A post by Maynard
Ayn Rand is one of those lightning rod names. Speak it aloud and you’ll get a strong reaction, one way or another. But do people really know Rand, or do they just express what they’re supposed to feel?
Personally I’m an advocate, but I’ll stop short of being an acolyte. Rand was a genius, and she said what needed to be said; things that others had neither the courage nor the articulation to express. If you haven’t been exposed to Rand, you’re missing a fundamental piece of the puzzle. However, she had her blind spots. To rely too heavily on Rand’s philosophy to the complete exclusion of others seems to me unrealistic.
To understand Rand more clearly, and to see both her greatness and her flaws, check out a biography written by one-time associate Barbara Branden, The Passion of Ayn Rand. (The measured balance of this biography will probably be unsatisfying both to enemies and some devotees, but I think it hits the right note.)
The novel Atlas Shrugged is Rand’s magnum opus. And now it’s been made into, so they tell us, a movie. Is this possible?
I’m skeptical about such projects. Atlas Shrugged is a sweeping epic. Can it be brought to life on the big screen? It will be difficult to give the characters depth, and keep them from being mere stereotypes representing this good philosophy or that bad philosophy. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but this is no small order.
For better or for worse, here it is. On a reported budget of $15 million (which is minuscule for a project of this magnitude), we shall soon see the release of Atlas Shrugged, Part I.
For that budget, you won’t find any big names. And that’s fine by me. As we know all too well, celebrity status does not necessarily equate to talent.
Anyway, I think the trailer looks good. The film itself is coming on April 15, which is an excellent day to ponder government gone wild. It appears there will be a limited theatrical release, with subsequent sales on video. I’ll look for it in a local theater if the opportunity arises.
You may recall that one of the central themes of Atlas Shrugged is government nationalization of the railroads. So it’s ironic to note that, as the movie release draws near, our Dear Leader is claiming the solution to our economic woes is a wonderful new government railroad. It seems that life does indeed imitate art. Those of us familiar with that art will be unsurprised by the subsequent tragedy.