006


Ugh. I can almost hear all the smug upper middle class white ninth graders talking about how great the movie is already.

I was ambivalent about the story as I was reading it up to the point where Dagny ditches Eddie, literally leaving him for dead. I remember thinking "What the hell? Eddie's a nice guy..."

From that point to the end of the book I was rooting for the main character's deaths. What I find most ironic about all of Ayn Rand's books is that she is a lousy writer and a second rate philosopher.

And Brad Pitt playing John Galt? Perfect.

"John Galt, meet Tyler Durden."
posted by Pastabagel at 12:53 PM on July 13, 2006


jon_kill writes "'Who is John Galt?' <--- 'Who is three year's old?'"


C'mon, let's be fair.

15.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:53 PM on July 13, 2006


bah. 3 movies? rrright {/sarcasm}. 1 movie if they strip out everything tedious... wait... 1 afterschool special for twerps if they strip out everything tedious. Christ on a Ram chip, Ayn Rand has to be one of the most overhyped "philosophers" that ever lived.
posted by edgeways at 12:59 PM on July 13, 2006


My favorite take on the philosophical rigor of objectivism comes from Metafilter, actually.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:59 PM on July 13, 2006


Oscar Shrugged
posted by staggernation at 1:00 PM on July 13, 2006


Atlas Shrugged: The summary

The smart and capable people in the world, who become ealthy titans of industry through their brilliance and effectiveness feel slighted by "society", so the conspire to disappear from the world and let civilization fall into ruin without them....

Sorry I have to stop right there. The book is god-awful.

Let me summarize it a different way. Brilliant and capable people shouldn't give a shit about anyone who isn't as brilliant and capable as they are. Selfishness is good.

Imagine the movie "Wall Street". Gordon Gekko saying "Greed is good, greed is right" etc. Now imagine Gordon Gekko is the hero, and at the end he overcomes the socialist SEC and that moral traitor Budd Fox.
posted by Pastabagel at 1:01 PM on July 13, 2006


I guess Hollywood really did manage to get rid of its lefties during the witch hunt. How else can you explain making a movie based on a book by a woman who so thoroughly, and stupidly, sold them out?
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:06 PM on July 13, 2006


Sacha Cohen may be a hard sell after Talladega Nights.

A black Francisco would throw major "update" into the story from many different angles, especially as Dagny's former lover and a destroyer of modern industry.
posted by mischief at 1:09 PM on July 13, 2006


Better Objectivism than Scientology — hey, at least it's an ethos, dude.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:16 PM on July 13, 2006


Scientology is fascinating and wrong-headed, whereas Objectivism is quickly tedious and wrong-headed. Advantage: Scientology.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 1:18 PM on July 13, 2006


This will be Objectivism's Battlefield Earth. I look forward to the reviews.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:19 PM on July 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


how did objectivism ever come to be taken seriously by anyone? i'm genuinely curious.
posted by jimmy at 1:23 PM on July 13, 2006


OC: unfortunately, that's what I think as well.

jimmy: The same way christianity came to be taken seriously.
posted by mischief at 1:25 PM on July 13, 2006


The abridged Atlas Shrugged.
posted by gigawhat? at 1:29 PM on July 13, 2006


I liked this from "Objectifism":
You have probably notices by now that not every essay is up there by now. This is because I use a Mac.
posted by languagehat at 1:30 PM on July 13, 2006


My favorite objectivism parody was Forum 2000 (some of the best answers archived for all time I hope), now long dead. This is probably the best answer ever.

Forum 2000, for those of you too young to remember, was allegedly a "matrix like" computer program that featured SOMADS that would answer your questions, kind of like at The Conversatron (which is also defunct - here are their top answers). Anyhow, the Ayn Rand SOMAD took over the system and for about a year, it was an awesome Mockery of Objectivism.

The Forum 2000 Ayn Rand SOMAD's definition of Objectivism was "A is A, I am right, you are wrong, qua qua qua qua qua qua qua."

