Sunday, January 14, 2007

The New York Times on the Atlas movie

The New York Times ran an article today on the long saga of the Atlas Shrugged movie, focusing on how “until now, at least, no one in Hollywood has figured out a formula that promises both to sell popcorn and to do justice to the original text, let alone to the philosophy that it hammers home endlessly” and the pesky (if not outright paranoid) habit of Rand and her heirs to insist on script control.

File this kind of story under “as long as they spell the names right, who cares,” which is where I expect to file a lot of the stories that come as a result of this movie.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

The article portrayed Rand as a paranoid, anti-communist nutcase. The columnist went out of her way to insult Rand in an attempted not-so-obvious way. The article even tries to draw a link between Rand and Castro; ie the "Castro length" speeches in Atlas Shrugged. The whole thing was a disgrace. The NY Slimes is still pro-communist after all these years. Disgusting but predictable.

BsV

Another Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing that link, Nick. I wouldn't have known about the article otherwise. I enjoyed the Times' coverage. At least it drew attention to the fascinating story of the greatest 20th century novel never put onto film.
I did not have a problem with the adjective "Castro-length." That's a pretty common descriptor. I remember it was used in reference to John Edwards' tendency to ramble off message in 2004.
Rand was brilliant but yes, also eccentric. Some of the facts were twisted in the article. Still, it did bring attention to the novel and to Rand in general. The Times doesn't hire hagiographers. And at least they spelled the names right!

Mario said...

So let's see -- Michael Burns, the vice-chairman of Lions Gate, a man who will be instrumental in bringing this project to the big screen, has this to say about the book:

“I think it solidified my capitalistic thinking, in that I believe very strongly that people are generally selfish, but that selfishness can ultimately benefit many, many people.”

Mr. Burns came away from Atlas Shrugged with his thinking on capitalism cemented in the altruist's argument for capitalism -- that it harnesses man's base nature to the benefit of society.

It's safe to say he missed the whole point. I can't wait to see this movie.

Jack Galt said...

This was an poorly researched story. By falling to present the many legitimate reasons Rand and her heirs had to be concerned over Hollywood’s treatment of “Atlas,” especially given how her works had been treated by others in the past (including the unauthorized production of “We the Living” in fascist Italy and the apparent nightmare of “Night of January 16th), Rand is shown by the Times to be little more than a crank.

How obnoxious—and how typical of the Times.

Burgess Laughlin said...

Another Anonymous, on January 15, 2007 10:11 AM says, "Rand was [...] eccentric."

What do you mean by "eccentric"?

Another Anonymous said...

Eccentric means not having the same center (not concentric). Rand built a unique center for herself over time as her understanding and critical thinking evolved. For example, although influenced by Nietzsche and Schiller, she did not adopt their centers.
(Strauss once made a memorable remark about existentialism having a hard center but a flabby periphery. To co-opt that essay line, it could perhaps be said to describe the inchoate commentary on Rand's fiction provided by some of her Hollywood fans.)
And unless we could reaniminate the likes of Arthur Koestler, it would be unfair to expect a journalist to produce comprehensive coverage of Rand's philosophy. Since that would be too tough, and not of general interest to the Times audience, many journalists opt for the simpler method of just covering someone's personal life.

Anonymous said...

Another Anonymous,

You're a well educated idiot.

JR said...

I agree that Rand was a bit eccentric. She had an almost pathologial inability to understand what somone who disagreed with her was saying.

At the same time, given her eccentricities, she has become an easy target. I question some of the quotes attributed to her in the article.

Anonymous said...

"I agree that Rand was a bit eccentric. She had an almost pathologial inability to understand what somone who disagreed with her was saying."

This is a load of shit that owes its origins to the Brandens. Its been disproven by James Valiant in his book.

Bill Visconti

Burgess Laughlin said...

Another Anonymous said...
"Eccentric means not having the same center (not concentric). Rand built a unique center for herself over time as her understanding and critical thinking evolved. For example, although influenced by Nietzsche and Schiller, she did not adopt their centers."

Thanks for answering my request for a definition of "eccentric." (I note that "eccentric" comes from the Greek ek-kentron, "out of center.")

Unfortunately you seem to have "defined" the term/idea "eccentric" by using a description which is merely synonymous ("not concentric") and perhaps only metaphorical. If eccentric does not have a precise definition and the term/idea is only a metaphorical one, then could you explain what it is a metaphor for?

Metaphors have their uses, but objective definition is not one of them.

So the question remains, what does "eccentric" mean?

In particular, what is the "center" of a philosophy such as Objectivism? Or, if you are not using the names Rand, Schiller, and Nietzsche metonymically, what is the "center" of a person?

Another Anonymous said...

Burgess, We seem to be engaging in a Socratic dialogue, with you as teacher.
If objective reality is independent of mind and knowable if investigated, then isn't reason the highest virtue and thus the core.
And would not a geometrist have accepted the definining of eccentric by describing what it is not.