Skip to comments.P.J. O’Rourke: Atlas Shrugged. And So Did I
Posted on 04/12/2011 12:07:14 PM PDT by GSWarrior
Atlas shrugged. And so did I.
The movie version of Ayn Rands novel treats its source material with such formal, reverent ceremoniousness that the uninitiated will feel theyve wandered without a guide into the midst of the elaborate and interminable rituals of some obscure exotic tribe.
Atlas Shrugged presents other problems for a moviemaker. The book was published in 1957 and set in an America of the future. But time seems to have taken a U-turn, so that were back in a worse Great Depression with a more megalomaniacal business competition-loathing FDR-type administration. All sorts of things have been uninvented, such as oil pipelines so that oil has to be shipped by rail, railroads being the dominant form of transportation. Airplanes exist, but knowing where to fly them apparently doesnt, because a secret hidden unknown valley in the Rocky Mountains figures in the plot, which also hinges on a substance thats lighter and stronger than steel. This turns out to be a revolutionary new steel alloy! Because Rand forgot about plastics.
The Atlas Shrugged movie simply accepts these unimaginative imaginings. No attempt is made to create a future of the past atmosphere as in the movies about Batman (a very unRandian figure, trapped in his altruism costume drama). Nor is any attempt made to update Rands tale of Titans of Industry versus Gargantuas of government.
An update is needed, and not just because train buffs, New Deal economics and the miracle of the Bessemer converter are inexplicable to people under 50, not to mention boring. The anti-individu
(Excerpt) Read more at blogs.wsj.com ...
Hey PJ. You made me shrug!
Just one persons opinion. I and thousands of others will watch and make up our own minds. Then a decent discussion can come out of it.
But I will not pan Atlas Shrugged. I dont have the guts. If you associate with Randiansand I dosaying anything critical about Ayn Rand is almost as scary as saying anything critical to Ayn Rand. Whats more, given how protective Randians are of Rand, Im not sure shes dead.
The woman is a force. But, let us not forget, shes a force for good. Millions of people have read Atlas Shrugged and been brought around to common sense, never mind that the author and her characters dont exhibit much of it. Ayn Rand, perhaps better than anyone in the 20th century, understood that the individual self-seeking we call an evil actually stands in noble contrast to the real evil of self-seeking collectives. (A rather Randian sentence.) Its easy to make fun of Rand for being a simplistic philosopher, bombastic writer andIm just sayingcrazy old bat. But the 20th century was no joke. A hundred years, from Bolsheviks to Al Qaeda, were spent proving Ayn Rand right.
Not much of a review. Mr. O'Rourke sounds as if he is a disciple of Ellsworth Toohey offering criticism of one of Howard Roark's buildings.
When I heard Atlas Shrugged was being set in the present day, I knew it would present problems.
Don’t pan the article until you’ve read it.
It is a very respectful piece.
And if you won’t read it, at least read this part:
“Atlas Shrugged presents other problems for a moviemaker. The book was published in 1957 and set in an America of the future. But time seems to have taken a U-turn, so that were back in a worse Great Depression with a more megalomaniacal business competition-loathing FDR-type administration. All sorts of things have been uninvented, such as oil pipelines so that oil has to be shipped by rail, railroads being the dominant form of transportation. Airplanes exist, but knowing where to fly them apparently doesnt, because a secret hidden unknown valley in the Rocky Mountains figures in the plot, which also hinges on a substance thats lighter and stronger than steel. This turns out to be a revolutionary new steel alloy! Because Rand forgot about plastics.”
Dude. That’s funny.
* Ima Producer wrote:
Ayn Rand was the philosopher who called for an end to human sacrifices and cannibalism.
Ayn Rand was the philosopher who stated that reality exists.
Ayn Rand was the philosopher who stated that happiness not suffering can and should be the emotional state of mankind.
Ayn Rand was the philosopher who believed that freedom with its codification of the rights to life, liberty and property is the basis of a moral government.
Those who vilify Ayn Rand (and those individuals who through reason, not faith, have come to share these values) attack these beliefs and values. What does that say about what they believe in?
“An update is needed, and not just because train buffs, New Deal economics and the miracle of the Bessemer converter are inexplicable to people under 50, not to mention boring. The anti-individualist enemies that Ayn Rand battled are still the enemy, but theyve shifted their line of attack. Political collectivists are no longer much interested in taking things away from the wealthy and creative. Even the most left-wing politicians worship wealth creationas the political-action-committee collection plate is passed. Partners at Goldman Sachs go forth with their billions. Steve Jobs walks on water. Jay-Z and Beyoncé are rich enough to buy God. Progressive Robin Hoods have turned their attention to robbing ordinary individuals. Its the plain folks, not a Taggart/Rearden elite, whose prospects and opportunities are stolen by corrupt school systems, health-care rationing, public employee union extortions, carbon-emissions payola and deficit-debt burden graft. Todays collectivists are going after malefactors of moderate means.”
One thing I enjoy about a lot of Randian purists is that they reject organized religion, but treat any negative remarks toward Rand as the highest form of blasphemy.
I think he makes a very valid point. Atlas Shrugged was an eye-opener for the times. This movie may miss that opportunity and we will be all shrugging that all of what is happening today is just normal.
It will be hard-pressed to top the 1942 Italian release of We The Living, IMO.
>Political collectivists are no longer much interested in taking things away from the wealthy and creative. <
It’s called taxation and regulation dear author.
Especially since trains today are a talisman for collectivists.
I just read ‘The Fountainhead’ a few weeks ago. I came to despise Toohey so much that I laughed when he got his at the end of the book.
Hence, PJ's hesitance to raise any real criticism.
Rand rejected the idea of God as degrading to man. And she thought of agnosticism as cowardice. While I agree with her on many things, this is not one of them. In the end, her subjectivism reduces to an enshrining of self-centered behavior as the highest good. It is not. And it is not the same as enlightened self-interest. It leads to humanity without soul and thus it will be no surprise if the move comes across as flat, worthy of a shrug.
But I'll wait to see it before making up my mind.
At least Willie Green will like it and give it 5 stars for featuring lots of choo-choos.
This review is mixed, but well worth reading.
While the leftists are always and incessently shrieking about "the rich"....the quantitative measure of the word "rich" somehow eludes them. But the "rich" remain the targets of the active left...not the bombasic left.
So...to help our socialist, communist friends on the left, I'll quantitatively define both "wealthy" and "rich" as they apply to the actual ... not rhetoric targets.
Rich - Gross Income of $48,500 to $99,900 annual.
Wealthy - Gross Income of $48,500 to $100,000 annual.
Of course, the "rich" and the "wealthy" can be both decried against verbally, and raped financially. We all want that, right???
But those above these numbers are the "untouchables" and are to be bitterly inveighed against verbally, but left entirely alone otherwise....except, of course, to approach - hat in hand - for contributions.
Having read it, I wonder whether it might not work better as a black satirical comedy. I mean, the villains are almost without exception evil clowns, but they’re still clowns.
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