"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
For over-the-top scenery chewing combined with ideological speechifying, it's hard to top riding-crop-toting Patricia Neal refusing to worship idols in the film version of The Fountainhead:
One of the most unusual artifacts ever to emerge from Hollywood, Ayn Rand's adaptation of her novel is a contradictory hodgepodge of sub-Nietzschean musing, so laden with wooden rhetoric and hysterical ranting that it could never be mistaken for any speech ever uttered on this planet. The bizarre miscasting of Cooper as an arrogant Ubermann and Patricia Neal as a mildly sadomasochistic intellectual only add to the fun. In the legendary scene in which Dominique watches Roark pound his pneumatic drill into the quarry rockface, there's no mistaking the beatific look on her face for intellectual excitement.
From almost any page of Atlas Shrugged, a voice can be heard, from painful necessity, commanding: "To a gas chamber -- go!"
Of more recent vintage is a richly entertaining hatchet job done by Ray Jenkins in the Baltimore Sun on Rand, the "consummate flibbertigibbet."
Scott McLemee was interviewed on Boston public-radio station WBUR this week about Rand's legacy. He writes on Feb. 2:
The more I think about it, the more her worldview resembles a Soviet era socialist-realist novel with the word "communism" scratched out and "capitalism" written in.
The joke has it that they were "boy meets tractor" romances. In her case, it's more like "masochistic girl meets skyscraper." In Atlas Shrugged, the world's oppressed capitalists go on strike. They then withdraw to what sure seems like a commune.
Meantime, Ken Masugi blogs from the Claremont Institute:
Ayn Rand is one of the great swindles of the twentieth century...That a figure such as Rand could have the influence she has wielded over the popular mind and some intellectuals reveals more the poverty of the loudest voices of the competition than the profundity of her work.