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Ayn Rand for… dummies: The 10-minute ‘Atlas Shrugged’
03.09.2015
07:31 pm
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If one writes anything mean/true about Ayn Rand on the Internet, invariably the author will receive a litany of howling complaints from her fans (people who seem to have an awful lot of time of their hands for some… strange reason) in the comments. It’s absurd and hilarious to field dumb invective hurled at you by people that you have no intellectual respect for and that you will never, ever meet in real life, but dumping on Rand is a predictable impetus for attracting this sort of thing. Scroll down, I’m sure without looking that they’ll start to pile up like poorly punctuated turds under a rabbit cage before too long.

The Randroids behave as if they’re defending the honor of a saint or a great literary or philosophical genius and not a complete lunatic who wrote the most turgid prose of any best-selling author of the 20th century. I understand their psychology well, for I myself was once a teenaged Ayn Rand true believer. Oh yes, I’ve probably read 99% of every word she wrote or that was publicly uttered by her during her lifetime. Not only did I have every Ayn Rand book, I owned every single copy of The Objectivist and The Ayn Rand Letter, kept in green leather binders. I owned all of her Ford Foundation speeches in pamphlets and on cassette tapes. In the 8th grade, I managed to track down her Playboy interview. This unlikely childhood collection, mind you, was amassed by mail order in the 1970s on money earned from mowing lawns. I was really into it, I’m ashamed to say. Could quote her chapter and verse… Then I discovered drugs, punk rock and girls and promptly forget all about Ayn Rand.

Ayn Rand fanboys and girls are a unique bunch, and one trait that many of them—not all, but many—share is that by and large they are not… er… very literate people and Atlas Shrugged is quite often one of the few books they’ve ever read, so it shares an outsized place in their affections.

Ayn Rand is the Enya of fiction. I don’t wish to tar the new agey Irish songstress with the same brush as the Russian novelist with the toxic philosophy, my point being that if Enya (who sells tens of millions of CDs) is music for people who don’t like music, then Rand wrote books for people who don’t like to read. Her books are like Sarah Palin’s in that sense, but when someone who has read precious few books to begin with can wade through a hefty tome like Atlas Shrugged—which IS a page-turner to be fair, the novel’s gripping plot is truly epic—it gives them a sense of completely unmerited intellectual achievement. Problem is they’re too dumb to know that or else they wouldn’t be fucking goofball Ayn Rand fans fancying themselves world-conquering Übermensches in the first place. If you’ve only ever read five books in your entire life and Atlas Shrugged is one of them, you’ll probably think it’s a masterpiece. For those of us who’ve read more than, oh, say, ten books, you look like an absolute fucking knob going on and on about Ayn Rand in Disqus comments. It’s an admission of stunted mental growth, no more, no less. (As someone funnier than I am once said, being an Ayn Rand fan as an adult is like discovering OMD when you’re fifteen and having your mind blown and your musical tastes frozen in time right then and there.)

For the people who have heard all about Atlas Shrugged via Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity or being a Ron Paul fan or Tea partier or whatever, but who’ll never, ever finish a gigantic doorstopper of a novel like that one, the news that there was going to be an Atlas Shrugged movie trilogy probably seemed like welcome news until they tried to watch it. There are three “trash compactor” cuts of the Atlas Shrugged films if you’d like to see all three parts in under ten minutes and get “the gist” of what happens.

It still feels at little long, doesn’t it?

 
Oh look, all new actors in part 2! Obviously part 2 had a significantly lower budget than the first one. Dig the bargain basement Hank Rearden and Dagny Taggarts…
 

 
Not wanting to disappoint, the producers got—you guessed it—an entirely new cast for the third installment, too. Except for hamfisted holdover Sean Hannity. And look, Glenn Beck…
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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03.09.2015
07:31 pm
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Ayn Rand, worst aunt EVER: Read her letter to her 17-year-old niece
01.14.2015
05:54 pm
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It’s easy to imagine Ayn Rand as the product of a laboratory—an unholy robotic experiment intended to merge cultural capitalism with particularly dour and sanctimonious soap operas; but little Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum was actually born to human parents, and even had living family with whom she corresponded, as dutifully compiled in Letters of Ayn Rand. Should you be curious as to whether or not the woman had a soft (or at least a sentimental) side, I invite you to read this letter she sent to her 17-year-old niece, Connie, who had recently asked to borrow $25 for a dress. I have bolded the very best/worst lines for my own emphasis.

