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Tuesday, January 08, 2013

 A Dark Truth 
Capitalism  | Groping for the levers of outrage is an OK way to establish a narrative rapport with an audience, and giant and amoral corporations can provide a good fulcrum for hoisting all that righteous indignation, unless you're Ayn Rand or FreedomWorks or something.

Friday, January 04, 2013

 Let Fury Have the Hour 
Individualism  | Although it sets out to document a hopeful narrative of social change, Let Fury Have the Hour also demonstrates the clarifying and fertilizing effects of authoritarianism on artistic movements. [....] The [transatlantic conservatism that emerged in 1980], the film asserts, placed emphasis on personal acquisition and Randian individualism at the expense of the whole concept of the collective good. These attitudes persist today.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

• • • Atlas Shrugged Part Two: Why can't the free market make this movie any better? 
Atlas Shrugged movie  |Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Egoism  |Going Galt  |Image  |Syndicated  | It's tempting to snipe that the argument of Atlas Shrugged Part II—that the genius of an unregulated free market results in the greatest of all greater goods—is somewhat undone by the chintziness of Atlas Shrugged Part II, because, seriously, if this is the best promotion of itself that the free market can manage, it really would benefit from the help of a Ministry of Culture or something.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

 You’ve Been Trumped: The Ugly American 
You've Been Trumped, directed by Anthony Baxter, is a document of a humble American businessman who, through some perspicacity and Abe Lincoln–style bootstraps-hoisting, wins the land and homes of a bunch of primitive, chattering Scottish natives who obviously don't use them to God's and Ayn Rand's intended purpose: for playing golf.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

 Deserved Second Act for Paul Newman’s Sometimes a Great Notion 
Adapted from a magnum opus, Sometimes a Great Notion vastly simplifies Ken Kesey’s second novel, a mad, LSD-infused synthesis of Faulkner, Kerouac, and Ayn Rand, published in 1964 to severely mixed notices.

Friday, February 18, 2011

• • Honoring the Voice senior film critic’s new book, An Army of Phantoms, at BAM 
Atlas Shrugged movie  |The Fountainhead  | As we breathlessly anticipate One Tree Hill star Paul Johansson’s adaptation of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, King Vidor’s one-of-a-kind, Rand-y melodrama The Fountainhead (1949) will have to tide us over. Uncompromised individualist architect Gary Cooper rails against classicist porticoes and, by sheer willpower, fills the Manhattan skyline with International-style matte paintings. Monumental camp right up to the climactic elevator-ride into Cooper’s crotch, The Fountainhead endures as hardline anti-collectivist Russian émigré Rand’s gift to her adopted country: a blueprint for a popular art as irony-dumb and straitjacketed as the Socialist Realism Stalin was pushing back home.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

• • • Ayn Rand’s Ideal is no Fountainhead of genius 
The Fountainhead  |Egoism  | As one might expect, Ideal is a very silly drama—on the one hand, a period murder mystery; on the other, an outlet for Rand’s ideas about objectivism and rational self-interest.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

 Duncan Campbell and the Bruce High Quality Foundation take a bumpy ride to Utopia 
There's a kind of utopian/dystopian strain running through South Soho right now. I use those terms sparingly, since Thomas More, 16th-century author of Utopia, didn't mean what we think of by a good society (slaves: no problem), and if you consult a selective bibliography of Utopian Lit compiled by the New York Public Library—a good read in itself—everyone from William Morris and Martin Buber to Ayn Rand is included.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

 New York’s community-labor divide 
"It is not the city's business—it is not government's business—to tell companies that they should pay more," [Micheal Bloomberg] sputtered. He brought himself up short when he realized he had just denounced the basis of all government wage legislation since the Great Depression. "There are federal minimum-wage laws," he quickly added, "and those are fine." Moments later, his inner Ayn Rand was back in full control: "The bottom line is the marketplace is the marketplace," he proclaimed.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

• • Ken Jacobs returns to Edison with 3-D specs in Anaglyph Tom 
The Fountainhead  |Capitalism  | Returning to the 1905 Edison short that he stretched like a rubber band into 1969's seminal Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son, [director Ken] Jacobs once again distends the picaresque one-reeler about a prepubescent pig thief to feature length [...]. [....] Periodically, Jacobs gives Edison a rest to weigh in on the current economic crisis, including an entr'acte that juxtaposes clips from the 1949 film version of The Fountainhead against C-SPAN footage of Alan Greenspan's mea culpa over the subprime mortgage crisis—an unexpected digression that nevertheless reinforces Jacobs's thesis that everything old is new again.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