Ah, how I miss that site.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:32 PM on July 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


so the conspire to disappear from the world and let civilization fall into ruin without them....

On Golgafrinchan Ark Fleet Ship B, I presume.
posted by hangashore at 1:37 PM on July 13, 2006


Atlas Shrugged predates The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by about 30 years. If that was your point.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 1:43 PM on July 13, 2006


Let me summarize it a different way. Brilliant and capable people shouldn't give a shit about anyone who isn't as brilliant and capable as they are. Selfishness is good.
posted by Pastabagel at 1:01 PM PST


Many of them have guns, and are happy to use 'em to take what you have brilliantly and capably acquire.

So giving a shit about others does matter to your bottom line.
posted by rough ashlar at 1:45 PM on July 13, 2006


Every year, fresh-faced high schoolkids will come into my bookstore looking for copies of an Ayn Rand book. It's almost always clear that they know nothing of the book and are looking to go for an "easy" scholarship. I feel sorry for them.

Meanwhile, I'm annoyed by the twenty-something Rand fans that have had their Girlfriends sheepishly ask where the Rand books are. I've always been tempted to tell them to find it themselves.
posted by drezdn at 1:49 PM on July 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


Are you guys seriously saying this movie will suck because the philosophy makes no sense!? What about The Matrix? That had bargain basement philosophy too. What about Fight Club? Ghostbusters? Snakes on a motherfucking plane?

The best films come from the stupidest ideas.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 1:51 PM on July 13, 2006


twenty-something Rand fans that have had their Girlfriends sheepishly ask where the Rand books are

Please tell me you're making that bit up. 'Cos otherwise I'm going to die of cringe.
posted by everichon at 1:54 PM on July 13, 2006


So giving a shit about others does matter to your bottom line.

Not according to the book. ;-)
posted by grubi at 1:59 PM on July 13, 2006


I'll watch it if Paul Verhoeven directs.
posted by Makoto at 2:00 PM on July 13, 2006


Objectivism is like a night out with an expensive hooker... It's a fantastic, magical, hedonistic experience - but once you have time to reflect on it, you realize it was just a self serving fantasy. I loved the book when I read it for a few of it's simpler messages... Unfortunately, it's a tad bit naive in it's conclusions.
posted by lexpattison at 2:00 PM on July 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


Many of them have guns, and are happy to use 'em to take what you have brilliantly and capably acquire.

So giving a shit about others does matter to your bottom line.


rough ashlar, it sounds like you're arguing with what you perceive as a comment from Pastabagel rather than a summary of the Atlas Shrugged philosophy.

Moreover, according to that philosophy, those with guns will only succeed in shooting each other, if anything, because their will and markmanship have both been sapped by years of socialist-inflected government policy, leaving the brilliant titans free to step over their dessicated corpses while lighting their "dollar" cigarettes.
posted by soyjoy at 2:06 PM on July 13, 2006


What strikes me as amazing is that anybody can actually read Atlas Shrugged. I've read software mauals that were better page-turners. I can only think of two or three books that I've given up on as quickly as I gave up on trying to read that steaming pile of objectivism.
posted by lekvar at 2:07 PM on July 13, 2006


Oh god help us. I never met a nice person who liked this brick of a book. Every single copy I have ever sold has been to an insufferably arrogant, self-righteous fuck.

Luckily I don't think there are actually enough insufferably arrogant, self-righteous fucks in the world to make the film a success.* And it can't be anything but a phenomenal bore, no matter how much thespian eye candy is on screen, because the book is unreadable. Unless of course, you are an IASRF.

* Though I recall saying something similar about The Passion of Christ.
posted by pootler at 2:08 PM on July 13, 2006


I'll watch it if Paul Verhoeven directs.

