With the movie of Atlas Shrugged edging toward production, it is natural that we’ll see articles about Rand and the book and its adaptation — like the recent one that appeared in the NY Times and other rags, talking about the many abortive attempts at bringing Atlas to the big and small screen. What jumped out in that one was the writer pinning a lot of the trouble on Rand’s supposedly conspiracy-tinged outlook.
Not so good, but that was a veritable puff-piece compared to the most recent article I’ve seen float by. The sneering potshots are nonstop, beginning with the paranoia thing, moving to a hit on The Fountainhead’s famous sex scene and “ironies” of the book’s movie production, and then switching directions to launch into an extended riff on the Standard Litany of ugly, uninformed smears of Rand, Objectivism, and even O’Connor — you know, the mythology spawned and tremendously reinforced by the Brandens, then uncritically swallowed and passed on by so many like this writer. (But please, let’s all remember that the Brandens’ viciously dishonest accounts are marginal and old news and aren’t doing any any real damage. Not.) Oh, and along the way there was the routine condescension with a cute connection-by-nonessentials to Scientology: “Her essays and her novels appeal to people who might like to be intellectuals but lack the necessary curiosity and energy. My observation suggests that she attracts devotees who are also candidates for Scientology — which, like Objectivism, was a novelist’s creation.”
He wraps it up with another smirking bit of intimidation combined with a slap that contradicts Rand’s enduring success: “Even the failures of Ayn Rand (such as her prose) have their own foolish charm. There’s something persistently funny about Rand and Randians, though no Randian will ever quite see the joke. It is not possible to have a sense of humour and take Ayn Rand seriously.”
Wow, to pack so much ignorant garbage and content-free disagreement into so few words is quite an achievement. Now I’m morbidly curious to see if any piece on the way to the movie’s release will somehow manage worse.