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Tuesday, February 05, 2013

• • Documenting the Never-Built Dreams of the City of Angels 
The Fountainhead  | It’s hard to build a building. Every project must be ushered through a gauntlet of approvals, zoning codes, committees, clients, and criticism, to say nothing of the laws of finance and physics. As much as some architects might dream of the purity of will that allows Howard Roark to dynamite his tower when it’s not as envisioned, the real world is full of buildings that must find their place in the public sphere, in a compromise between the visions and needs of architects, financiers, planning committees and nearby residents.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

• • 2013: The Year the Mystery Hunt Broke 
Atlas Shrugged  | Better Luck This Time was not the lead team; we finished tied for third. But the team that was, whose name (due I suppose to the lack of character limit in the registration form and too much creativity) was the entire text of Atlas Shrugged, was called by the Sages and asked, “Would your team agree to stop if the team that was currently in the lead was given the coin?”

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

• • Why BioShock Infinite ‘s Creator Won’t Settle for Success 
BioShock  |Capitalism  | BioShock teemed with monsters out of Jules Verne’s nightmares. Giant creatures called Big Daddies lumbered around in archaic diving suits with spherical helmets, emitting unintelligible whalelike moans and skewering players with enormous drills while their doll-like child companions, the Little Sisters, harvested genetic material from the corpses. The player, using cryptic audio recordings and graffiti, could gradually piece together Rapture’s history: a catastrophically failed experiment in libertarianism built by an Ayn Rand-like character. At its core, BioShock functioned as an unmistakable critique of Objectivism, Rand’s laissez-faire philosophy. As such, it was the first political manifesto that allowed you to kill people with swarms of bees emitted from your genetically modified hands.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

• • Footnotes: A Booze-Soaked Special for Post-Election Anguish / Euphoria 
Video  | At Footnotes, we’re nonpartisan, unless you count this week’s Ayn Rand dig. But it’s more of a literary joke [at approx. 2:40], anyway.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

 Exclusive: Ozymandias Cover for Dreaded Watchmen Prequel 
Before Watchmen’s prequels arrive as weekly issues starting this summer, and feature a host of talents culled from DC Comics’ deep bench. Writer Brian Azzarello reconstructs with artist Lee Bermejo the Randian antihero Rorschach for four issues, and also teams up with artist J.G. Jones on the bloodthirsty six-issue Comedian.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

 9 more dark Disney games we’d like to see 
BioShock  |The Fountainhead  | BioDuck. No longer satisfied with the security of his vault, Scrooge McDuck relocates his fortune to an underwater hideaway: Quackture. [....] Included in limited edition: A 600-page comic adaptation of The Fountainhead drawn in Carl Barks style.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

• • • Man scrawls world’s biggest message with GPS ‘pen’ 
Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  |Image  | One man drove 12,238 miles across 30 states to scrawl a message that can only be viewed using Google Earth. His big shoutout: “Read Ayn Rand.” Nick Newcomen did a road trip over 30 days that covered stretches from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean. First, he identified on a map the route he would need to drive to spell out the message. He put a GPS device in his car to trace the route he would follow. Then, he hit the road. “The main reason I did it is because I am an Ayn Rand fan,” he says. “In my opinion if more people would read her books and take her ideas seriously, the country and world would be a better place — freer, more prosperous and we would have a more optimistic view of the future.”

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

• • Review: Cory Doctorow’s For the Win is a lesson in global economics 
Capitalism  | For the Winis overflowing with details Doctorow culled from several years of research into the online computer game community and the money dealings behind the games. It’s possible, as I did, to read it solely to learn about this little-understood world, as well as Doctorow’s own view of how things should be. In that way, For the Win makes a nice counterpart to that other economic screed disguised as a novel, Atlas Shrugged (although of course one is sympathetic to the workers and the other to the bosses).

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

 Review: Rush doc charts journey of unlikely rock heroes 
Deciding they’d rather go down fighting than cave to The Man, the trio took what it thought would be its last trip into the studio. The result was 2112, a concept album whose title track is a heavy, side-long epic. This time, the kids dug it. The record went gold solely through word of mouth. The 22-minute musical narrative didn’t get any radio play, and critics dismissed it as a pretentious joke, but the fans responded to the message of the lyrics, which speak of the importance of individual freedoms in an oppressive society. Some of those fans even started buying Ayn Rand novels after Peart name-checked her in the liner notes.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

• • How Twitter + dopamine = better humans 
Altruism  |Atlas Shrugged  | Man, what a bunch of selfish bastards we are. Gold hoarding abounds. Tea parties rage. Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand’s gospel of self-interest, is outselling The Audacity of Hope on Amazon.com.

Monday, February 08, 2010

 Daddy-daughter killing sprees power BioShock 2 
Eleanor, the little one to whom you’ve been bonded, is actually the daughter of Sophia Lamb, who is as strident a communist as the last game’s antagonist was a Randian objectivist. And she’s set her entire collectivist cult against you.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

 Le Guin joins opposition to Google Book Search settlement 
Celebrated sci-fi author Ursula K. Le Guin has come out in strong opposition to the Google Book Search settlement, and has asked the federal court that will likely approve it next month to take the unlikely step of exempting the entire United States from the settlement. [....] Le Guin’s petition is no Ayn Rand screed and recognizes the laudability of Google’s goal in creating this massive database of digitized books. But she argues that cutting corners to get there is just plain wrong.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

 Hands-on: Big Sisters are watching in BioShock 2 
For all its tangled narrative strings, BioShock’s most profound climactic moment didn’t have much of anything to do with Randian objectivism or the relative merits of saving or harvesting creepy barefoot children. It was when we found out that our main character was a puppet, following all the hypnotic suggestions of the game’s antagonist.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

 One candidate has mastered online campaigning. Too bad it’s Ron Paul. 
There's just one problem with the Ron Paul story: Ron Paul. Sure, he seems like a decent guy, forthright and honest. Unfortunately, his paleo-libertarian policies make Ayn Rand look like Mother Teresa.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

• • Alt.Santas put the X back in Xmas 
Atlas Shrugged  | Objectivist Santa. As this Santa will tell you, the entire concept of "gift giving" is an immoral construction designed to perpetuate a contemptible society based on entitlement and the parasitic draining of those who have earned the fruits of their labors. That an innocent child would be indoctrinated to expect presents with no effort or capital invested into the exchange is an evil unseen since the days of Franklin Roosevelt.

Friday, August 24, 2007

 Creepy moral dilemmas make BioShock a sophisticated shooter 
As the sole survivor of a plane crash over the Atlantic, you find yourself stranded inside a massive underwater city called Rapture. Imagine if Ayn Rand were a mad scientist, and had created an objectivist paradise while selling addictive bioenhancement drugs to the public, causing the entire population to develop superhuman powers, then go insane.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

 First-person shooter BioShock owes more to Ayn Rand than Doom 
Altruism  | Video game review.
From the moment you arrive, you're plunged headfirst into an objectivist social experiment. Banners proclaim ALTRUISM IS THE SOURCE OF ALL EVIL, and perky advertisements preach the wonders of genetic modification.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

• •Exploring the dark side of crowdsourcing 
Ragnar Danneskjold does not exist. The name was dreamed up by Ayn Rand for a rebellious pirate in her seminal book, "Atlas Shrugged." In the book, he's part criminal, part intellectual -- a man who does bad things for good reasons. Now the name has been taken by a 19-year-old American. As the creator of Subvert and Profit, a site that makes a business out of gaming social media site Digg for paying advertisers, there are a lot of people who'd like to know his real name.