I'll watch it if Jean-Luc Godard directs. And plays John Galt himself. And has Bardot play Ayn Rand, running in and out of the frame screaming at everyone in an aged croak.
posted by languagehat at 2:19 PM on July 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


I'll watch it if Jean-Luc Godard directs. And plays John Galt himself. And has Bardot play Ayn Rand, running in and out of the frame screaming at everyone in an aged croak.

I'll buy the popcorn, languagehat.
posted by mkhall at 2:28 PM on July 13, 2006


jimmy: how did objectivism ever come to be taken seriously by anyone?

It's her novels. Impressionable high school students read them.

A 1994 USENET posting:
Let me say that in my opinion, Ayn Rand is no more than a competent storyteller with delusions of grandeur. However, she provides a product which is very difficult to find elsewhere. Her subject is the romance of ability, specifically ability in business. There are hints of this in George Eliot and quite a bit of it buried in fifth-rate SF novels. Perhaps it is also Horatio Alger's stock-in-trade, but I haven't read him. In any event, this theme appeals to many high school students, particularly technically-oriented students. Many of them swallow Rand hook, line, and sinker, and later suffer from gastric distress.
Followup.
posted by russilwvong at 2:29 PM on July 13, 2006


the twenty-something Rand fans that have had their Girlfriends

Show me one Randroid with a girlfriend!
posted by mischief at 2:32 PM on July 13, 2006


Rand's books are like Transformers toys. They're appealing to to young people, they're the keystone of an imaginary world, and the cover art is better than the actual product.

They're both about to appear in theaters again. Guess which of the two worlds I'd rather revisit?
posted by elderling at 2:33 PM on July 13, 2006


Has anyone else heard that George Clooney may direct?
posted by iconomy at 2:35 PM on July 13, 2006


A student of mine I deeply disliked despite all his brilliance for being a total asshole during class discussions made me his Facebook friend. When I checked his profile, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged were among his favorite books...
posted by beguemot at 2:46 PM on July 13, 2006


#jimmy: how did objectivism ever come to be taken seriously by anyone?

teenage nerds who think they are smarter than everybody else see it as salvation for the fact that nobody likes them.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 2:50 PM on July 13, 2006


Ah, wow. When I was doing my grad work in Philosophy, one of my undergrads quoted Rynd extensively in an essay.

He didn't do so hot.

I feel sorry for my former colleagues who'll be marking papers after this movie comes out.
posted by generichuman at 2:54 PM on July 13, 2006


Objectivism has it's place. Mostly as a theory for a fantasy world. It is a direct result of the philosophy of Werber Erhard's Erhard Seminar Training, otherwise referred to as EST seminars. The sole teaching of this philosophy was "ME". It created the "Me Generation" of self-indulgent yuppies and was founded in theories formed by former Freud student Wilhem Reich. The same Wilhelm Reich who died in ignomy after going fully and thoroughly mad. He also came up with Orgone Energy.

Yeah, selfishness. It's a great way get people to work with you and help make you great. I swear it's a plot to get anyone who aspires to be great to derail thier lives so those in power can stay in power. Kind of like modern politics.
posted by daq at 2:59 PM on July 13, 2006


And a soundtrack by Rush?
posted by Flashman at 3:05 PM on July 13, 2006


"Ugh. I can almost hear all the smug upper middle class white ninth graders talking about how great the movie is already."

Heh, most of them will buy into Marx as a means of disowning their parents.

The real question is: do Marxist Zombies run faster than Objectivist ones?

For my money, old school Stoicism was the original Objectivism and it's better in every way.
posted by kid ichorous at 3:06 PM on July 13, 2006


For my money, old school Stoicism was the original Objectivism and it's better in every way.

Better, sure, but where's the connection?
posted by grobstein at 3:08 PM on July 13, 2006


See, now I didn't think it was possible to take Angelina Jolie less seriously.
posted by tula at 3:21 PM on July 13, 2006


They do arrive at some different conclusions, but, to me, both philosophies support an idealized "apathy" or "objectivity" as a foundational virtue from which the other virtues and objective reality could be deduced.

