There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs ~ John Rogers, a screenwriter who resides in Los Angeles CA.
For many, Rand's Objectivism was a way station between L Ron Hubbard's Dianetics and Werner Erhard's est... not only has the Objectivist movement been a classic cult as defined in the dictionary, it may arguably be viewed as a destructive psychotherapeutic-religious cult ~ Jeff Walker, author of "The Ayn Rand Cult" (a quote from his book; published 1998).
If you know anything about Scientology it's probably something regarding how nutty it is. This is the religion founded by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. Scientology postulates that all of humanities' problems are the result of an extraterrestrial ghost infestation. These ET specters, which Hubbard calls "body thetans" parasitically latch on to nearby humans, feeding them bad vibes. Only followers of Mr. Hubbard know how to exorcise the otherworldly spirits through a process called auditing, which is provided by the church for a fee. In other words it's a money making scam designed to separate fools from their money.
Another crazy cult you may or may not have heard of is Objectivism. Whereas Scientology appeals to those who are mentally ill, Objectivism appeals to sociopaths of the Gordon Gekko variety who believe greed is virtuous. Politically these rational-self-interest types are Libertarian or Republican. The leader of the Objectivist cult was a Russian immigrant and atheist who was born Alisa Rosenbaum but changed her name to Ayn Rand. Oddly enough many right-wing Christians have succumbed to her free market fantasies. They must believe that they can worship two gods.
While I'm sure that Objectivists would take exception to being classified as crazy cultists similar in any way to the loons that practice Scientology, I'm not going to make any significant additional comparisons between the two. I'm only going to make one additional minor comparison. They both have big budget films based on fictional (and incredibly long) novels written by their respective luminaries.
Randians had The Fountainhead, which was a 1949 film starring Gary Cooper (not too shabby). But now they a second film. A brand new cinematic version of Rand's 1957 magnum opus Atlas Shrugged. This gives them the opportunity to be as embarrassed as Scientologists are in regards to the Razzie award-winning John-Travolta-starring Battlefield Earth.
Well, perhaps not THAT embarrassed, but the reviews I've read indicate that it won't end up being "the greatest film the first half of this century". The description I just related to you was a pre-review authored by the blogger Rational Nation USA. He dropped this "momentary infomercial break [slash] non-paid advertising" nugget here (on this blog) in response to my one of my previous posts (which didn't have diddly to do with Rand or Objectivism). After checking around the interwebs I discovered he had shat the same comment on a quite a few of the Left-leaning blogs I frequent.
Obviously he's quite excited. "You got to check it out", he insisted, and so I did. The last time I heard of this movie it was a big budget Hollywood endeavor with Angelina Jolie attached. As far as I know, Angelina Jolie isn't a Right-winger (or at least she has done a lot of work with the UN, which Right-wingers hate), so I was never entirely sure why she wanted to have anything to do with bringing Ayn Rand's delusions to the silver screen. Now it's starring a bunch of unknowns, although it does have a 20 million dollar budget.
Libertarian PJ O'Rourke says, "Atlas Shrugged. And So Did I". The reason PJ shrugs is because the film is more than a little boring. Brian Calle of the Right-wing rag The Daily Caller thinks Atlas Shrugged "could become a cult classic". A CULT classic isn't the same as a genuine classic. Sometimes cult films are revered by a select group because the film is hilariously bad. In this instance, however, I think the word CULT is used because that is the only group of people who will be interested in this; people who are already members in the cult of Rand. But it could be hilariously bad too.
This film has a PART 1 attached to it, although the planned parts 2 and 3 aren't currently in production. I'd guess the reason is because the financers of this film didn't want to commit to making any sequels until the box office receipts are tallied for this installment. My prediction is that the free market will speak and it will soon become apparent that there isn't a large market for films promoting the "greed is good" mantra. Gordon Gekko was the villain in "Wall Street". Most people believe avarice is a sin, not something to be proud of. What I'm saying is I hope this film does poorly.
In an email I received today FreedomWorks' Matt Kibbe says "[this movie] has the opportunity to introduce millions more around the world to the philosophy of freedom". Instead of "introduce" I think the word he's looking for is "indoctrinate". Imagine a film that touted the virtues of a society where the contributions of everyone (not just the wealthy) were valued. A film in which the growing disparity between the rich and the poor was viewed as a problem and not simply the MORE VALUABLE citizens claiming their just reward. Would the Right not call such a film Socialist propaganda?
BTW, I'm not saying I'm opposed to products produced for a niche market, as I have my own niche market interests. My niche market interest is orchestral film music. Which is why I checked out who wrote the score for Atlas Shrugged. Turns out another thing Atlas Shrugged has in common with Battlefield Earth is that the background music in both was written by Czechoslovakia composer Elia Cmiral. I know this because I own a copy of the Battlefield Earth soundtrack CD. This made me wonder, is Elia Cmiral the go-to composer for films based on the books of crazy cult leaders?
I'd rather rewatch my Lord of the Rings director's cut DVDs instead of a film based on Ayn Rand's garbage, although I actually might be interested in purchasing a CD of the Atlas Shrugged film score if one is released. I listened to the "John Galt theme" YouTube on the official website, and I liked it. I was disappointed with the last CD of Mr. Cimiral's I purchased, which I would describe as "atmospheric synth droning". I've passed on several of Mr. Cimiral's CDs lately as I've grown tired of boring synth drones, but this theme is performed on a piano. There probably won't be a soundtrack CD, however. Many big budget Hollywood films don't get one, and this film already has very limited appeal.
Even if a CD is released I think I'll wait and try to pick it up second-hand. I'd prefer that NONE of my money ended up in the hands of anyone involved in producing Ayn Rand's propaganda as a rich-leeches-as-the-heroes fantasy flick. Republicans may fear a dystopian future where all citizens have access to health care and the wealthy pay a slightly higher tax rate, but my fear is of a present in which Paul Ryan's laughable "Path to Prosperity" is considered a STARTING POINT for budget negotiations.
Representative Paul Ryan's budget encapsulates the Republican dream of an America in which the wealthy pay a smaller percentage of their income in taxes than does everyone else. And all the money the government does spend for social programs is funneled though private businesses who first take their cut. Yesterday President Obama said he wouldn't allow that to happen while he was president, but that doesn't mean Republicans are ever going to stop trying to bring their vision of a dystopian society to fruition. Clearly we have a hell of a lot more to fear from Republican fascists than Democratic socialists.
 Ayn Rand's Philosophy by Gore Vidal. Esquire 7/1961.
 Atlas Shrugged is Absurd but Strangely Compelling by Sam Jordison. Books Blog 3/27/2009.
 How Ayn Rand ruined my childhood by By Alyssa Bereznak. Salon 4/4/2011.
 Atlas Shrugged. And So Did I. A review of the film by P.J. O'Rourke. The Wall Street Journal 4/6/2011.
 Growing Up Objectivist by Andrew Sullivan. The Daily Beast 4/11/2011.
 The Reviews Are In: Atlas Shrugged is Really, Really Awful! by Shaw Kenawe. Progressive Eruptions 4/20/2011.
 Rational Nation USA & The Atlas Shrugged Part 1 Movie, A Flop From 2011 That Lost Over $15 Million. DSD #34 9/23/2016.