Ayn Rand coming to the big screen!

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by Maverick74, Sep 4, 2005.

  1. Maverick74


    Scott Holleran
    The New Orleans Disaster and the Line on 'John Galt'
    September 2, 2005

    Burbank, California—This week, an already unsettling sense that the world has gone horribly, horribly wrong deepened when the city at the mouth of the Mighty Mississippi collapsed into chaos. The catastrophe in New Orleans, not limited to the Big Easy, where possibly thousands have been killed and thousands more may be dying, is a still-unfolding tragedy beyond the worst-case scenario. It may be the largest displacement of Americans in history.

    For some, the grim images from the events along the Gulf coast concretize the sort of devastation depicted in disaster movies like Deep Impact, Armageddon or War of the Worlds. For others, it is easier to turn away and ignore reality, fussing over ring tones, video games or some other nonsense. For this American, the calamity puts a premiere column into sharp focus.

    It was supposed to be a light column about this and that, with a brief update on a movie adaptation of my favorite novel, Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, which Miss Rand began writing here in the San Fernando Valley in 1946. It is the story of man's mind on strike. Whether one agrees with Miss Rand's radical philosophy, Objectivism, laid bare in the book, it is an unforgettable masterpiece with grand cinematic potential—a fact recognized by the producer of last year's Oscar-winning Ray, Howard Baldwin, who tells me that he is closer to bringing Ayn Rand's epic to the screen.

    For those who remember the novel, the aftermath of this week's hurricane puts a pit in the stomach that sits there; it is eerily similar to what Miss Rand envisioned. While it is too soon to pinpoint the particulars, the anarchy in the Bayou is undeniably related to the widespread irrationality—the refusal to think—that Miss Rand dramatized so powerfully in Atlas Shrugged.

    The hurricane alone did not reduce New Orleans to a city in ruins; the storm—which was not a direct hit—had been widely tracked and reported, and its citizens were warned to leave. The tragedy of New Orleans, from incompetent bureaucrats who collected taxes to pay for levees and pumps that were not maintained to National Guard combat brigades unavailable to enforce law and order in America—because they were sent in the name of sacrifice to Iraq—is a stark reminder that, as Miss Rand wrote, ideas matter.

    Based on a reading of the Atlas Shrugged script, producer Baldwin promises that Miss Rand's essential principles—reason, selfishness, capitalism—are integrated in the plot and that, as in the novel, businesswoman Dagny Taggart struggles to operate a transcontinental railroad in a nation run by preachy socialists, while looters and moochers pick at the remains. Baldwin says his favorite scene is when, after building a line that had been deemed impossible, Dagny rides on the new track's first train—while her lover, an industrialist named Hank Rearden, cheers her on. Baldwin describes the scene as courageous, romantic, and triumphant.

    Booming with Tinseltown bravado, Baldwin says the movie is going to look stunning—with the epic novel's trains, bridges and skyscrapers, as well as technology invented after the book was published in 1957 (think the Internet and cellular telephones). The story, Baldwin says, takes place at some indeterminate time, and he dubs the role of Dagny as "the greatest character ever written for an actress."

    We'll see. It depends on the actress, the direction and other factors. But Baldwin, undecided on whether to film Atlas Shrugged as two separate motion pictures or as a television miniseries, seems sincere. Since we are living in the society Ayn Rand saw coming—persecuted businessmen, blackouts, looting—what she considered the purpose of her art, the projection of man as a heroic being, is needed now more than ever.
  2. Ricter


    "reason, selfishness, capitalism"

    Rand missed the dual nature of the universe. If Rearden metal were invented today, it's production would likely be found to be highly toxic. Look at the clean computing technology centers of California for example, they're Superfund sites. There are inevitable unintended and undesired consequences to every action.

    Reason has created so much good, and yet brought with it the potential for self annihilation. And letting selfishness and capitalism run their course, unfettered as she would have it, leads to huge wealth disparities, thanks to unequal starting conditions for people multiplied by the millions over time. After all, it's those inefficiencies, tiny edges if you will, that permit so many of us traders to make a living. We understand the math.

    Rand is just one more utopian thinker, and she can take a number.
  3. Maverick74


    It beats the hell out of socialism. And no, what allows traders to make a living is not disparities in wealth, but your own greed. As long as there are people in society willing to risk it all and take substantial risks, whether that be trying to become an NFL quarterback, the next matinee idol, or a Euro dollar options trader, then there will be those that enjoy the fat tails of the income distribution scale. Nothing hard to understand about this.
  4. Ricter


    Read my post first. Did I say socialism was better? Pure socialism is just another utopian dream. If asked, I'd probably say that a mixed economy is best.

    I never said that is was the disparities in wealth that allow traders to make a living, read my post. No, it's not greed that drives me, but need, and what's typically true for me, an average Joe, has nearly always turned out to be true for many others. There's a big difference between need and greed. And I DO make a living from the tiny edge I have, multiplied by thousands of trades over the course of time. It's simple statistics.

    People can continue to express their nature, but it cannot be completely unfettered, obviously. Boundaries have been, and will continue to be drawn, regardless of the political or economic system in place. No one likes hitting boundaries drawn by others, but sorry, welcome to Life. This follows from Man's essential nature as a social animal.

    But hey, I won't argue. If everyone agreed to think like Rand, then life would be indeed be grand.
  5. If the film manages to stay true to the novel's message, culturally, this thing could be big.

    Ricter, nevermind the utopianism (actually, does she ever promise it?). I wouldn't like to live in a Randian world either, but I admit that there's a much needed redress in the entertainment industry's cultural balance, which a film such as this could certainly provide.
  6. Sam123

    Sam123 Guest

    The very fact that we are hear the name of "Ayn Rand" at all is a clear sign that more people are realizing how today's liberal is not liberal at all, but a closed-minded Marxist.
  7. Maverick74


    Bingo! The very fact that Hollywood is even thinking of making a movie that does not promote liberal socialism tells you something. I mean let's face it. Outside of Mel Gibson's self produced "Passion of the Christ", who here can even name one film that has promoted anything other then the same old status quo of Hollywood? And I'm not even talking conservatism, just anything that is not pure 100% hollywood liberal bullshit?

    If this movie is successful, it might pave the way for perhaps a little more openness in a business that claims to be tolerant but is anything but. Maybe the times really are changing. Nah, doubt it. I shouldn't get my hopes up.
  8. Ricter


    Ah well, the average moviegoer won't be going to see this anymore than they went to see Give 'Em Hell, Harry!
  9. Maverick74


    And I would say, wrong again Ricter.
  10. Brandonf

    Brandonf ET Sponsor

    My own opinion is that Atlas Shrugged is one of the greatest novels ever. It opened my mind and planted a seed of change in me for which I will always be greatful. If you created a pure Rand state as advocated by the ARI I do not think the majority of people would be happy or that the world would be better off, however her ideas are worth exploring and certainly better than the crap we are moving towards. As for who would watch the movie, I suspect a lot of people would. The movie market was terrible this year for Hollywood because they have put out nothing worth seeing. This would be a massive shift and I suspect a lot of people would see and enjoy the movie.

    #10     Sep 5, 2005