On a personal note: one of my gripes with Objectivism in practice is that it doesn't burden the practitioner to be "objective" enough: it performs these interrogations of our human society and the "quaint" morals that guide us outwardly, but not for the many lusts and impulses that drive us inwardly. In my experience, Objectivism exhorts you not to be a slave of other people, but doesn't seem to take the same hard stance on being a slave to your own hormones, your moods, your irrational ambitions and desires. Stoicism seems much better about that.
posted by kid ichorous at 3:32 PM on July 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


Ayn Rand is just a more soft-spoken Ann Coulter.
posted by xmutex at 3:38 PM on July 13, 2006


...Her subject is the romance of ability, specifically ability in business. There are hints of this in George Eliot and quite a bit of it buried in fifth-rate SF novels... In any event, this theme appeals to many high school students, particularly technically-oriented students. Many of them swallow Rand hook, line, and sinker, and later suffer from gastric distress.



8 years later and I'm still trying to get Randian thoughts out of my system.
posted by Brainy at 3:54 PM on July 13, 2006


My money's on this not happening. Any takers?
posted by dobbs at 3:54 PM on July 13, 2006


I had to write a paper on Rand for high school. I called Objectivism shortsighted and silly, and gave Atlas Shrugged about as negative a review as I could.

My teacher said she showed the paper to some colleagues and it pissed them off. She gave me an A.
posted by Foosnark at 4:11 PM on July 13, 2006


Frankly I can't imagine that the plodding literary monster that is Atlas Shrugged could possibly make for a good movie. The Fountainhead would have been a much better pick.
posted by clevershark at 4:20 PM on July 13, 2006


rough ashlar writes "Many of them have guns, and are happy to use 'em to take what you have brilliantly and capably acquire.

"So giving a shit about others does matter to your bottom line."


So you should care about others because deep down inside you know that they are savages and that given the chance they'll kill you?

I'd hate to live in your world.
posted by clevershark at 4:26 PM on July 13, 2006


Oh this is going to be so bad. The more faithful it is to the original text, the worse it will be. I'll go Optimus Chyme one better & say this could actually do the impossible & be worse than Battlefield Earth. I can't imagine the nightmare of directing this with Rand's intellectual heirs underfoot. What they should do is make a documentary about the filming of the movie - I'd pay top dollar for that.
posted by scalefree at 4:39 PM on July 13, 2006


Foosnark - bestest teature evah!
posted by Artw at 4:46 PM on July 13, 2006


The Fountainhead would have been a much better pick.

You may right.
posted by flickroad at 4:47 PM on July 13, 2006


..may be...
posted by flickroad at 4:54 PM on July 13, 2006


...it was kinda boring really, but funny if you watch it while drinking cocktails.
posted by tula at 5:33 PM on July 13, 2006


See, now I didn't think it was possible to take Angelina Jolie less seriously.

I'm no fan of Jolie's, but a quick google search shows that the only report of Jolie liking this book is in reference this article. She is rather outspoken for her charity work and supporting government aid to Africa. Those seem rather out of place for an Ayn Rand fan.

The one thing the 56 hour audiobook taught me is that Ayn Rand followers are crazy people. They're there so that regular capitalists (or even run of the mill libertarians) don't have to feel like extremists.
posted by Gary at 5:44 PM on July 13, 2006


"Xmutex: Ayn Rand is just a more soft-spoken Ann Coulter."

But Rand is an extreme libertarian, and some of her heroes are practically anarchists. Coulter seems more like a fascist - she demonizes anyone who questions the government and the absolute rule of law, personal liberties be damned.
posted by kid ichorous at 5:53 PM on July 13, 2006


Rand's books are like Transformers toys...They're both about to appear in theaters again. Guess which of the two worlds I'd rather revisit?

I see a crossover!

