This Objectivist Gives Atlas Shrugged Part I a Hearty Thumbs Up!

David Kelley of The Atlas Society was at yesterday's world premier pre-screening of Atlas Shrugged Part I (as were several Reasoners, me included). So????

The skeptics are wrong. The completed film was shown today for the first time in a private screening. It is simply beautiful. With a screenplay faithful to the narrative and message of the novel, the adaptation is lushly produced. The acting, cinematography, and score create a powerful experience of the story.

Taylor Schilling is riveting as Dagny Taggart [...]

For over half a century, Rand's novel has been a lightning rod for controversy. It has attracted millions of devoted fans—and legions of hostile critics. A poor adaptation could be ignored by both sides. This adaptation can't be ignored. It is way too good. It is going to turbocharge the debate over Rand’s vision of capitalism as a moral ideal. Whether you love the novel or hate it, Atlas Shrugged Part I is a must-see film.

Kelley does inject a mild lament about the non-gravitas of the Galt scenes, which I would second and even third.

My five-word movie review as someone who hasn't read the book is that lovers, haters will both enjoy (for different reasons, obviously). You cared about the story and the protagonists, the look and sound were mostly (and surprisingly) handsome, Dagny in particular and Hank were good, and there are some pretty awesome capitalism, bitches!-style moments. Felt a bit like they were speeding through the material, and so characters (and ever-present cable news shows that cared deeply about the construction of rail lines) did a lot of heavy expositional lifting that didn't much resemble dialogue or news broadcasts. The bad guys sometimes seemed cartoonishly venal rather than arriving at their badness through some sort of logic. I didn't really understand why Dagny put up with her no-good brother for even one second.

Every Shrugged reader I talked to yesterday said that the adaptation was pretty dang faithful to the source material, and I didn't see a single thumb down. I'm sure Brian Doherty, who has a great feature on the making-of in the forthcoming May issue of Reason, will have some thoughts on it later.

ReasonTV behind the scenes below.

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  • Juice||

    Can't wait to miss it!

  • Old Mexican||

    Ahhhhhh... I will wait until it comes to Netflix.

  • Tom Cruise||

    This Scientologist gives "Battlefield: Earth" a hearty thumbs up!

  • ||

    Well done.

  • Spencer||

    I'm trying hard to get this in theaters in the DFW area. I'm on freedomworks connect as Liberty on the Rocks Fort Worth- facebook too. We're trying to organize a premiere turnout of fans with a discussion/pub meeting afterwards. Right now I'm left with this thought, "I hope it doesn't suck."

  • Jim||

    What theater were you thinking of?

  • Spencer||

    Specifically, the Rave at NE Mall in Hurst, but open to others the might be better suited.

  • zoltan||

    Oh man, I love that theatre! Too bad I'm in Austin...

  • Jim||

    Never been to that one. The Angelica might play it, being as they're "art house". I'll look that theater up when I get home tonight.

  • Jim||

    ^^ addition to the above:

    I'm in Plano, and have driven through Hurst, but am not real familiar with the area.

  • Spencer||

    Let me know what you find! I'm actually open to doing several events that week/weekend. I've gotten shut down so far at Rave, but I'm still working on them and the Movie Taverns in the area. I wanted something a bit more mainstream than the angelica- thinking others might stumble in and be enlightened!

  • Jim||

    I'll cast around at the Studio Movie Grills in the area, also. Sometimes they're down with stuff like this. Also, the Inwood in Dallas has showings of weird stuff sometimes at midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, plus a full bar! Which is important for lushes like myself. Anyway I'll let you know what I can find.

  • Johnny Cosmo||

    I thought David Kelley was a paid consultant.. or something. I could be wrong, though- just one of those things I thought I readon IMDB or somewhere.

    I can't wait for the article about how much Dan from One Tree Hill loved the film.

  • ||

    I guess this being like the capitalist version of "The Passion of the Christ" is too much to hope for?

    ...as in a film Hollywood wouldn't make, and yet became such a huge draw at the box office.

    But I can dream! Wouldn't it be great if...?

  • Tom||

    The are many more christians in this country than libertarians. I'd be surprised if they can afford to make part II. I'll keep my hopes up though.

  • Johnny Cosmo||

    "The bad guys sometimes seemed cartoonishly venal"

    You sold me. Sounds like a very faithful adaptation. I am subscribing.

  • Justin Raimondo||

    An editor of "Reason" magazine who HASN'T READ ATLAS SHRUGGED???? Is Welch waiting for the comic book version?

  • ||

    In some libertarian circles, I think that's well regarded...

    Ayn Rand acolyte?! Why I haven't even read "Atlas Shrugged"!

    I guess it's better than those who claim to be "rereading" everything because they can't admit they didn't read it when they were fifteen.

    Or were yet, down at the bottom of the totem pole, there's those who claim they read it but never did.

  • Matt Welch||

    I'm going to read it before April 15.

  • ||

    That could be a bad career move.

    You can go on TV now and be the libertarian authority--who hasn't read "Atlas Shrugged"!

    What a terrible thing to throw away!

  • Tom||

    I agree Ken. That distinction has got to give him some clout that we can never regain. It's at least proof to those ignorant of libertarianism that Ayn Rand is not our alpha and omega...that the philosophy of liberty is not purely based on fiction.

  • Trespassers W||

    I hear she did some non-fiction writing on the side.

  • -||

    Better not read that, either, lest you be able to claim some knowledge of your subject.

  • ||

    I dunno, they might force him to take a polygraph test to prove his ignorance.

  • Justin Raimondo||

    You'd better start now -- it's over 1000 pages long.

