Posts tagged Howard Baldwin
A couple nights ago, at a private screening for Atlas Shrugged Part 1, I took my seat, closed my eyes, dropped my head, and for the first time in my life, I said a prayer. “Please don’t be cheese ball. Please don’t be cheese ball. Please don’t be cheese ball.” A vision flashed in my mind of John Travolta, on the cover of a Battlefield Earth poster. Petrified, my fingers hardened into a grip around my arm rests. “No!! Please don’t be cheese ball. Please don’t be cheese ball…”
No doubt, the excitement in the room was mixed with fear. The producers of this film had the balls to make a motion picture out of one of the most thought provoking and controversial novels of all time. A Library of Congress reader’s poll ranked Atlas Shrugged as the second most influential book of all time next to the Bible. Other prominent reader polls of Best Novels ever written have listed Atlas Shrugged as #1. It’s a 1000+ page classic epic packed with action, philosophy, adventure, politics, romance, mystery, and a whole lot of attitude. Back in the 1500s, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the door of a prominent Catholic church, sparking The Reformation. Ayn Rand nailed these 1000+ pages on the door of the world’s churches and state capital buildings, sparking what history might record as the beginning of the next renaissance. The next cultural movement to bring a focus on reality and reason and freedom and productivity back to the world.
This novel isn’t about running a railroad. It’s about society crumbling. And what causes that. It is so ambitious and controversial because it dramatizes the different fundamental values of our culture, and how that plays out through people in a society in crisis. When times get tough, more is demanded and taken from the achievers and high earners. So they work harder, they try harder, but the chains pile on, until they strike. Yes, the business leaders strike, not the employees. The title references the Greek god Atlas, who strains to hold the weight of the world over his shoulders. The load gets heavier and he struggles through blood and sweat to keep the world up. Until he changes his mind, shrugs, and drops the world. Let it fall. Let the world burn. Let all the ungrateful leeches and apes have it to themselves and enjoy it. Atlas is done.
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