John Galt: [surprised] Prime.
Optimus Prime: One shall stand, one shall fall.
John Galt: Why throw away your life so recklessly?
Optimus Prime: That's a question you should ask YOURSELF, Galt.

Then Optimus Prime defends earth against the massed forces of the Objecticons!


It occurs to me that it's unlikely that Angelina Jolie truly understands and follows Ayn Rand. As I recall, she gives money to the poor in third world countries. Wouldn't Rand have disapproved of that?
posted by unreason at 5:56 PM on July 13, 2006


On preview, what Gary said.
posted by unreason at 5:56 PM on July 13, 2006


I'm sure Angelina Jolie isn't an actual Randian, but her interest in Rand's work is not totally new and has been reported outside of the two references in the FPP (e.g. on TV in '04).

Depending on whose tortured interpretation of Rand you believe, charitable work might be consistent with Objectifism (see Branden referred to here) but, yeah, the best interpretation of Jolie's failure to become totally selfish despite her professed admiration of Rand is just that she doesn't actually take the ideas seriously.
posted by grobstein at 6:29 PM on July 13, 2006


The "Objectifism" page reminded me of a similar, even more gonzo parody: RAND IS MY GOD (warning: ALL CAPS, eye-melting color choices, and gratuitous usage of the blink tag)

Also, not a parody, but one of the most batshitinsane cults I think I've ever seen: NEO-TECH ZONPOWER! Yes, it's basically a hybrid of Scientology and Objectivism. "Zonpower" sounds like something out of an 80s Saturday morning action cartoon, which is appropriate, since my general impression of Ayn Rand's philosophy is that it is fit only for 80s Saturday morning cartoon villains.

Someday, though, I'm going to actually read all of Atlas Shrugged, just because mockery is always improved when it comes from a place of true understanding. I'm worried, though, that the sheer intellectual power of the arguments contained therein will convert me to communism.
posted by a louis wain cat at 7:19 PM on July 13, 2006


I always wonder if people would be so enamored of "Randian philosophy", whether in its content or it style, if she had kept her birth name; Ayn Rand sounds sleek and modern and cold, but Alisa Rosenbaum is that girl with braces you knew from summer camp who lived in Roslyn, Long Island.
posted by Asparagirl at 7:34 PM on July 13, 2006


[Warning: Spoiler]


posted by cenoxo at 7:36 PM on July 13, 2006


grobstein writes "...the best interpretation of Jolie's failure to become totally selfish despite her professed admiration of Rand is just that she doesn't actually take the ideas seriously."

I can understand this; regardless of what you think of her ideas, Rand certainly stands on her own as an absolutely fascinating person. She was one of a kind, and a self-made woman in every sense. There's definitely something to admire there.
posted by mr_roboto at 7:36 PM on July 13, 2006


Rand's objectivism always pissed me off because it shares a name with the objectivist school in poetry (Pound, W.C. Williams, George Oppen, E. E. Cummings) which I'm a big fan of and has nothing to do with it.
posted by juv3nal at 7:44 PM on July 13, 2006


It occurs to me that it's unlikely that Angelina Jolie truly understands and follows Ayn Rand. As I recall, she gives money to the poor in third world countries. Wouldn't Rand have disapproved of that?

Capitalist heroics can't turn a profit without exploiting the third world. Keeping cheaper labor alive long enough to make your widget or sell your next movie to celebrity-struck min-wage zombies in America is all just part of keeping the "greater good" meme alive.
posted by Mr. Six at 8:24 PM on July 13, 2006


Randians are atheists. In Atlas Shrugged she writes:
...if devotion to truth is the hallmark of morality, then there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.... the alleged short-cut to knowledge, which is faith, is only a short-circuit destroying the mind. [Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged]
How anti-religious is Atlas Shrugged? If a lot, I expect Christian protests and boycotts around the movie.