  • Matt Welch||

    So I've heard.

  • Spiny Norman||

    And the type is smaller, so it's actually longer than it appears.

    On the other hand, it's a much brisker read than, say, Gravity's Rainbow.

  • Spencer||

    good luck. it's thicker than it looks in parts...

  • Cyto||

    But you can skim through the long speech near the end. That saves about 200 pages right there...

  • smartass sob||

    Yes, one could skip that and still probably be able to follow the story. But Galt's speech does provide Rand's refutation of, or reply to, various historical themes in philosophy, and that was probably half the reason for writing the novel. On the other hand, if one does not have at least a little grounding in that subject, the speech may not make alot of sense. That or it will be boring as hell (unless, of course, one has an interest in the subject.)

  • smartass sob||

    It's not 200 pages. As I recall, it's closer to 100.

  • -||

    60.
    Reading is hard.

  • smartass sob||

    And 60 is closer to 100 than it is to 200. Math is even harder. :-)

  • Spiny Norman||

    Why, is there some kind of tax dodge for reading it?

  • Matt Welch||

    It's this jackass Facebook group I linked to in the post: "Make Matt Welch read Atlas Shrugged." Their idea was that I had to read it before the movie was officially released.

  • Spencer||

    Really? A facebook group devoted to that...

  • ||

    I got yelled at before when I mentioned I hadn't read anything by Rand, so I hesitate to mention it again.

    I just don't read fiction very much, and by that I mean haven't read anything not assigned in a class since the Hitchhiker books 20 years ago.

  • Juice||

    I'm the type that read it (relatively recently) and now kinda wish I had that time back.

  • ||

    Am I the only one who doesn't give a shit about Ayn Rand's turgid books?

  • waffles||

    This breakfast buddy joins you in the "don't give a fuck" camp.

  • Trespassers W||

    Huh. I always thought pancakes was the evil twin.

  • DNS||

    Huh. I always thought pancakes was the evil twin.

    Breakfast foods needn't be hirsute.

  • Colin||

    +1

    You are not alone.

  • ||

    They didn't do much for me, but then Heinlein got to me before Rand.

  • ||

    Even her philosophy is turgid. She has some good ideas, but man, I'd rather read Nietzsche by about 1000%. Fuck, I hate Kierkegaard and even that is better reading.

  • ||

    I've always said that Rand is the worst conduit for her own ideas.

  • ||

    How do you argue with success?

    Do you really think we'd be sitting here talking about her ideas all these years later if it hadn't been for the books she read?!

    That conduit's been too effective to say it was ineffective.

  • ||

    "Do you really think we'd be sitting here talking about her ideas all these years later if it hadn't been for the books she read?!"

    My aixelsyd has been acting up all day.

    "...hadn't been for all the books she read wrote?!"

  • smartass sob||

    Don't feel bad, Ken - I didn't even notice that until you pointed it out.

  • ||

    Atlas Shrugged turns just as many people against libertarianism as it draws in. That's what I'm getting at. I think a message of capitalist dynamism could be made in a way far less susceptible to charges of pomposity and cultish derangement.

    Yes, the controversy of Rand has kept her ideas alive, but she is a deeply polarizing figure for myriad reasons beyond her ideas as they relate to individualism.

  • Tncm||

    Other libertarians have pointed this out before, but the main drawback of objectivism is its inconsistency. If you followed the non-aggression principle and individual sovereignty to their logical conclusion, you would have to become an anarchist. Forcing someone to participate in any institution is, like it or not, coercion. But Ayn Rand would require me to be a citizen of her objectivist minarchy regardless.

    The other problem of course is the fact that Ayn Rand was incredibly dogmatic and very demanding of those in the objectivist movement. Reading any other philosophers outside of Aristotle and Aquinas was heresy, ch and challenging Ayn Rand herself on anything was heresy. Some of the higher-ups in the objectivist movement actually went so far as to regulate the personal lives of the members of the movement; Murray Rothbard (during his short period of time as a fellow traveler of Rand) was requested to divorce his wife because she was deemed to be "illogical", or other such nonsense. "The Objectivist", a monthly objectivist magazine, would unsubscribe members if they sent in questions that were considered disrespectful to Rand or the objectivist movement. It's shenanigans like that that caused them to be labeled a cult.

    But it's difficult to argue that she didn't do a lot of good for libertarianism, despite the fact that she called us "hippies of the Right" and claimed we stole all of her ideas. Her books still convert people to the cause of liberty and individualism; "Anthem" is taught in some high school literature classes now. But a lot of the libertarian stereotypes (i.e. we hate the poor, are a cult, are elitist, we hate charity) come directly from her.

  • robc||

    Im not an objectivist, but Kurt Gödel and I tell you to shut the fuck up.

    Consistency isnt possible in a complete system.

  • Tncm||

    It's not my fault objectivism is a closed system. You can go whine to Leonard Peikoff about how he destroyed that philosophical movement, but I don't want to hear it.

  • robc||

    I said complete, not closed.

  • Tncm||

    Sorry, I misread your post. Regardless, the philosophy still contradicts itself, as I stated in my essay-long post above. You can't logically claim that NAP is one of your first principles and then support aggression.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Are you arguing that objectivism is complete?

    Any logical system is by definition, incomplete...that's the point of Godel...no?

  • robc||

    Are you arguing that objectivism is complete?

    Dont know. Im not an objectivist and havent studied it in depth, but I think it might be.

    Any logical system is by definition, incomplete...that's the point of Godel...no?

    In fact, NO is the correct answer. A logical system can be either complete or consistent but not both.

