GOP vice presidential nominee-apparent Paul Ryan wants you to know that, despite suggesting massive cuts to the sorts of entitlement programs that keep this country from collapsing into an infinitely dense Higgs boson of hopelessness, he no longer has any use for the Darwinian objectivism of notable Russian atheist Ayn Rand.
Great! In repudiating this perpetually debunked philosophy, Ryan joins countless other recovering Randians in a brave new world that never took clunky fiction for holy scripture—well, excluding the Bible. Some famous Rand disciples to leave the flock include former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, who demurred crucially if indirectly back in 2008, and the guy who in high school gave me a copy of The Fountainhead for my birthday only to later become an Orthodox Jew and have kids and post on Facebook about God often enough to warrant de-friending.
Ryan, like those weenies before him, chalks the Rand stuff up to an eager pupil’s infatuation—though as his high-school’s biggest "brown-noser," how much of a young übermensch was he?—and I might say that’s fair. It’s just too bad the kids who like Kurt Vonnegut never get into politics (come to think of it, there’s probably some causation there). Anyway, nope, he’s lying, unless you often find 35-year-olds to be marked by childlike naïveté. Quoth the L.A. Times:
He told the Weekly Standard in 2003 that he gave his staffers copies of “Atlas Shrugged” as Christmas presents. Speaking to a group of Rand acolytes in 2005, Ryan said, “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand. And the fight we are in here, make no mistake about it, is a fight of individualism versus collectivism.”
So, you know, that anti-collectivist opinion is probably very much alive in Ryan’s sickly husk of a brain. Retired voters in Florida? They’re going to love this kill-the-weak policy. Death panels for all!
Many consider Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged to be an epic tome that perfectly lays out the author’s philosophical ideal: a society in which the importance is placed on the self as opposed to the needs of a collective society. I think of it as The Fountainhead, only longer and about trains instead of architecture. Rand is popular among college students and Libertarians, and is much derided by English majors who read novels in which the themes are not explained so explicitly by the authors. But people who make movies seemed to like it enough, which is why the first part of a planned trilogy was released on DVD this month. The only issue? The blurb on the back of the book includes some misleading information about Rand’s philosophy.
According to the official Atlas Shrugged Movie blog, the copy on the back of the film’s DVD and Blu-Ray packaging reads, "AYN RAND’s timeless novel of courage and self-sacrifice comes to life…," which is obviously the complete opposite of what the book is about. It’s quite a fiasco for Atlas Productions LLC, the film’s production company. Atlas Productions CEO Harmon Kaslow joked, "To those that purchased the flawed cover, congratulations are in order. You’ve inadvertently got yourself a real collector’s item there." Those who bought the DVD should also be reminded that they have terrible taste, as the film was nearly universally panned when it was released in April of this year.
Tea Party enthusiasts who bought the DVD (despite the fact that Ayn Rand was a staunch atheist who pushed that agenda in her books, a concept that sort of goes against many of those Tea Partiers’ ideals) will have a chance to get a new cover for their movie by visiting this website. And they’ll be happy to know that the second part of the adaptation is headed to theaters next year. This train wreck cannot be stopped! (Get it? It’s about trains.)
The Atlas Shrugged movie went into production over the weekend. In case you’re not familiar, Atlas Shrugged is Ayn Rand’s massive 1957 novel that functions as a particularly sloppy blow job to the objectivist/libertarian community. It’s hugely influential, I suppose, and considered a classic among circles in which you probably wouldn’t want to find yourself (circles containing people pissed off that the government provides services like, uhm, roads). You probably knew at least one guy in college who was so batshit over Rand’s promulgation of radical selfishness as a social good that you half expected him to rush off to her grave on a coke-binge, dig up her corpse, and haul ass to the county clerk’s office. I guess what I’m trying to say is: there is an entire contingent of society that is going to be fucking insufferable when this comes out. So, why am I not actually that concerned?
Because the production looks like it’s going to be a sham. The producers, John Aglialoro and Harmon Kaslow, would have lost the rights to the film, which Agliaro purchased decades ago, if production hadn’t started by this past Saturday. The novel is nearly, in some editions, 1400 pages long, and they’re working with a paltry $5 million budget. Moreover, they’ve only scheduled five weeks of shooting. You want to know the real kicker?
The star and director of the film is the one and only Paul Johansson, from One Tree Hill. I shit you not.
A guy whose acting credits include The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day, Alpha Dog, and Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies—and whose directing credits include, essentially, Nothing, Nothing, and Nothing: The Movie—is directing and starring in a low budget, slapdash production of Atlas Shrugged. I can’t wait to see how bad this is going to be.