This could be fun.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 8:33 PM on July 13, 2006


No discussion of Ayn Rand is complete without a visit to St. Aardvark the Carpeted.
posted by nanojath at 8:39 PM on July 13, 2006


#nanojath: that site is an unholy mix of
Ayn with the SubGenui
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 8:51 PM on July 13, 2006


How anti-religious is Atlas Shrugged? If a lot, I expect Christian protests and boycotts around the movie.

The published text doesn't really cover religion much, but I seem to remember reading that an early draft had a catholic priest making the journey to realized objectivist or somesuch.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 8:58 PM on July 13, 2006


Also, not a parody, but one of the most batshitinsane cults I think I've ever seen: NEO-TECH ZONPOWER!

Ha! I actually have one of the Neo-Tech books, found it in a used bookstore & snapped it up. Plus, the one-time arch-enemy of Neo-Tech, Kaiser Soze, is a friend of mine. Yeah, they're pretty wacky with their Civilization of the Universe nonsense & obsession with "neo-cheaters". I never did figure out what a neo-cheater was. It's a small-time con compared to some of the big cults though. There was a lot of bizarre language in it but I don't think any of them really took it seriously. It was more of a metaphoric thing I think, you were supposed to see through it on your path to personal power. That or they really were batshit insane.
posted by scalefree at 9:12 PM on July 13, 2006


Can I just say how happy I am that the Internet has developed intellectually to the point where we can freely mock Objectivism? Seriously, if this had been a Usenet thread fifteen years ago, it would have turned into a flame war, and the Objectivists might well have the advantage of numbers.
posted by moss at 9:26 PM on July 13, 2006


I think part of it is MeFi is a gated community & they can't send out their bat signal to swarm the point of conflict. I bet you'd have a harder time of it out in a random open forum. They still seem to be able to muster the numbers to push Rand's books ridiculously high on various "Best Books of the 20th Century" lists.
posted by scalefree at 9:39 PM on July 13, 2006


#scalefree: They still seem to be able to muster the numbers to push Rand's books ridiculously high on various "Best Books of the 20th Century" lists.

A google of "best books" "ayn rand" (31,600 hits) seems to prove your point.

I then looked at the Random House "reader's list". WOW. The fanboys/fangirls have been really active. If you prune out the rabid voters (Randianism, Scientoligists, SciFi, and I don't know what) there is only some decent writing in this list.
1 ATLAS SHRUGGED by Ayn Rand
2 THE FOUNTAINHEAD by Ayn Rand
3 BATTLEFIELD EARTH by L. Ron Hubbard
4 THE LORD OF THE RINGS by J.R.R. Tolkien
5 TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee
6 1984 by George Orwell
7 ANTHEM by Ayn Rand
8 WE THE LIVING by Ayn Rand
9 MISSION EARTH by L. Ron Hubbard
10 FEAR by L. Ron Hubbard
11 ULYSSES by James Joyce
12 CATCH-22 by Joseph Heller
13 THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald
14 DUNE by Frank Herbert
15 THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS by Robert Heinlein
16 STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND by Robert Heinlein
17 A TOWN LIKE ALICE by Nevil Shute
18 BRAVE NEW WORLD by Aldous Huxley
19 THE CATCHER IN THE RYE by J.D. Salinger
20 ANIMAL FARM by George Orwell
21 GRAVITY'S RAINBOW by Thomas Pynchon
22 THE GRAPES OF WRATH by John Steinbeck
23 SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE by Kurt Vonnegut
24 GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell
25 LORD OF THE FLIES by William Golding
26 SHANE by Jack Schaefer
27 TRUSTEE FROM THE TOOLROOM by Nevil Shute
28 A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY by John Irving
29 THE STAND by Stephen King
30 THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT'S WOMAN by John Fowles
31 BELOVED by Toni Morrison
32 THE WORM OUROBOROS by E.R. Eddison
33 THE SOUND AND THE FURY by William Faulkner
34 LOLITA by Vladimir Nabokov
35 MOONHEART by Charles de Lint
36 ABSALOM, ABSALOM! by William Faulkner
37 OF HUMAN BONDAGE by W. Somerset Maugham
38 WISE BLOOD by Flannery O'Connor
39 UNDER THE VOLCANO by Malcolm Lowry
40 FIFTH BUSINESS by Robertson Davies
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 10:51 PM on July 13, 2006


Wow, that's amazing. It's like a perfectly realized demonstration of why not to trust internet polls.