  • ||

    Yeah, what he says.

  • Neu Mejican||

    robc, Tulpa...

    In fact, NO is the correct answer. A logical system can be either complete or consistent but not both.

    If we are getting technical, objectivism is in not really informed by Godel's incompleteness theorem as it is not a theory capable of expressing elementary arithmetic.

    Extensions of Godel into philosophy are metaphoric extensions...but do not rest firmly upon his proof.

  • ||

    Actually, Godel's Incompleteness Theorem only says that a logical system which is complete must contain false statements. So you must be saying Objectivism is perfectly true.

  • robc||

    Your statement is a lie.

  • robc||

    Crap, that was supposed to be:

    This statement is a lie.

    Argh.

  • robc||

    The 2nd incompleteness theorem (from wikipedia):

    For any formal effectively generated theory T including basic arithmetical truths and also certain truths about formal provability, T includes a statement of its own consistency if and only if T is inconsistent.

  • robc||

    And the first:

    Any effectively generated theory capable of expressing elementary arithmetic cannot be both consistent and complete. In particular, for any consistent, effectively generated formal theory that proves certain basic arithmetic truths, there is an arithmetical statement that is true, but not provable in the theory

  • Trespassers W||

    Atlas Shrugged turns just as many people against libertarianism as it draws in.

    It turns away people that would have otherwise been drawn to it, if not for her? Really?

  • ||

    It turns away people that would have otherwise been drawn to it, if not for her?

    The fact that libertarians and Ojectivists mostly detest each other proves my thesis. Good ideas presented badly become bad ideas. Notice how Ayn is pretty much toxic to a lot of Reasonettes? It is just some sort of false consciousness on our part?

    Ayn Rand's done more damage to the libertarian brand than the Libertarian Party. And that's saying something.

  • Tncm||

    Could someone give me a quick run-down on what the Libertarian Party did that was so bad? I know that it's basically a laughingstock when it comes to formulating political strategy, but I don't know much else about it beyond that, except for some in-fighting between minarchist and anarchist factions in the party.

  • ||

    "Could someone give me a quick run-down on what the Libertarian Party did that was so bad?"

    I support it as a means to get the message out, but speaking of self-contradiction, there's something inherently contradictory about people running for public office on a platform arguing that the government shouldn't be able to tell us what to do.

    A good part of the reason the government is able to force us to do things is because of the illusion of legitimacy elections bestow on those who win office, and libertarians participating in those elections and running for office lends the winners of those elections even more legitimacy.

    If I think you and your friends getting together and taking a vote on what my rights are and whether they should be protected is wrong?

    Then how can I advocate getting together with my friends and taking a vote on your rights and whether they should be protected--without contradiction?

  • ||

    What people think is more important than how they vote anyway. Ultimately, public policy and how people vote is a function of what people think.

    That's why writers like Ayn Rand, media organizations like the Reason Foundation, and what you say to your friends and family is way more important than how anybody votes.

    Party identification is actually the enemy here.

  • ||

    Atlas Shrugged turns just as many people against libertarianism as it draws in.

    libertarianism turns as many people against it as there are poeple who are invested in ideologies that it threatens.

    The only poeple who are turned away from libertarianism are people who are against it.

    I have no love for the works of Rand...it has done nothing to turn me away from libertarianism.

    Tony hates Rand because he hates libertarianism it has nothing to do with how bad Rand writes.

  • Sam Grove||

    You just need to grasp how much Rand hated the left.

  • JB||

    "Atlas Shrugged turns just as many people against libertarianism as it draws in."

    Such bullshit. Leftist twats are turned away because they are emoting vaginas. They don't turn against liberty because they read Atlas Shrugged.

  • JB||

    "Atlas Shrugged turns just as many people against libertarianism as it draws in."

    Such bullshit. Leftist twats are turned away because they are emoting vaginas. They don't turn against liberty because they read Atlas Shrugged.

  • Juice||

    I used to be quite the consumer of science fiction and so, of course, I read Heinlein. But at the time I wasn't looking for some political message so I never saw it. I just read them for the sci-fi-ness. More recently, though, I've read a couple of his minor books that I hadn't read before and I can see it now.

  • ||

    A lot of it has to do with how you come to libertarianism. I always had an in-grained anti-authoritarian streak; Heinlein just gave me a politic to match my inclinations.

  • zoltan||

    Poul Anderson is a good sci-fi read too.

  • Tncm||

    I'm sorry, but this is something I'll never understand; what the hell was libertarian about "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress"? I mean, sure, the Prof talks about anarchism for two or three pages, and the government he urges the Congress to set up is very voluntaryist in nature, but the rest of the book doesn't really have an ideological overtone to it. Yeah, there's a revolt against government, but fascists and communists revolt against governments, too. Not to mention the destruction of private property that no doubt resulted from the earth being "bombed".

    I still liked it a lot, though. It was a good deal funnier than I expected, and I'll admit that I got a little teary-eyed over what happened to Mike, the best computer ever. I just don't think that it's necessarily a "libertarian" novel. If the dust jacket hadn't told me it was beforehand, I never wouldn't known.

  • robc||

    If the dust jacket hadn't told me it was beforehand, I never wouldn't known.

    Is that a bad thing? There are plenty of libertarian themes running thru in. Getting arrested in Lexington (damn you Sugar Free) for his marital situation, for example.

  • Tncm||

    I fail to see how his arrest for polygamy is a libertarian theme. Free love was a huge part of the New Left movement, which was going on during the period when the book was written and published. Not to mention the fact that the revolution finances itself through theft and printing money, and then maintains power using Machiavellian political tactics.