To Connie Papurt, AR’s niece, a daughter of Frank’s sister, Agnes Papurt
May 22, 1949

Dear Connie:

You are very young, so I don’t know whether you realize the seriousness of your action in writing to me for money. Since I don’t know you at all, I am going to put you to a test.

If you really want to borrow $25 from me, I will take a chance on finding out what kind of person you are. You want to borrow the money until your graduation. I will do better than that. I will make it easier for you to repay the debt, but on condition that you understand and accept it as a strict and serious business deal. Before you borrow it, I want you to think it over very carefully.

Here are my conditions: If I send you the $25, I will give you a year to repay it. I will give you six months after your graduation to get settled in a job. Then, you will start repaying the money in installments: you will send me $5 on January 15, 1950, and $4 on the 15th of every month after that; the last installment will be on June 15, 1950—and that will repay the total.

Are you willing to do it?

Here is what I want you to think over: Once you get a job, there will always be many things which you will need and on which you might prefer to spend your money, rather than repay a debt. I want you to decide now, in advance, as an honest and responsible person, whether you will be willing and able to repay this money, no matter what happens, as an obligation above and ahead of any other expense.

I want you to understand right now that I will not accept any excuse—except a serious illness. If you become ill, then I will give you an extension of time—but for no other reason. If, when the debt becomes due, you tell me that you can’t pay me because you needed a new pair of shoes or a new coat or you gave the money to somebody in the family who needed it more than I do—then I will consider you as an embezzler. No, I won’t send a policeman after you, but I will write you off as a rotten person and I will never speak or write to you again.

Now I will tell you why I am so serious and severe about this. I despise irresponsible people. I don’t want to deal with them or help them in any way. An irresponsible person is a person who makes vague promises, then breaks his word, blames it on circumstances and expects other people to forgive it. A responsible person does not make a promise without thinking of all the consequences and being prepared to meet them.

You want $25 for the purpose of buying a dress; you tell me that you will get a job and be able to repay me. That’s fine and I am willing to help you, if that is exactly what you mean. But if what you mean is: give me the money now and I will repay it if I don’t change my mind about it—then the deal is off. If I keep my part of the deal, you must keep yours, just exactly as agreed, no matter what happens.

I was very badly disappointed in Mimi and Marna [Docky]. When I first met Mimi, she asked me to give her money for the purpose of taking an art course. I gave her the money, but she did not take the art course. I supported Marna for a year—for the purpose of helping her to finish high school. She did not finish high school. I will take a chance on you, because I don’t want to blame you for the actions of your sisters. But I want you to show me that you are a better kind of person.

I will tell you the reasons for the conditions I make: I think that the person who asks and expects other people to give him money, instead of earning it, is the most rotten person on earth. I would like to teach you, if I can, very early in life, the idea of a self-respecting, self-supporting, responsible, capitalistic person. If you borrow money and repay it, it is the best training in responsibility that you can ever have.

I want you to drop—if you have it in your mind—the idea that you are entitled to take money or support from me, just because we happen to be relatives. I want you to understand very clearly, right now, when you are young, that no honest person believes that he is obliged to support his relatives. I don’t believe it and will not do it. I cannot like you or want to help you without reason, just because you need the help. That is not a good reason. But you can earn my liking, my interest and my help by showing me that you are a good person.

Now think this over and let me know whether you want to borrow the money on my conditions and whether you give me your word of honor to observe the conditions. If you do, I will send you the money. If you don’t understand me, if you think that I am a hard, cruel, rich old woman and you don’t approve of my ideas—well, you don’t have to approve, but then you must not ask me for help.

I will wait to hear from you, and if I find out that you are my kind of person, then I hope that this will be the beginning of a real friendship between us, which would please me very much.

Your aunt,

I am legitimately curious about whether this girl took the money—I mean, I would have. What risk is there? Alienating a terrible aunt who will probably just ignore you as “punishment”? A later letter suggests Rand thought highly of Connie, which leads me to suspect that she either found the dress funds elsewhere, or perhaps she really did get a job to repay her stern loan shark of an auntie. Rand also says she doesn’t “know” Connie, but I’m willing to bet that’s just Randspeak for, “Sure, we’ve met—but I cannot divine the capitalist contents of your soul.”

