Category Archives: Culture

Responses, from various parties, to John McCaskey’s resignation from the Ayn Rand Institute and Anthem Foundation

As an update to the news in our earlier post, in response to John McCaskey’s resignation from the Ayn Rand Institute and The Anthem Foundation, The Intellectual Activist‘s Robert Tracinski has published “Anthemgate,” Paul and Diana Hsieh published “The Resignation of John McCaskey: The Facts,” and The Objective Standard‘s Craig Biddle has just published “Justice for John P. McCaskey.”

Ayn Rand and Cecil B. DeMille: “Why are you looking at me?”

A new book review at the Wall Street Journal begins with this story about Ayn Rand and Cecil B. DeMille:

On a cool Southern California morning in September 1926, an impoverished, 21-year-old Russian with sketchy English who had just renamed herself Ayn Rand was dejectedly leaving the DeMille Studio after being told that the publicity department had no job openings. Near the exit gate, she spotted a beautiful open roadster parked by the curb; the man behind the wheel was unmistakably the boss himself. She couldn’t help staring for a moment, then collected herself and turned toward the gate. Before she made it out, however, the car pulled up to her and the driver asked: “Why are you looking at me?”

Cecil B. DeMille shortly invited the young lady into the car and drove her into the nearby hills, where his epic life of Christ, “The King of Kings,” was shooting. The director allowed Rand to observe the filming for a week, then employed her as an extra for three months, whereupon she became a junior writer assigned, eventually, to a picture called “The Skyscraper.” Uninspired by its story and characters, Rand began her own screenplay of the same name, turning the story into one about an architect whose power and integrity intimidate lesser mortals.

The salient point of the Rand-DeMille convergenceâ??as related in “Empire of Dreams,” Scott Eyman’s colossally comprehensive and surprisingly moving biography of DeMilleâ??is not so much that the film director inadvertently helped plant the seed that would blossom into the 1943 novel “The Fountainhead.” (Although it is ironic that Ayn Rand’s name and even that of the novel’s fictional hero, Howard Roark, are undoubtedly more familiar to people under 40 today than is DeMille’s.) Rather, what matters about the episode is that it shows us DeMille as a real-life Roark, a powerful man of such ambition, determination and fearlessness that nothing and no one could stop him.

See the full article for much more about the DeMille biography.

Yaron Brook on the Glenn Beck program this coming Tuesday

From the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights:

We have a special announcement! Dr. Yaron Brook, president of the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights, is scheduled to appear on the Glenn Beck program on Fox News Channel, Tuesday, June 15th for the entire hour to discuss â??when fiction becomes fact.â? It is a special program dedicated to â??Atlas Shruggedâ? and Vince Flynnâ??s book â??Term Limits.â? The show starts at 5 p.m., Eastern time (2 p.m., Pacific time).

If you are unable to see the live airing of this program, please consult your local listings for a possible rebroadcast.

Atlas Shrugged fan Ron Johnson mounts self-funded campaign to unseat Feingold

A new column by George Will titled “Running vs. shrugging” begins:

Before what he calls “the jaw-dropping” events of the last 19 months — TARP, the stimulus, Government Motors, the mistreatment of Chrysler’s creditors, Obamacare, etc. — the idea of running for office never crossed Ron Johnson’s mind. He was, however, dry tinder — he calls Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” his “foundational book” — and now is ablaze, in an understated, upper-Midwestern way. This 55-year-old manufacturer of plastic products from Oshkosh is what the Tea Party looks like.

He is trim, gray-haired and suddenly gray-suited. For years, he has worn jeans and running shoes to his office, but now, under spousal duress, he is trying to look senatorial — “My wife upgraded me to brown shoes.” He has been endorsed by the state party and will almost certainly win the September primary for the Republican nomination to run against Russ Feingold, who is seeking a fourth term in a year in which incumbency is considered a character flaw.
George F. Will Logo

Former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson led Feingold in polls and froze the race on the Republican side before deciding not to run. But in this season of simmering resentment of the political class, a neophyte such as Johnson might be a stronger candidate than a recycled executive. Johnson can fund himself. Asked how much of his wealth he will spend, if necessary, his answer is as simple as it is swift: “All of it.”

And concludes with this gem:

From 2000 through 2008, sales of “Atlas Shrugged,” which was published in 1957, averaged a remarkable 166,000 a year. Since Barack Obama took office, more than 600,000 copies have been sold. The novel’s famous opening words — “Who is John Galt?” — refer to a creative capitalist, Rand’s symbol of society’s self-sufficient people who, weary of carrying on their shoulders the burden of dependent people, shrug. Ron Johnson would rather run.

See the full column for more.