  • robc||

    I fail to see how his arrest for polygamy is a libertarian theme.

    How the fuck isnt it?

  • ||

    TMIAHM is not a book about libertarianism, despite the dust jacket. It's a fictional re-telling of the American Revolution with sexual libertinism and ad hoc-ist anarcho-capitalist overtones.

    Heinleinism wasn't necessarily what we would call libertarianism. It was more a nuanced "leave-me-alone" stance fused with a belief that the expansion of population to low-density areas was the only practical way to be left alone. He came to individualism the hard way, after walking away from FDR-style socialism and as a result, he detested collectivism.

    The best books for exploring the core of of his beliefs are Time Enough At Last (for the crankiest aspects) and Tunnel In The Sky for his anarchist/libertarianish belief that self-forming voluntarist societies don't have to descend into Lord Of The Flies.

  • Tncm||

    "Tunnel In The Sky" sounds interesting. I'll check it out the next time I stop by my local library. His bibliography is certainly daunting; you could spend quite a while reading nothing but Heinlein if you really wanted to.

    "How the fuck isnt it?"

    Because free love is much more a distinct part of the New Left movement than it is libertarianism. And again, "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress" was published in 1965, when the New Left was in full swing. You can't stop chewing my head off now.

  • Tncm||

    *"can", not "can't"

  • robc||

    Because free love is much more a distinct part of the New Left movement than it is libertarianism.

    A. There wasnt "free love" in TMIAHM. Line marriages arent a form of free love. In fact, with the power women had, it was much less so.

    B. And? Something cant be a part of two philosophies? Line marriages would be perfectly acceptable in libertopia.

  • zoltan||

    Because free love is much more a distinct part of the New Left movement than it is libertarianism.

    The New Left supported free love (a misleading term, actually unfettered sex). They don't support people paying for it though.

  • Tncm||

    My point was that an open view on relationships isn't distinctly libertarian; it's also a theme of the New Left, and I would argue that Heinlein was channeling that movement more than anything else considering the period when the book was written.

    The novel is open for interpretation, as all novels. I don't think it's a libertarian book, but you do. Let's stop wasting comment space with our asinine argument.

  • robc||

    Have you read much here? Wasting comment space is what we do.

  • smartass sob||

    Anyone remember Robert Rimmer's The Harrad Experiment from the late 60's? There's your popular book about "free love." He wrote several others dealing with the subject as well.

  • The Bearded Hobbit||

    Do you mean Time Enough for Love? When I was 25 or so I thought that it was the finest novel ever written. Over 30 years later I still enjoy picking it up at a random point and reading for a while. And most of the "Sayings of Lazarus Long" are in my daily conversation.

    ... "Always keep beer in a dark place" Hobbit

  • ||

    There are a few things I read that contributed to making me the way I am.

    I read "Free to Choose" when I was 13, and that made me a convinced Reaganite. I read "Atlas Shrugged" when I was 15, and that made me committed capitalist--can't discount that influence.

    I was raised in a deeply fundamentalist family, though, and it wasn't until after I'd read, "The Grand Inquisitor" chapter in "The Brothers Karamazov" when I was 18...

    That's when I became a libertarian.

    Incidentally, the compulsive use of ellipses didn't come until after I'd read, "Death on the Installment Plan".

  • robc||

    Ive mentioned it here before, but CS Lewis is the author most influential to me being a libertarian.

  • Tom||

    Dude! I thought I was the only one. I never read any Rand until long after I had subscribe to a similar philosophy. I can't place my finger on exactly what it was, but I had been reading a lot of C.S. Lewis when I transitioned from compassionate, conservative christian to cold-hearted, quasi-anarchist libertarian.

  • robc||

    For me, it was the collection of essays God in the Dock. Although that may have been just the final blow, or the starting blow, or something. Clearly, the single most influential essay for me was Is Progress Possible: Willing Slaves of the Welfare State.

    Which, needless to say, has a theme that has stuck with me. :)

    That essay also includes my campaign platform if I ever run for office:

    To live his life in his own way, to call his house his castle, to enjoy the fruits of his own labour, to educate his children as his conscience directs, to save for their prosperity after his death ...

    A five point plan.

  • Tony||

    Lewis and Rand, the two most overrated writers who ever existed.

  • Tncm||

    Your snide comments are almost as painfully repetitive as your straw man arguments. Can't you go harass people on the Mises Institute or Cato boards?

  • Tony||

    Sorry, I didn't mean to malign their writing. Their prose isn't bad. It's their ideas that are the most overrated in all of philosophy. Pointless detours in the life of the mind from which many never find their way back.

  • ||

    Fuck off, slaver.

  • ||

    "I was raised in a deeply fundamentalist family, though, and it wasn't until after I'd read, "The Grand Inquisitor" chapter in "The Brothers Karamazov" when I was 18..."

    When I read it, it was like a light came on, "Holy smokes, you all lied to me--Jesus was a libertarian!" Changed the way I saw everything.

    I don't think that text is appreciated for the libertarian argument that it is.

  • IceTrey||

    What about her non turgid books like "The Virtue of Selfishness", "Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal" and "The Romantic Manifesto"? Have you even read them?

  • ||

    Ignorance is bliss!

  • Almanian||

    No, you're not. She's a horrid writer.

  • robc||

    Considering your taste in movies from yesterday's thread, that doesnt surprise me.

    Also, why do I want to spell "surprise" without the first r?

  • Spiny Norman||

    No, but the others don't care enough to comment on their lack of caring.

  • Kristen||

    I've said it before...whatever Rand's clumsy storytelling and black & white characters, of all her writings this one was made for the movies. It has sweeping vistas and lots of action.