Or maybe the name just sounded too much like “Commie,” and Auntie Ayn got extra nervous?

Via The Toast

Posted by Amber Frost
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01.14.2015
05:54 pm
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John Oliver hilariously rips Ayn Rand fans
09.29.2014
11:11 am
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Someone far funnier than I am described “adults” infatuated with the Objectivist philosophy of Ayn Rand as being like the geek who discovered OMD in the 8th grade, had his mind blown and subsequently never gave up on the idea that they were the greatest group in the history of recorded music!

Admittedly I was a huge Ayn Rand fan when I was a kid. I’ve read nearly every word Ayn Rand published during her lifetime—including all of the magazines and newsletters, transcripts of her speeches, etc—and in the end, intellectually it’s just rubbish for small-minded twerps and people who don’t realize how illiterate extolling her “virtues” makes them sound.

Ayn Rand wrote novels for people who don’t read (a sort of literary Enya, if you will, a performer beloved by folks who don’t actually listen to music). Because she was capable of writing truly engrossing and well-plotted page-turners—pity about the shit dialogue and one-dimensional characters!—even many non-readers made it through Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead, giving them a sense of feeble intellectual accomplishment.

“Objectivists” (and 99.9% of doctrinaire libertarians) are never worth debating on the Internet because you will never convince them that she’s anything less than infallible. Objectivists feel about their hero the same way Scientologists feel about L. Ron Hubbard. (In my defense my own infatuation with Ayn Rand was during junior high school, but it was intense, I’ll cop to that).

When someone is thick enough to be a big Ayn Rand fan, they’re beyond being self-aware enough to realize how dumb they seem to literate people. A (very, very) large component of why Ayn Rand is so popular is because her philosophy is so easy to understand and because it sounds like something that some, er… intellectually less-enlightened readers already sort of agree with. No one who likes Ayn Rand seems likely to have ever read, say, Sartre, Hesse, Faulkner, Dostoyevsky, Dos Passos, or even ... Dickens. (I have no proof of this, but I have a strong hunch that being “well-traveled” ranks pretty low on the priorities of many of Rand’s apparently unsophisticated readers.)

Last night on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, the philosopher of selfishness was skewered mercilessly:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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09.29.2014
11:11 am
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Ron Paul, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Grover Norquist will be in the next ‘Atlas Shrugged’ movie
06.20.2014
05:25 pm
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For those of you who haven’t been keeping tabs on the massive, slow-moving trainwreck that is the Atlas Shrugged trilogy, the first movie cost $20 million and made $4,627,375 at the box office, while the second cost $10 million and made $3,336,053. The third had to be partially funded by a Kickstarter campaign that yielded a cool $446,907—we have to wait for the September release before formally declaring it a failure, but I think it’s safe to say we’re not looking at a blockbuster here. It gives one the warm fuzzies to realize that a movie based on Ayn Rand’s epic paean to capitalism is a failure by her own measure, since the free market has stubbornly refused to acknowledge the Atlas Shrugged cinematic “franchise.”

But wait—the final installment will be pulling out all the stops!

After toying with the idea that the third installment could be made into a musical (not kidding, look it up), the Randroids are bringing out the biggest guns: Ron Paul, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Grover Norquist. Hannity was apparently already in the second one, but conservative weirdos really work best in an ensemble, don’t you think? Apparently the pundit guest-stars weren’t even given scripts but were instructed instead to just “riff” off protagonist John Galt’s ten hour monologue. This should give you an idea of the professionalism of the movie.

They say politics is just show business for ugly people, but when show business gets political, some of that ugly is gonna get on the silver screen. For a preview, check out Ron Paul’s feverish endorsement of Ayn Rand below. Watch the crazy old man give his book report. Do it.
 

 
Via The Hollywood Reporter

Posted by Amber Frost
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06.20.2014
05:25 pm
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Ayn Rand ‘objectively’ explains to ‘Cat Fancy’ that cats are awesome, 1966
06.16.2014
08:47 am
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Ayn Rand
 
It’s difficult to think of something—anything—that could endear Ayn Rand to me, but the news that she was a cat person certainly would be in that unlikely ballpark.

