Thursday, March 17, 2011

Atlas Shrugged

Target demographic:
My antithetical demographic:

I don’t know when my morbid curiosity of Atlas Shrugged developed, but it’s been lurking with me for quite some time. Like The DaVinci Code, it seemed to be mostly of interest to people who did not engender much trust in their tastes. If I ever asked for the opinion of anyone I trusted it was usually unreservedly negative. “Don’t bother,” they would say, quickly followed by, “it’s got, like, a 100 page speech in it.” Now, I don’t usually mind long monologues, after all Conrad’s Marlow can sure rattle off a ridiculous amount of words in one sitting. But, I got the impression that this infamous speech was not designed explore the nature of memory, storytelling and communication. Rather it was didactic, long, and obnoxious. Plus there were inevitable warning about Rand’s harsh philosophy and how it’s a bunch of bullshit. For a long time, I would satisfy my curiosity by reading the exhaustive Wikipedia pages on Atlas Shrugged and Objectivism. I would skim them, come away with a basic understanding of Rand’s philosophy (idealism, free market, whatever) and then promptly forget about it.

But recently, a movie based on the book (well, the first part of it anyhow) was announced complete with a  mindnumbingly unexciting trailer.

Railroads! Rich people! People smoking cigars! Government imposed economic control! And probing questions, such as: Why don’t you let me finish?! and, Who is John Galt? Wait, Who is John Galt? What? Why would I care who John Galt is? That’s such a bizarre question to get me excited, but it’s presented with such thundering percussion that I feel like I’m missing something. Who is John Galt? Oh God, I don’t know! I better go to this movie to figure it out! But first I’m going to read the book to figure out why I should care.