    Doesn't really matter to me whether it's a faithful adaptation - it actually looks like a decent romp.

  • foamer||

    Yep, the characters in AS are cardboard. To make them real, I suppose you'd need a scene where Dagny is shaving her legs or Rearden is brushing his teeth or Galt and his buddies are puking after a session of beer pong at Patrick Henry Univ. They need to channel their inner Charlie Sheen or do meaningless things in order to seem real to those who dislike Rand's characters.

  • Tom||

    Her characters and storytelling are unique and a bit hard to swallow if one is accustomed to traditional styles...but criticisms of her writing are always based on a misunderstanding of Rand's intentions. She made it clear that she did not write man as he is but rather as he should be. As for her villains, they are shockingly realistic. What's wrong with black and white characters or a black and white philosophy? She has the courage of her convictions. I view that as a virtue, not as the refuge of a simple mind. "Moral gray areas" are just excuses to accept or to reject notions as you see fit, without the need for consistency. I hate it break it to you, but the world does work in ones and zeroes, Yes or No, A or not A. Perception of anything different or "nuanced" is simply a denial of reality.

    That said, and to completely contradict everything I just said: there is plenty of nuance in Atlas Shrugged. The only hero who doesn't portray weakness at some point is Galt. What about Dagney's assistant dude...I can't remember his name? He is not black or white. And all of the villains are simply self-interested, which is a virtue according to Rand; they're just too stupid to pursue their own interests effectively or without trampling on others.

    As for her writing style, only two books have ever really struck me as visceral and emotional in the traditional sense: Atlas Shrugged and Ethan Frome. Before I knew anything about her politics (in fact, I had always though Atlas Shrugged was liberal propaganda, because I'd heard it mocked on South Park), I started reading Atlas and was shocked by the descriptive power of the train scene at the beginning.

    Sure her story structure is clunky, but plot is always the least important element of any book. It's the canvas over which the real art is drawn.

    Okay, I'm bored now. So I'll leave my thoughts half-written.

  • Kristen||

    Eddie - he was a really cool character and should have had a lot more space in that book. Same goes for Cheryl and that one scientist who was Galt's professor in college. All the characters with faults and foibles are peripheral. I actually liked the book, but it was some great nuanced work. But like I said, it was made to be movie-fied. It's got everything a movie needs.

  • Tony||

    As for her villains, they are shockingly realistic. What's wrong with black and white characters or a black and white philosophy?

    No human is as lacking in complexity as her villains. The problem isn't with people you think behave like them, the problem is your worldview. That's where the black and white lies.

  • JB||

    I'd say you are even more of a caricature than her villains.

    "But, but, but the rich (my parents) are evil! And I care and you don't!" - That describes nearly all your comments.

  • .||

    No human is as lacking in complexity as her villains.

    You are, Tony; there's nothing at all complex about you. You're just another simple, frightened, control freak lusting for power over others.

  • smartass sob||

    but plot is always the least important element of any book.

    Ironically Rand would be the first to disagree with that. :-)

  • Sam Grove||

    The left hates Rand because with Atlas Shrugged, she dragged their moral philosophy behind her pickup truck and they can't read it without feeling the assault on their belief system.

  • Other Derp||

    The video makes it look like a Lifetime movie, or a daytime soap opera. I would like to see it, but I'll be embarrassed to see it with a friend if my assumption is accurate.

  • MJ||

    "The bad guys sometimes seemed cartoonishly venal rather than arriving at their badness through some sort of logic."

    I thought part of Rand's point was that the villians were ignoring logic as basis for their motivations.

  • smartass sob||

    Yup.

  • Colin||

    Most of your criticisms of the movie, Matt, could easily be applied to the book as well.

  • ¢||

    Rand fans are poor judges of art. QED=A.

    B) Gotta say "Battlefield Derp" again, though the movie doesn't actually look well-made enough to carry the comparison. Even the ubiquitous "Lifetime movie" cracks are overselling it. The clips are so ass it's unbelievable.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Concern troll concerned.

  • ||

    Randroid troll is obsessively Randroid.

  • Trespassers W||

    Haters gotta hate, I guess.

  • ||

    When I hear "Rand', I reach for my revolver.

    No, sorry--I meant my remote.

    Cults suck.

  • ||

    Why is Dagny a blond in this movie? You faithfully adapt a movie in 3 parts, and you change the fundamental look of the main character? Very disappointing.

  • -||

    She's probably not the exact height either. Very disappointing. Ruins the whole project.

  • Ze German||

    And her elbows are too pointy.

  • -||

    I believe the eye color is off a little too. This totally undermines Rand's definition of art as "a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist’s metaphysical value-judgments." Wait, no it doesn't.

  • Almanian||

    "Oh, you mean this was a BOOK once? Who knew?"

    /teenager

  • ||

    and ever-present cable news shows that cared deeply about the construction of rail lines

    Hey, Norfolk Southern used to have ads at least once an hour on CNN!

  • Neu Mejican||

    Faithful to the source material?

    How can that be? Is it animated to faithfully portray the 2-D characters?

    Boom...Yeah, I went there.

  • robc||

    You know, I used to think that was legit criticism, but statist keeping using the same arguments that the cardboard cutouts used in the book.

    If the characters are 2D, its because she is holding up a mirror to flatland.

  • Neu Mejican||

    but statist partisans on both sides of the argument keeping using the same arguments that the cardboard cutouts used in the book.

    FIFY

  • Hey, New Mexican||

    3D TVs are coming down in price.