That said, I’d peg this curious missive she sent to Cat Fancy magazine on March 20, 1966, as an obvious hoax if it wasn’t right there in the volume dedicated to her correspondence.
 

Dear Miss Smith,

You ask whether I own cats or simply enjoy them, or both. The answer is: both. I love cats in general and own two in particular.

You ask: “We are assuming that you have an interest in cats, or was your subscription strictly objective?” My subscription was strictly objective because I have an interest in cats. I can demonstrate objectively that cats are of a great value, and the carter issue of Cat Fancy magazine can serve as part of the evidence. (“Objective” does not mean “disinterested” or indifferent; it means corresponding to the facts of reality and applies both to knowledge and to values.)

I subscribed to Cat Fancy primarily for the sake of the picture, and found the charter issue very interesting and enjoyable.

 
It’s especially great that even when writing Cat Fancy about her fondness for cats, she still can’t help getting into a nitpicky semantic debate over the word “objective”! Cat Fancy apparently set out the bait, and she went for it, like, well, a cat goes after a sardine…...
 
Ayn Rand
Ayn Rand swooning over the heroic properties of the American industrialist with an especially adorable Objectivist pal
 

Posted by Martin Schneider
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06.16.2014
08:47 am
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Find selfish lovers at the Ayn Rand dating site!
10.17.2013
08:40 pm
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In the late 1990s, the white supremacist bootboys at Stormfront decided to start their own online dating service, obviously, with the express goal of meeting some cute bootgirls via the Internet. I don’t imagine it’s all that easy to find a mate, let alone a date, when your musical tastes gravitate towards Skrewdriver, your bookshelf consists solely of Mein Kampf and you want to dress up as Francis Parker Yockey for Halloween.

Where is that isolated Odin worshiper in Pennsylvania going to find a nice girl he can take home to mama? For certain people, navigating the dating minefield can prove to be a real dilemma, but it’s getting easier, even for guys taking selfies in front of the Confederate flag holding shotguns…

Match.com. Christian Mingle. J-Date. Russian brides. Asian ladies. Vegans. Freegans. Hepatitis C carriers. Furries.  It can get pretty specific. There’s a dating service for practically everyone now, even the most repellent people on the planet, like libertarians and the lowest of the low, Ayn Rand fanatics. Being a self-identifying “Objectivist” can be tragic and socially awkward thing in the “real world.” Where would that aspiring John Galt in Pawnee ever meet up with a Dagny of his own to throw up against the wall in fulfillment of her quasi-rape fantasy?

It’s as hard as Rearden steel to meet that certain special someone who wants a selfish lover!

Via the Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Hancock is a proponent of Russian-American author Ayn Rand’s philosophy of capitalism and self-interest. At age 30, he had already been “looking for a very specific kind of woman” for three years when Google searches led him to the Atlasphere, an Ayn Rand appreciation site with a dating component.

There, he found his dream date: a woman who also wanted to do logical cost-benefit analyses of every decision.

You hear that? Oh baby, let the good times roll!

Atlasphere founder Joshua Zader, 40, of Phoenix, says niche sites are more efficient than broader sites such as OKCupid or Match.com.

“If you assume that maybe 1 out of 500 people is a serious fan of Ayn Rand’s novels, on a normal dating site you have a 1 in 500 chance of someone sharing the same basic values,” he says. “On the Atlasphere, every profile shows you what you want,” he says. The 10-year-old site has seen a spike in membership in recent years—it has more than 16,000 dating profiles—after two “Atlas Shrugged” movies were released, says Mr. Zader, a Web developer. User handles include “Atlas in Arlington” and “ObjectivelyHot.”

So it’s not just fans of shitty fiction with a pseudo-philosophical component, it’s people who like shitty films based on that shitty pseudo-philosophical fiction.

Ms. Betit-Hancock, a schools special-needs coordinator, says she had been “kind of freaking out,” wondering how she’d find someone “rational” to date. She met a man at a meet-up group for fans of libertarian former congressman Ron Paul, but “he couldn’t explain why he supported Ron Paul and why the ideas behind his policies made sense.”

Because they don’t make any fucking sense to begin with, that’s why!

Mr. Hancock, an engineer, says he specifically wrote his profile to “scare people who weren’t serious Objectivists away.”

