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Ayn Rand for… dummies: The 10-minute ‘Atlas Shrugged’
03.09.2015
07:31 pm
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Ayn Rand for… dummies: The 10-minute ‘Atlas Shrugged’


 
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 √úbermensches 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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