I’ve always been conflicted on Ayn Rand’s theory of Objectivism. I like to think that self-determinism and collective responsibility aren’t mutually exclusive, but while I disagree that her view that a laissez-faire capitalistic society is superior, I can reluctantly go along with her views on rational egoism, as long as a view of one’s self interest includes the interests of others (i.e., enlightened self-interest). Mostly, though, I just think that Objectivism gives assholes another excuse to act like assholes. But then, I have no problem with her rejection of faith. What I do have a problem with as a personal matter, however, is the conservative movement hijacking Atlas Shrugged and using it against our current administration, which is why the book has gained in popularity of late.
In fact, thanks to the recession, Atlas Shrugged has seen an immense rise in popularity (it rose as high as #33 of Amazon’s top-selling books around the time Obama took office). Even more dispiriting is the fact that the renewed interest in the book has also sparked renewed interest in a cinematic adaptation. Angelina Jolie, at one time, had been loosely attached to the project (though, I don’t quite understand why — Jolie’s personal politics seem to differ from Rand’s), but now Charlize Theron may swoop in and push the project ahead, in the role of Dagny Taggart.
The catch, however, is that instead of a movie, it’d likely be a mini-series, which is more suitable for a book that comes in over 1,000 heavy-handed pages. According to THR’s Risky Business blog, the idea floating around right now is that the mini-series would provide a platform for the launch of Epix, a pay-cable network Lionsgate is forming with MGM and Viacom/Paramount (because, really, what we need is another goddamn channel). My guess is that, even if Theron signs on, it’s a long-shot in the making.
It’s all very murky, still. And Theron’s involvement is not confirmed. In addition to that, it’d be an incredibly difficult undertaking, and I have no idea how one would fit the central scene of the book into a movie, John Galt’s 50-page speech, which basically illustrated Rand’s belief system, which has more contradictions than the Bible and a view of the world even more simplistic.
Also, narratively speaking, her books are shit.