I don’t have anything to add to that. I’m all snarked out now.

Over at Vice, Dave Schilling trolled the Atlasphere. Read his story here. Part of his online profile, below:
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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10.17.2013
08:40 pm
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Slavoj Žižek: Ayn Rand’s ‘John Galts’ are the idiots who crashed the economy & they’ll do it again


 
I had to laugh at the way Slavoj Žižek so masterfully ended his Guardian op ed piece, “Who is responsible for the US shutdown? The same idiots responsible for the 2008 meltdown.”

Žižek’s subtitle is “In opposing Obamacare, the radical-populist right exposes its own twisted ideology” and in the essay, he poses a provocative question that I’ve been wondering about a lot myself recently: “Barack Obama is accused of dividing the American people instead of bringing them together. But what if this, precisely, is what is good about Obama?”

I’d like to read Žižek—or Jonathan Chait, Brian Beutler, Alex Pareene, Michael Tomasky, Charles Hugh Smith, Frank Rich or the great Charles P. Pierce—taking on this topic in further detail once the dust has cleared.

The conclusion Žižek draws at the close, though, is simply sublime:

One of the weird consequences of the 2008 financial meltdown and the measures taken to counteract it (enormous sums of money to help banks) was the revival of the work of Ayn Rand, the closest one can get to an ideologist of the “greed is good” radical capitalism. The sales of her opus Atlas Shrugged exploded. According to some reports, there are already signs that the scenario described in Atlas Shrugged – the creative capitalists themselves going on strike – is coming to pass in the form of a populist right. However, this misreads the situation: what is effectively taking place today is almost the exact opposite. Most of the bailout money is going precisely to the Randian “titans”, the bankers who failed in their “creative” schemes and thereby brought about the financial meltdown. It is not the “creative geniuses” who are now helping ordinary people, it is the ordinary people who are helping the failed “creative geniuses.”

John Galt, the central character in Atlas Shrugged, is not named until near the end of the novel. Before his identity is revealed, the question is repeatedly asked, “Who is John Galt?” Now we know precisely who he is: John Galt is the idiot responsible for the 2008 financial meltdown, and for the ongoing federal government shutdown in the US.

Standing ovation!

Posted by Richard Metzger
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10.11.2013
04:25 pm
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The ‘Invisible Hand’ of the free market flips ‘Atlas Shrugged’ trilogy the bird


Who gives a shit?

After the unfettered free market showed with extraordinary clarity that nobody gave a shit about the crappy Atlas Shrugged movies, its producers are on Kickstarter to finance the third installment. Per Filmdrunk’s Vince Mancini:

According to Ayn Rand’s most fervant fanboys – Shruggalos, as I like to call them – Atlas Shrugged, her 1139-page anti-collectivist screed about what would happen if society’s movers and shakers decided not to work (shrugged, if you will) remains as relevant today as it was when it was published during the days of Mao and Khrushchev in 1957.

When Shruggalos John Aglialoro and Harmon Kaslow couldn’t get socialist Hollywood to follow through with making an Atlas Shrugged movie, they produced it themselves, releasing it on tax day in 2011, when it earned $4.6 million on a $20 million budget. A second installment made $3.3 million in 2012, and now the producers are on Kickstarter raising money for a third installment, Atlas Shrugged: Who is John Galt?, with a video featuring celebrity Shruggalos Dennis Miller, Sean Hannity, John Stossel, Penn Jillette, Glenn Beck, and that one fat guy with no forehead. WHO’S LOOKING FOR HANDOUTS NOW, PAULTARDS?!?

At least, that’s what they want the story to be. They’re basically financing the $10 million movie themselves again, but they’re using the $250,000 Kickstarter campaign as a publicity stunt, since no one paid attention to their crappy movies the last two times. A canny strategy?

OK, first, I’m totally stealing “Shruggalos.” Second, it seems unlikely that this “publicity stunt” (riiiiiiiiiight) is going to get anyone out to see the end of a preposterous oligarchic fantasy trilogy to which nobody saw the first two installments. There’s no getting around it, Atlas shat the bed. These are self-described Objectivists—elite Objectivists, even—begging for money because their business failed - being, what’s that word they love to throw at the disadvantaged? PARASITIC. Just like their maven herself. Financially, however, it appears to be working.