  • ||

    If the characters are 2D, its because she is holding up a mirror to flatland.

    Brilliant retort!

  • robc||

    Tell me that a "Certificate of Need" required to build a new hospital doesnt sound like some bullshit that Rand would have made up.

    And yet....

  • ||

    Whatever, robc... there are obviously places that have far, far too many hospitals already.

  • robc||

    BTW, you didnt even comment on me taken a shot at you/Lexington up above.

    Stupid road systems and marriage bigots. The lot of you.

  • ||

    Adopted home. I can't really gin up much local-jingoism.

    And besides, he only picked a "Lexington" for the echoes the name has in the Revolutionary War.

    As for roads... any city with the Watterson "World's Most Dangerous Hot Wheel Track" Expressway really shouldn't be prideful.

  • robc||

    Watterson is fine since it was entirely rebuilt in the 80s/90s. It isnt dangerous* at all now.

    Only thing to know now is to never get in the far left lane, aka, the ticket lane. Which is stupid, because it compresses everyone down into the other lanes.

    *Im ignoring the time I was doing 50+ backwards on the Watterson and totalled my car, that wasnt the roads fault. Stupid ice.

  • Spiny Norman||

    And relevant to this thread, something from Peter Bagge.

  • The Bearded Hobbit||

    I had forgotten about that one. That was excellent, thanks!

    ... Hobbit

  • ||

    The skeptics are wrong.

    With a screenplay faithful to the narrative and message of the novel, the adaptation is lushly produced.

    Ummm this is actually what I am skeptical of.

    A film that is faithful to the narrative of the book can only be terrible.

  • ||

    Anyway I think the best libertarianish narrative in any art form produced within the last 2 years or so would be Red Dead Redemption.

    What is surprising about it is how anti-interventionist it is.

    Almost all actions made to change the world or to enforce an ideology by force of violence are either lack luster or end in disaster.

    Even the pursuit of justice through violence is punished.

  • ||

    They should make Atlas Shrugged into a video game.

  • ||

    Rock Star, that is. With weapons.

  • IceTrey||

    They have, it's called "Railroad Tycoon".

  • Rock Action ||

    There's a scene (not the trailer) over at the Atlas Shrugged site.

    http://www.atlasshruggedpart1......comes-home

  • -||

    Thanks. Highly condensed for the screen (as it must be) but that short scene managed to convey the nature of Reardon's parasitic family members who despise him for his virtues.

  • smartass sob||

    Yes, thanks for that. That scene is fairly faithful to the book, as I recall it.

  • The Bearded Hobbit||

    I had a friend in college who would give a copy of Atlas Shrugged to anyone who asked, and I still have my copy (Signet paperback, 40th printing, $2.95). A few years later I read The Fountainhead.

    Today I'm about 80% thru the second reading of The Fountainhead. Contrary to many of the posters here, I find her works well-written, at least as prose. Setting aside her grandstanding, her descriptive settings and thematic work are well done. I moved Shrugged to the top of the reading pile when I heard that the movie was coming out. I plan to read at least Part 1 before I see it in the theaters.

    As others have mentioned, I first got my libertarian leanings from Heinlein and it was an anti-authority streak as much as anything. Picture the outrage in Red Planet when the students were forced to give up their weapons. The horror!

    ... Hobbit

  • Canman||

    Does Ray Lahood know there's a new movie about trains?

  • IceTrey||

    The biggest problem for Rand is that people always start out with "Atlas". The first thing they should read is "Virtue" followed by "Capitalism" then they can get into "Anthem",
    "Fountainhead" and finally "Atlas".

  • -||

    I started with The Fountainhead and have never regretted it. Newbies to the concepts of individualism might find a fictional account of one man's struggles in a collectivist world to be more accessible and enjoyable than the nonfiction treatment of all the wider philosophical issues. Fiction outsells philosophy for a reason. Not that the essays are not superbly written and reasoned. Highly recommended.

  • JB||

    Anthem is a great starter.

    First work of hers I ever read.

    Also the best lens to view Rand with as well: individualism.

  • smartass sob||

    I read For The New Intellectual first - when I was seventeen or eighteen - and was intrigued by the storylines of Anthem and of Atlas which were referenced in that book; I generally used to read "for the story" in those days, so I subsequently read Anthem and then later Atlas Shrugged. As a full-length novel - a good story - I prefer The Fountainhead though.

  • ||

    She led us lemminglike off the great cancer cliff with her romanticization of smoking: That Promethean tip of fire that makes us o so godlike! She died of it ... and how many of her acolytes, too? And then her recounting her immense glee at the wicked deception of it all!--she and Nathaniel Branden in the front seat of the car, their spouses in the back ignorant of the affair going on under their noses. Yes, speak to me of her great moral superiority!

  • Dipshits of America, Inc.™||

    Will you be our next club president?

  • ||

    Absolutement! I'd totally relish the role of Grand Pubah--even to so egregiously-named an organization as yours! In my first papal bull, I'd call upon Oscar Wilde: The most immoral thing one can do is to try to influence another; because every individual has his own soul's pattern to actualize. And one well-intentioned suggestion might be just enough meddling to throw him off course. (Read Nietzsche's final book, Ecce Homo, aptly subtitled "How to Become What You Are." It's not at all a given that you WILL become what you are. And, yes, I do appreciate the ironic nature of my trying to persuade any and all to this perspective. But ... THEY STARTED IT, heh ... :)

  • ||

    Make that "Absolument!" after consulting my Just Enough French. (Afraid I studied German in order to read the aforementioned Fritz, plus Goethe, Hesse, and Rilke in the original).