• • Governor Paterson means business 
The Fountainhead  |Capitalism  | [NY governor David Paterson] got literary [...] in Washington, where he began his testimony last week by citing novelist Ayn Rand, patron saint of capitalist entrepreneurs. Paterson praised Rand and invoked her advice that "the greatest country in the world was founded on the basis of individuals, where people were encouraged to adventure, not to be complacent." He said that "an infection of greed and mismanagement" had distorted that fine trait. But his chief message to business leaders was this: New York's governor reads Ayn Rand! The Fountainhead did not appear to be on his reading list when he was still that elected official from Harlem, one of the state's poorest districts.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

• • ‘Kirchner and the Berlin Street’ and more 
The Fountainhead  | Review of the book Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko.
As the co-creator of Spider-Man, Steve Ditko (b. 1927) is heir to one of the most lucrative pop-culture franchises in history. Yet, as Blake Bell's engrossing biography delineates, the artist's stubborn adherence to Ayn Rand's Objectivist philosophy cut him off from a world he sees as populated by "non-producers."

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

 The official Village Voice election-season guide to the right-wing blogosphere 
Megan McArdle. [....] Began posting at Live From the WTC (later Asymmetrical Information) as “Jane Galt” shortly after 9/11, with Randian tropes and denunciations of “Lefty Idiocy.”

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

 Secret agent Schmuck 
While working as a computer programmer in the late 1980s, [NXIVM Corporation founder Keith] Raniere became a devotee of Ayn Rand and soon was convinced that self-interest was the apogee of ethical behavior. Setting up a company called Consumer Buyline, he allegedly hawked memberships in a nonexistent discount-consumer-goods club, wowed crowds with his extraordinary charisma, and promised lucrative commissions for members who recruited more customers into the group.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

 Deep Water 
Review of the movie Deep Water, about a circumnavigation of the globe by electrical engineer Donald Crowhurst.
It would have been hard to squeeze a movie out of this Ayn Rand–ian fable were it not for Crowhurst's own 16mm footage of his voyage, which the filmmakers found in a dusty BBC archive.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Summer books: That’s not fair 
In Thick as Thieves: A Brother, a Sister, a True Story of Two Turbulent Lives (Holt, $24), Steve Geng skewers the boyfriend of his sister, New Yorker writer Veronica Geng, as being "devoid of affect." The author is a former professional thief. Recounting the books Veronica read when she was a star student, he invokes the "terrible mixture of pride and longing I felt for her" during one teenage summer when they enjoyed "an almost unbearable closeness" and she was into Ayn Rand.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Atlas slugged 
In a world that made sense, Alex Rodriguez would be the symbol of Latin ascendance over the game of baseball. Unfortunately for Alex Rodriguez [...] [this is] the world of New York baseball in 2006, in which the game's best player is subjected to what teammate Mike Mussina calls "lethal booing," where his every at-bat and play in the field is mercilessly scrutinized, and in which the local press and fandom treat him as if he were a member of a hated rival team.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Harvey Pekar’s Ego & Hubris: The Michael Malice Story 
Book review.
"When it comes to cruelty I am an artist," says Michael Malice, the Ayn Rand–obsessed protag of Harvey Pekar's Ego & Hubris. "It's too bad there's no way for me to market this gift of hurtfulness."

Friday, February 03, 2006

Mirman gets wasted with The Killers 
Just a few doors down—still inside the Hard Rock Hotel—is an awful dance club called Body Bar (named after something in The DaVinci Code—nope. Not true. Now you understand why some people think reality is subjective, but others insist it is objective. This includes Ayn Rand, the band Bread, and Cheney [...].)

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Shuffling pages 
Review of Melissa Briggs' "Book Dances."
Briggs has refined the tension between the two Fountainhead characters in Armistice (Lawrence Cassella and Mindy Nelson) to simple, compressed acts. They sit on chairs side by side, and Nelson briefly lays her cheek against their clasped hands. He grasps her shoulders and she walks out of her coat; he grabs at her feet as she heads for the train and she steps out of her shoes.