Here’s the only Ayn Rand film adaptation that anyone ever needs to bother with.
 

Posted by Ron Kretsch
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09.26.2013
08:33 pm
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A few words about love, from everyone’s favorite hopeless romantic, Ayn Rand
03.12.2013
11:16 am
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Gotta hand it to her—the woman rocked the asymmetrical bob like no other
 
The 1959 Mike Wallace interview of Ayn Rand is chock-full of lovely little horrors to satiate my anti-capitalist smugness, but for my money (see what I did there?), you can’t beat hearing the woman (whose philosophies bolstered Alan Greenspan’s chairmanship of the Federal Reserve for nearly 20 years) wax romantic. Hint: it involves currency, “virtue,” and very few of us are deserving.

Keep in mind, this is also the woman who defended her rapist protagonist, saying If it was rape, it was rape by engraved invitation.
 

Posted by Amber Frost
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03.12.2013
11:16 am
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‘Atlas Shrugged’ jewelry: Show your sweetie you care (about yourself) this Valentine’s Day
02.06.2013
11:52 am
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For the record, that’s not “Rearden Metal,” it’s made of aluminum
 
The Atlas Shrugged jewelry line was not just inspired by the Ayn Rand novel—the pieces are actual reproductions from the ill-fated Atlas Shrugged film! What? You didn’t know there was a two-part Atlas Shrugged movie?!? That’s because it bombed horribly! (They spent $20 million on the first installment and didn’t even earn back $5 million. On the second they spent $10 million, and didn’t earn earn back $3.5 million.)

But, for a mere $159.00, you can warm the blackened cardiac lacuna of your very own Dagny Taggart and help the producers pay their investors back…
 
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This pendant goes for $129.95 in silver, or $489.95, if you want to spring for the gold. You can even special order it for a Valentine’s Day arrival, but like anything with value, only a limited number are available for the rush delivery!

And if you’re shopping for the man in your life, snag the “Who is John Galt?” necktie, for a pittance at $79.95.

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At least it’s actually silk

In some ways, merchandising the ever-living hell out of this commercial failure seems like the most intuitive thing one could possibly do to dig oneself out of a $15 million hole, but sorry, if I’m going to reward true free market innovation, I’m holding out for slutty Objectivist lingerie.

They could call the line “RANDy”!

Posted by Amber Frost
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02.06.2013
11:52 am
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Obama on Ayn Rand
10.25.2012
02:35 pm
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In the new Rolling Stone cover story, out today—yes the same one where Obama says Mitt Romney is a “bullshitter”—we get to hear the President’s take on reichwing icon Ayn Rand:

Q: Have you ever read Ayn Rand?

Obama: Sure.

Q: What do you think Paul Ryan’s obsession with her work would mean if he were vice president?

Obama: Well, you’d have to ask Paul Ryan what that means to him. Ayn Rand is one of those things that a lot of us, when we were 17 or 18 and feeling misunderstood, we’d pick up. Then, as we get older, we realize that a world in which we’re only thinking about ourselves and not thinking about anybody else, in which we’re considering the entire project of developing ourselves as more important than our relationships to other people and making sure that everybody else has opportunity – that that’s a pretty narrow vision. It’s not one that, I think, describes what’s best in America. Unfortunately, it does seem as if sometimes that vision of a “you’re on your own” society has consumed a big chunk of the Republican Party.

Posted by Richard Metzger
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10.25.2012
02:35 pm
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Ayn Bran breakfast cereal
10.15.2012
12:06 pm
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Like her books, the box is unnecessarily long.

The author of Atlas Shrugged introduces her “Objectebreakfast” cereal, Ayn Bran.

Free handgun in every box to defend yourself against “socialists and the black people.”
 

 
Via The Midnight Show

Posted by Richard Metzger
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10.15.2012
12:06 pm
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Paul Ryan refuses Bible, runs to his SUV to avoid being asked about Ayn Rand by Catholic activist
08.21.2012
12:25 am
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A blast from the past: Last June some amusing footage made the rounds of a young Catholic activist giving a hard time to Republican Congressman Paul Ryan about his “Ayn Rand Budget.”

The viral video saw Mitt Romney’s now running mate hot-footing it to his SUV in order to avoid being handed a Bible and being pressed about his admiration for cult philosopher, Ayn Rand.