  • ||

    Cry fallacy, but I've always granted a degree of validity to the ad hominem argument. What is enlightenment, if not the embodiment of principles? Or, to borrow from Emerson, "What you are shouts so loudly in my ears I cannot hear what you say." If I might propose a fitting subtitle to Part 2: Despicable Me.

  • smartass sob||

    ...to borrow from Emerson, "What you are shouts so loudly in my ears I cannot hear what you say."

    Or put another way: I am deaf, dumb, and blind to all but the voices in my head.

  • ||

    Yah, you try, sob, but I've noticed your arrows always pierce just a little off the mark. But an A for effort.

  • smartass sob||

    Just so they do actually pierce - "death of a thousand cuts" and all that. An A is an A - or should that be A is A?

  • smartass sob||

    She led us lemminglike off the great cancer cliff with her romanticization of smoking: That Promethean tip of fire that makes us o so godlike! She died of it ... and how many of her acolytes, too?

    Rand did not die of cancer but of heart failure, quite a number of years after she had beaten the disease. What other "facts" do you probably have wrong, I wonder?

  • ||

    http://quitsmoking.about.com/o.....seases.htm

    "Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., and the leading cause of death caused by smoking. Smoking is hard on the heart, and the toxins in cigarette smoke cause plaques to form in the arteries, which leads to atherosclerosis, otherwise known as hardening of the arteries."

  • smartass sob||

    Yes, all quite true - as is the fact that poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle are also contributing factors; I shouldn't imagine that amphetamines are particularly healthy either. Still not cancer though.

  • ||

    Yah, OK, I'll take a baby step back from the carcinoma precipice I posited. The cancerous lesion on her lung was surgically removed in the 70's. But re: the chain smoking, per Barbara Branden, "As someone who was foolish enough to smoke for many years, I know, as every smoker knows, that we all twisted our brains into pretzels in order to avoid facing the fact that cigarettes might very well kill us. Yes, in the early 60s, when Rand said there was no proof that smoking caused cancer, it was true that there was no final, definitive, absolute, syllogistic, incontrovertible, undeniable, non-statistical, overwhelming proof. But we knew. We all knew, including Ayn Rand. With regard to any other issue, had we had the amount of evidence we had about the danger of smoking, we would have considered it more than enough evidence for us to act upon."

  • ||

    A discussion of Rand's COD:
    http://www.objectivistliving.c.....topic=8327
    Excerpt: "I think it is possible that Ayn and some Objectivists (even after her death) CANNOT resolve the dilemma of such a beautiful novel, Ayn's own death from smoking, and their own continued smoking.

    I have said the following before and received derisive remarks about it, but I have a thick skin, so here it is again.

    There is an ad for "Objectivism the Philosophy of Ayn Rand," on the inside book jacket of the paper back edition of, "Atlas Shrugged:"

    ". . . If you would like to read more about Ayn Rand's philosophy . . ."

    Now, would there being any harm (or good) in changing this ad to simply say:
    ". . . She died of lung cancer. If you would like to read more about Ayn Rand's philosophy . . ."

    In conclusion, I do not think she "owed us," or had a "duty" to inform us of harm. Yet consider this. No one knew why she died, except those in her closest circles, until the wonderful Barbara Branden stepped forth to tell us."

  • smartass sob||

    Now, would there being any harm (or good) in changing this ad to simply say:
    ". . . She died of lung cancer.

    Why, no harm at all - unless you think it's wrong to lie to people. She didn't die of cancer.

  • ||

    I should supply an attribution to my previous post. That was Independent Objectivist" Peter Taylor, who also wrote: "Many fans of Ayn Rand may know that she died from smoking related disease."
    “About 8 years ago several school districts were considering joining a writing contest about Atlas Shrugged but there was resistence from parents because they thought the book encouraged the under-aged to smoke. I wrote Leonard Peikoff, asking him to add a disclaimer about smoking to Atlas Shrugged. He never replied.”

  • ||

    When I said "she died of it" ... the "it" referred to smoking. Her lung cancer was one of the ways it presented; congestive heart failure--which finally did her in--another.

  • ||

    Objectivists might have blundered by exposing their foundation myth to a population not indoctrinated in advance to interpret it in the "right" way. Assuming that the rest of this film get made, and that it adheres closely enough to the novel, I wonder how American audiences, representing demographic reality, will react to the message that they deserve to die because they don't measure up to the movie's fictional heroes.

    An accurate movie would also have the problem of handling Galt's implied adult virginity, love-obsessional stalking of Dagny and his underemployment. He sounds like the sort of "unsub" character who threatens an innocent woman in an episode of Criminal Minds.

  • Dipshits of America, Inc.™||

    Nice. So much crazy in just two paragraphs. You should run on the ticket as Ariel's Vice President.

  • ||

    Since I saw ZERO crazy in those two paragraphs, I withdraw my bid to lead your organization. Even a Dipshit might take AIM with his slings and arrows. The putdown, artfully done, carries a value add that furthers the discussion. If I WERE to throw my hat into the ring, my campaign slogan would be: I promise a chicken in every pot shot.
    But, yes, who makes the cut (or cult) and gets invited to Galt's Gulch is a sensitive issue. When Rand was The Decider, she routinely banished from her inner circle those who questioned her authority, even in matters of taste. Those lucky dawgs she let stay were expected to toe the line even to their detriment. She chided economist Murray Rothbard for not smoking. In "world as Titanic" I'd have to think twice before jumping onto her lifeboat.