Although it is nice to have a definitive answer to how Ayn Rand, L. Ron Hubbard, and Robert Heinlein rank in terms of fan loyalty.
posted by moss at 11:36 PM on July 13, 2006


"I've always been tempted to tell them to find it themselves."

Oh, drezdn, yield to temptation, for that is too perfect.

My personal favorite;

"I'm a libertarian!"

"Ah, moving to Mogadishu, are we?"

"Excuse me?"

"Never mind..."
posted by dglynn at 11:44 PM on July 13, 2006


They should let Matt Ruff write the screenplay. Sewer, Gas, & Electric was very much like a blockbuster film and made me love Ayn Rand as a comedic character.
posted by painquale at 1:26 AM on July 14, 2006


Can I just say how happy I am that the Internet has developed intellectually to the point where we can freely mock Objectivism?

Nah, it's just that most of the old usenet objectivists couldn't find the five bucks to join.
posted by bonehead at 6:07 AM on July 14, 2006


cenoxo: That was brilliant.

Makes me think the post title should be "Who is John Gelt?"
posted by languagehat at 6:18 AM on July 14, 2006


What I find most ironic about all of Ayn Rand's books is that she is a lousy writer and a second rate philosopher.

NARRATOR: She could have been a legendary romance novelist. Instead, she chose a different path....
posted by lodurr at 10:01 AM on July 14, 2006


Maybe the third movie will just be John Galt's big monologue at the end. That should be exciting !
posted by rfs at 10:06 AM on July 14, 2006


"My Dinner With John Galt"? Will Wallace Shawn write the screenplay?
posted by lodurr at 10:53 AM on July 14, 2006


I thought the whole thing had to be a joke when I first heard about it...

I don't actually find Atlas Shrugged to be the most insufferable of her books. Anthem fills that bill, nicely, for me. It's offensive -- blatant pandering to the adolescent male mindset. She had a bizarre ability to understand the mindset of a 15 year old American boy. "Look at me, I'm so misunderstood that I have to go and live in a sewer! My IDEAS are DANGEROUS! You can't deal with me because you're ALL HYPOCRITES." At least her other novels can pass for halfway decent crap-romance-fiction.
posted by lodurr at 10:58 AM on July 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


For unreason:

Hymn to Energon

by Nay Dran, Objecticon Leader

So you think that energon is the root of all evil. Have you ever asked what is the root of energon? Energon is a tool of exchange, which can't exist unless there are goods produced, and there are Transformers able to produce them. Energon is the material shape of the principle that Transformers who wish to deal with one another must do so by trade, and give value for value. Energon is not the tool of the Autobots, who claim your product by tears, or of the Decepticons, who take it from you by force. Energon is made possible only by Transformers who produce. Is this what you consider evil?
posted by elderling at 1:23 PM on July 14, 2006 [3 favorites]


I was one of those rabid Ayn Rand fans in high school. Then I got a job in the real world. I was pretty depressed when my clear intellectual superiority didn't lead to me running the company after six months.

I'm still bitter. Fuck you, Ayn Rand.
posted by liet at 3:49 PM on July 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


You always could have gotten off your ass and started your own company...
posted by Tenuki at 6:22 PM on July 14, 2006


liet, the problem was that your shoulders were not broad enough. Sorry.
posted by soyjoy at 9:54 AM on July 17, 2006


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