This was shot at the Faith and Freedom Coalition on June 4th, 2011. The young man who accosted Ryan, I believe is named James Salt.

As Swampland wrote at the time:

These days, when people question a politician’s “morality,” they usually mean his or her personal behavior and choices. But an interesting thing is happening right now around the GOP budget proposal. A broad coalition of religious voices is criticizing the morality of the choices reflected in budget cuts and tax policy. And they’ve specifically targeted Ryan and his praise for Rand, the philosopher who once said she “promote[d] the ethic of selfishness.”

Across the street from the Faith & Freedom Conference Friday afternoon, a group of religious leaders continued the attack on what they now consistently refer to as “The Ayn Rand Budget.” Father Cletus Kiley, a Catholic priest, declared the Ryan budget “does not pass our test” of Catholic teachings, and suggested that supporters of the budget “drop Ayn Rand’s books and pick up their sacred texts.”

Rand’s influence on Ryan’s politics is also the subject of a new ad produced by the religious group American Values Network, which hopes to run the spot in Ryan’s district. It’s a stinging attack, and again, one that was wholly unanticipated by the Republican rising star.

You won’t hear this in the embedded video below, but in another video of the same event from a different camera, James Salt says: “He [Ryan] will have to account for the suffering he will cause.”

I don’t think James was referring to voters here, when he says Ryan will “have to account,” do you? I think he means that Paul Ryan will be answering to a “higher power.” It’s a pity that smarmy Republican bastard didn’t hear that bit…

It’s officially official now, what with the Paul Ryan Veep nod: the Republican Party is in the grips of a long-dead, fanatically anti-Christian cult leader. At a certain point, you realize, of course, that the far-right religious cultural warriors are going to be obliged to turn on the libertarian-types. Their common ground ain’t as common as it used to be! And it’s going to be really fun to watch.

Here’s how the American Values Network sees it: Christian voters must choose: Ayn Rand or Jesus :

GOP leaders and conservative pundits have brought upon themselves a crisis of values. Many who for years have been the loudest voices invoking the language of faith and moral values are now praising the atheist philosopher Ayn Rand whose teachings stand in direct contradiction to the Bible. Rand advocates a law of selfishness over love and commands her followers to think only of themselves, not others. She said her followers had to choose between Jesus and her teachings.

GOP leaders want to argue that they are defending Christian principles. But, at the same time, Rep. Paul Ryan (author of the GOP budget) is posting facebook videos praising Rand’s morality and saying hers is the “kind of thinking that is sorely needed right now.” Simply put, Paul Ryan can’t have it both ways, and neither can Christians. As conservative evangelical icon Chuck Colson recently stated, Christians can not support Rand’s philosophy and Christ’s teachings. The choice is simple: Ayn Rand or Jesus Christ. We must choose one and forsake the other.

Ayn Rand on why the Christian Message is “Monstrous” and Christ’s Teachings are “Evil” (American Values Network)

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Don’t Get Lippy with GOP Rep. Paul Ryan or he’ll have you taken to the gulag
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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08.21.2012
12:25 am
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‘Mozart Was a Red’: A One Act Play about Ayn Rand
08.20.2012
05:48 pm
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Famed Libertarian economist and activist Murray Rothbard wrote the scathing one-act play “Mozart Was A Red” in the early 1960s satirizing Ayn Rand and her slavish cult of personality.

If you have even a passing familiarity with how Rand interacted with her court follower “Objectivists,” then “Mozart Was a Red” is absolutely hysterical stuff.

Here’s how Justin Raimondo described the play on a Libertarian website. This sets the stage nicely, indeed.

“Mozart Was a Red” is, to my knowledge, Murray N. Rothbard’s one and only play. It is a form unusual for him, but one well suited to its subject: the cult that grew up around the novelist Ayn Rand and flourished in the 60s and early 70s. For the principal figures of Rand’s short-lived “Objectivist” movement were indeed like characters out of some theatrical farce.

With her flowing cape, intense eyes, and long cigarette holder, Rand was the very picture of eccentricity; she sometimes wore a tricornered hat, and at one point carried a gold-knobbed cane. Her thick Russian accent added to the exoticism. It is a measure of Rand’s powerful personality – and the real key to understanding the Rand cult – that, after a while, many of her leading followers began to speak with a noticeable accent, although each and every one of them had been born in North America.

