The purpose of “Media Citings” and “Culture” categories on this blog is to bring some attention to the ways in which Ayn Rand’s work has become a part of the cultural vernacular. As I point out here, in an Atlasphere article (which I have expanded considerably for publication in a Fall 2004 Centenary Culture Symposium in The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies), Rand’s cultural impact is growing at an almost exponential rate. To merely cite the positive and negative cultural references to Rand, however, does not imply a “sanction” of any of the said references. On this blog, I’m mostly playing the role of “messenger”: My posts are more “reportage,” rather than Op-Ed.
So, for example, my comments on “John Galt,” radio pirate, are not a sanction of his radio piracy or even a championing of his battle against the FCC. It is simply a post that illustrates the possible Randian influence on a small group of people. These people invoke the Robin Hood legend in a way that recalls Rand’s own invocation and inversion of that legend; she notes in her description of Ragnar Danneskjold, in Atlas Shrugged, that he is a pirate “Robin Hood who robs the [parasitic] humanitarians and gives to the [productive] rich.” The radio pirates in Denver claim they are “taking radio back from the rich,” but their struggle is against a system of government licensure that enriches those privileged enough to secure the licenses. My post includes no assessment of the legitimacy of their struggle; such an assessment would be well beyond my scope, in this context.
I provide this long prefatory note because what I’m about to report to my Atlasphere readers is that Brad Pitt, mega-star of the new film, Troy, which opens nationwide today, told interviewer Charlie Rose that Oliver Stone?yes, he, of the left, who admires Fidel Castro?was still interested in directing a new version of The Fountainhead.
As he has done on other occasions, Pitt talked glowingly of the science and aesthetics of architecture. Rose asked him if he knew of any way to combine his passion for architecture with his passion for acting; he wondered if there was any “story of a great architect” that might inspire Pitt. “That would go back to The Fountainhead,” Pitt replied. Rose wondered if Pitt would even consider re-making it. Pitt said that the book is “so dense and complex, it would have to be a six-hour movie … I don’t know how you do it under four, and not lose, really lose, what Ayn Rand was after.” But he affirmed his profound interest to star in a re-make, and cited Oliver Stone’s own interest in directing it as a feature film.
Whether you revel in or revile the possibility of a Stone-Pitt collaboration, the fact is that Rand’s work is still inspiring a generation of admirers?left, right, and center?who have been deeply impressed with her paean to individual integrity and authenticity. And in an age that has seen the devastation of the New York City skyline, a skyline that Rand worshiped as “the will of man made visible,” I can think of few novels more in need of a modern re-telling.
So… let the arguments begin over who should direct and who should star in any big-screen adaptation. I’m just a reporter here.