Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Evangelist

I read last month that there is talk of making Ayn Rand's tome Atlas Shrugged into a film. And I remembered that, despite my bona fide teenage obsession with Rand's work (I'm pretty sure I read it all, and went to Objectivist meetings too boot for a while), I had never seen The Fountainhead on film. Netflix rectified that over the Thanksgiving weekend. I also recently picked up a (mericifully) cheap copy of the book.

I can see why The Fountainhead appealed to my teenage self: all the iconoclasm, all the idealism, all the homage to human creativity and freedom (I managed to overlook the ideological and economic implications of Rand's work at the time). I'm here to report that the film (for which Rand wrote the screenplay) is oh-so-very true to the book, but not for the qualities that attracted me to the story as an adolescent: it's overwrought, histrionic, and lacking all subtley. My adult self cringed and giggled all the way through the film, and cringed and giggled all over again when I opened up the book. It's not that I don't still find aspects of Rand's basic take on what makes people tick useful or accurate to some degree. It's the evangelical hypercapitalism that gets me - along with all the drama.

P.S. Ha - one of the external links on the Rand wiki page takes you to The Atlasphere, a dating and networking site "Connecting the admirers of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged" ! - I'm just not sure why Anthem didn't make the cut?

If you would like to comment on my choice of image, just note this was the only commons image I could find....

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