This Russification process was especially pronounced in Nathaniel Branden, her leading disciple. Branden delivered his lectures on the “Basic Principles of Objectivism” in a sonorous singsong voice with a very definite Slavic undertone. Pompous, dogmatic, and utterly self-infatuated, Branden was the second-in-command and chief enforcer of a cult that demanded total obedience and agreement on every conceivable subject – in the name of individualism. Any deviation from the Randian line – and they had a line on everything – was taken as evidence of “bad premises,” and grounds for expulsion from the inner circle.

Murray’s own experience with the Randians was a case in point. In the late 50s, Murray and a group of his libertarian friends in New York City became interested in the burgeoning Objectivist movement, which had taken off as a result of the success of Rand’s novel, Atlas Shrugged.

Murray wrote Rand a letter complimenting her on the novel, and soon joint meetings of the Randian “Senior Collective” and Rothbard’s Circle Bastiat were being held. As advocates of laissez-faire capitalism, avowedly committed to the supremacy of reason, it seemed as if the Randians would be valuable allies.

But the Randians did not understand the concept of “allies”: in their universe, you either agreed with all of their positions, or else you were consigned to the Outer Darkness. (Curiously, on the level of macro-politics, the Randians were grossly opportunistic.)

The Randian ideology was not so much an integrated philosophical system as a mythos, based as it was on Rand’s novels. Unfortunately, as she got older, she imagined herself to be a philosopher, and gave up fiction writing to become the leader of a movement.

In her nonfiction tirades, Rand quotes mainly from her own works; this was due not only to her inflated self-estimate, but also to a colossal ignorance. She read almost nothing but detective novels, and her followers, usually considerably younger, were even worse. Although her philosophy of rational self-interest was an eccentric modern variation on a much older philosophical tradition, the only precedent she acknowledged was Aristotle.

While claiming not to be militant atheist – “It would be paying religion a compliment it does not deserve” – she denounced conservatives for their devotion to religion and tradition, dismissing them as “moth-eaten mystics.”

Religion was also the main issue in the events leading up to Murray’s break with the Randians: although Murray was an agnostic, his wife, JoAnn, was (and is) a Presbyterian. Apprised of this, Rand grilled Joey on the reasons for her religious faith and suggested that she read a pamphlet put out by the Randians that “disproved” the existence of God.

When Joey refused to recant her heresy, Murray was told that he had better find himself a more “rational” mate. That was enough for Murray. The break was finalized by his formal “trial” held by the Randian Senior Collective, which Murray declined to attend.

Murray’s real talent as a satirist comes through in his deft characterizations: in Carson Sand, the imperious author of The Brow of Zeus, Murray has Rand down to a tee. With one well-placed brushstroke – “Jonathan’s nose was permanently tilted at a 45 degree angle from horizontal” – Murray paints a vivid picture of cult leader Nathaniel Branden. His subtle portrayal of Rand’s husband, the quiet, amiable, and rather intelligent Frank O’Connor, in the character of George, is imaginative and structurally clever: at key points in the drama, it is George, always speaking quietly amid the grandiose histrionics of the others, who asks key questions of Keith Hackley, the bewildered neophyte, and moves the action along.

A special performance of “Mozart Was A Red” was given at the 60th birthday celebration for Murray Rothbard in New York, in 1986.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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08.20.2012
05:48 pm
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The Masters: How Ayn Rand and L. Ron Hubbard Came Up With Their Big Ideas
08.07.2012
04:08 pm
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Via Cracked:

“The birth of every single asshole in America in a single conversation.”

I thought this was funny—and pretty profound—but the woman playing Ayn Rand couldn’t be bothered to put on a Russian accent???

Like that would have been a bad idea or somehow diminished the laughs?

The predictably predictable idiocy of the Ayn Rand fanboys is already starting to heat up in the YouTube comments. I can’t imagine a more pathetic or pointless activity than furiously typing up pea-brained cliches defending Ayn Rand or Objectivism on fuckin’ YouTube, but it heartens me to see so many self-styled “Galts” wasting their tiny lives like that…

Bless their pointed little heads.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger
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08.07.2012
04:08 pm
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