19 thoughts on “And Now for something Completely Different

  1. Pingback: And Now for something Completely Different | @the_arv

  2. I might begin with an observation of my own — Rothbard’s play is exceedingly funny, and carefully observed, but the actors, despite their obvious pleasure in the opportunity, are a bit stiff. (There are two other performances accessible through YouTube, but even though they benefit from more modern videography, their acting ensembles are not as good as those in the premiere, whatever their deficiencies might be. The explanation is that Rothbard’s actors actually understand the satire of the script.) The dogs, on the other hand, are completely spontaneous and organic, as though, following Stanislavsky’s method, they had entirely immersed themselves in their own characters.

      • Would you refer to the canines or the Objectivists? The Objectivists already hate me, but the canines like me and I like their view of the human world!

        By the way, my favorite line in Rothbard’s play is one delivered by the Carson Sand character, when she offers the Keith Hackley character a cigarette. “Have one of these,” she says, quoting the line more or less accurately; “it’s a particularly rational brand.” Anyone else having a favorite line should weigh in.

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  4. Well, while I hate Objectivism (and Rothbardianism for that matter), Ayn Rand will unfortunately always be a (very) juvenile love of mine I suppose. Some sympathies you never fully eradicate. So the crankypants in me enjoyed the irony of watching the Mises Institute laugh at scenes of cultish reluctance to question devotion. Exchange “reason” with “the market” in the play, and one would have a funny turn about towards the audience. Sorry for the rant; enjoyed that old video though. Favorite line:
    “JOEY FONTANA?!?!?”

    • Well, yes, there is a kind of Prohias, Cult-vs.-Cult irony in Rothbard’s treatment, but in defense of Rothbard, it would be impossible to deny that he had a sense of humor, no trace of which have I ever been able to detect in Rand. To which ATLAS-SHRUGGED character, I wonder, is “Joey Fontana” a reference? Isn’t there someone, a junior-grade engineer, who’s stuck in the middle of nowhere at the end of the novel because the diesel locomotive has broken down and no one knows how to fix it? (On the other hand, “Joey Fontana” sounds a good deal like “Tony Montana,” the narco-gangster in that really bad movie.) I wouldn’t say, incidentally, that I hate Objectivism; it’s just that I find it cartoonish and ridiculous. But what would anyone expect from a writer who condemned Old Dusty as a meeestik?

      Here’s another question: Has anyone but me seen the three truly wretched ATLAS SHRUGGED movies, the last two of which were direct-to-DVD?

      • There is a good soldier who works for the main female protagonist, dagny taggert. Can’t remember his name, but knows his place and is appropriately worshipful of the supermen.

      • defense of Rothbard, it would be impossible to deny that he had a sense of humor

        Did Rand ever argue that it was okay to starve children?

        but also that the parent should not have a legal obligation to feed, clothe, or educate his children, since such obligations would entail positive acts coerced upon the parent and depriving the parent of his rights. The parent therefore may not murder or mutilate his child, and the law properly outlaws a parent from doing so. But the parent should have the legal right not to feed the child, i.e., to allow it to die. – Murray Rothbard

      • Here’s another question: Has anyone but me seen the three truly wretched ATLAS SHRUGGED movies, the last two of which were direct-to-DVD?

        I watched the first one, saw about 20-30 minutes of the second before I lost all interest; didn’t even bother with the third.

  5. I’m not trying to one-up you, but, having been born in 1954, I read it forty-five years ago. I had a creepy feeling about it even then. It is possible that, despite Rand’s intention, Eddie Wilkerson might be the most authentically human character in the novel, a veritable Joey Fontana. Would you rather have a beer with Francesco D’Anconio or Eddie Wilkerson? D’Anconio is more diaposonic than a French Horn; in one scene he practically “mind-melds” with the Reardon-metal guy. There is in Rand’s novel an implied, and really disturbing, menage-a-troi between D. Taggert, D’Anconio, and the Reardon-metal guy. думай, что хочешь, товарищ!

    • It’s not quite that good. Willers autocorrects to wilkerson.

      D’ancona looks like Fabio in my head. 50 shades of grey must be more rational twilight fan fiction than I thought.

      • Fabio — it took me a moment. That would be the male model with the long blond hair whose image appeared on the cover of every Silly Wet Romance paperback in the 1980s. And it’s D’Ancona, is it, not D’Anconio? I stand corrected (as opposed to auto-corrected).

  6. I’d like to say more, but all I know is that Rand had a cult where everyone had to agree with her on everything. Just too much inside baseball for me.

    At least I got the one on the dogs. Oh do I love dogs. Let me add my favorite, so hopefully I’ll be contributing something.

    1954 was a year for great men.

    • So we’re cohorts! And we both love dogs. To quote Rick’s remark to Inspector Renault, “This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

  7. Itascriptaest: In answer to your question — No, Rand merely disparaged procreation, making pregnancy (barefoot pregnancy no less!) the blanket sign of female loser-dom. In Rothbard’s world, I suppose, some parents might starve their children. In Rand’s world, there would be no children, and soon there would be no people. But before she died childless, Dagny would certainly have succeeded in making the best scrambled eggs ever. That would have been in Rand’s Colorado utopia, which she witlessly, but with inadvertent appropriateness, named “Atlantis.” (Instead of ranting about Plato for his being a meeestik, she should have read him.) Rand was the nihilist whom she was ceaselessly denouncing. Maybe Rothbard was, too. I stipulate that you know more about Rothbard than I do. Rothbard’s character might be whatever it is, however, without altering Rand’s ugly character one single jot. Ms. Rationality still has no sense of humor although her prose has occasionally moved me to laughter.

  8. I had assumed “Joey Fontana” represented that 70’s salt of the earth fuhgeddaboudit Brooklynite that wouldn’t be caught dead talking about “premises” on a Friday night in “the living room of a modern luxury apartment on the New York’s Upper East Side.” Well, at least not without some serious Olivia Newton-John’s in attendance as well.

    • That sounds about right. When Hollywood makes a film of “The Brow of Zeus,” Tony Danza will play the role of Joey Fontana.

      T. Morris: I bought all three of those films at second hand hence very cheaply from Amazon and viewed them in a single sitting. The first film was marginally entertaining, but as the budget declined in the second and the third, they became increasingly tacky and stupid. They have since disappeared entirely.


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