  • ||

    Oh, just read these. As H. L. Mencken said, in arguing with fanatics, one horse laugh is worth ten-thousand syllogisms.

    http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/John_Galt

    http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/Atlas_Shrugged

  • smartass sob||

    And to paraphrase Ambrose Bierce: The only difference between women and cats is that the latter likes mice.

  • ||

    You mean "LIKE" mice; conjugate your verbs, sob. Though I rather like CATS LIKES MICE. Heh, but you do paint with a broad brush, castigating the entire female gender in a single stroke--to include (presumably) Ms. Rand ... MEOW. OK, touche, sob. But about dominant women ... did your corporate workplace ever have you get a DISC profile? (It's rather an alternative to the Myers-Briggs psychological evaluation.) What they don't usually reveal is the fascinating back story, and that's a shame. You see, DISC was the creation of psychiatrist William Moulton Marston, who was also instrumental in the development of the lie detector, and creator of Wonder Woman for DC Comics--which character he based on a conflation of his wife and a woman named Olive, who had a predilection for wearing lots of metal bangles and arm bands. (Wonder Woman's lasso of truth, BTW, is quite an apt equivalant to the polygraph.) Yes, and they all lived together in polyamorous bliss, or, per David Crosby, a cozy Triad. Lest you think I stray too far afield from the present discussion, there's relevance here to Rand's and Dagny's worlds. You see, Mr. Marston realized that everything comes down to dominance and submission. (Which descriptors are regularly euphemized in the DISC acronym to something less sexualized--I've seen driver and stabilizer.) To land the plane here, Marston came to believe that mens' natural aggression could be harnessed into a force for good only if men voluntarily placed themselves in thrall to a strong, dominant woman. Well, I mean, who can't see some of this going on in both Ayn Rand's fictional and her real world as well? Long live the matriarchy! Anyhow, sob ... Love to eat them mousies, Mousies what I love to eat. Bite they little heads off… Nibble on they tiny feet.”—B. Kliban

  • smartass sob||

    You mean "LIKE" mice; conjugate your verbs, sob.

    Yes, I meant like - but there is no edit function on this board and I seldom use preview for short comments. However, it was a rather picayune nit for you to pick, don't you think, Pussycat? But then, that's what cats do with much of their time - they groom or pick at things, and lick at their tails. (Or would that be women? Hm, no matter.)

    You see, Mr. Marston realized that everything comes down to dominance and submission. (Which descriptors are regularly euphemized in the DISC acronym to something less sexualized--I've seen driver and stabilizer.) To land the plane here, Marston came to believe that mens' natural aggression could be harnessed into a force for good only if men voluntarily placed themselves in thrall to a strong, dominant woman.

    Generally people who see things that way aim to be the fuckor rather than the fuckee, but in Marston's case it sounds as though he was missing a ball, or rather, balls - all figuratively speaking, of course. I wonder which of the women got to be the man in their little "triad" - again, figuratively speaking, of course; it was probably she of the bangles.

  • ||

    You spend half your posts quoting ME--thanks, but I don't need a megaphone. Does your screen name not tell us all we need to know about who you are and what you're up to? But to return to the discussion of Ms. Rand and her legacy. A poster above asked why Dagny was the only woman in AS who wasn't either evil or weak, and why she got ALL the decent guys. In one of Rand's nonfiction works or an interview (can't cite the source now--help?) in response to that question she said that AS was HER fantasy, and that pretty much explained THAT. Whether art imitated life or vice versa, in her circle she employed a kind of eminent domain over other women's men. When Branden finally left HER for another woman, though, she wasn't all that gracious in defeat, what with putting a curse on his penis and all.

  • Bruce Majors||

    Matt was supposed to read the book before he saw the movie:

    http://apps.facebook.com/cause....._id=573745

  • ||

    In the early 90's in Manhattan I attended the occasional gathering of the Institute for Objectivist Studies, now The Atlas Society (a much sexier name)--David Kelley with cigarette in hand early and often. I’d be surprised if he still smokes, and TAS’s website unofficially discourages the activity following a discussion of its medical pros and cons--TAS Director of Programs William R. Thomas says “Objectivism has no official position on smoking as such”--as such--and though he personally considers it a vice in light of the medical evidence now available, it’s one to which he'd attach no social imperative. http://www.atlassociety.org/smoking

    But I’d like to see TAS issue an official acknowledgement of (if not apology for) its wayward Pied Piper's past glamorization-by-example of smoking. Even the Catholic Church extends the belated occasional mea culpa--for having persecuted breakthrough scientists or standing by while Nazis exterminated Jews. (The latter an extreme example, perhaps, though smoking kills an estimated 600,000 people worldwide annually--over a decade toting up six million, the number of European Jews claimed by the Holocaust.)

    It’s not for lack of space: TAS allocates some to naming Hugh Hefner as one of the “independent thinkers and celebrities” Rand’s works influenced. Not that there’s anything wrong with polyamory and pornography--they're right up Rand’s alley. As Dominique knew deep in her bones down in the granite quarry, and Peter D. Kramer (practicing shrink, biographer of Freud, and proponent of anti-depressants) says all psychiatrists know, sadomasochism is the tie that binds.

    But we’re talking about Atlas the Movie. Screenwriter Brian O’Toole says rather than make it a period piece, “We have small updates like cell phones and no smoking … ”

    Maybe not so small.

  • EBrown2||

    "The bad guys sometimes seemed cartoonishly venal"

    ...as opposed to the nuanced villainy of Pelosi, Reid, Frank and Obama?

  • Sanity||

    Everyone else on this world gave this movie thumbs way down.

    "Atlas Shrugged" Producer Scrapping Plans For Pt. 2 & 3, Blames Reviews

    http://t.co/Xc4QizA

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