Atlas Shrugged movie?

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Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Feb 22, 2011 7:16 am UTC

Not sure if this belongs in N&A or someplace else.

So apparently, after 40 years of development hell, Atlas Shrugged has been turned into a movie. The trailer here. Only discovered this through a rumor.

It will have an extremely limited release on April 15th, aka, Tax Day.

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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby mmmcannibalism » Tue Feb 22, 2011 7:25 am UTC

As a fan of the book, I think they nailed the casting.

Personally very excited, and everything they have put out makes me think they are doing it as best as possible.

*Its being done as a trilogy, second and third part will be made if this one does well enough.
**no major stars are involved, and its a 5 million budget.
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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby IcedT » Tue Feb 22, 2011 7:39 am UTC

As someone who is frankly not a fan of this book or any of Rand's other works, I'm thinking this looks pretty awful.

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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Feb 22, 2011 7:43 am UTC

The film's website.

Also, Dagny's brother, the 2 seconds we heard of him, sounded like a bad actor.

Another also, will we see the sex that Rand was notorious for? Her books often pause for a few minutes to turn into romance novels, where you have things like "D'Anconio didn't need to ask for permission, because Dagny had given it to him long ago". You say that on the stand, and you get 10 years...

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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby EdgarJPublius » Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:16 am UTC

The dialogue seems stilted, and not just as written, but the delivery too.

Honestly not familiar with the book, though I am with some of her other books. Her writing style is pretty heavy handed, I hope this adaptation can be subtler (though I haven't experienced much subtlety from Randists, so I'm not particularly optimistic)
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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby PeterCai » Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:48 am UTC

shouldn't this thread be in the movie subforum?

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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby emceng » Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:19 pm UTC

Ok, actually on topic: I really don't think this will do very well. You have the superfans of Ayn Rand who will declare it to be the best thing ever, no matter how good it is. You'll also have the anti-Randians declaring it to be pure evil, despite any artistic merit. Then the majority of people who will go 'meh' and not watch it.

The problem with this movie is that the book was one of ideas. The story was merely a vehicle to demonstrate Rand's philosophy and make pointed commentary about the government. It is much harder to do that in a movie, without it becoming boring. What will they do when it comes to Galt's 100 page speech? Hell, I didn't even read the whole thing - I doubt people will want to listen to it. There's also the issue of how many people really want to watch/hear a propaganda film. While Michael Moore has been successful at it, I do not see Atlas Shrugged being so.
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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:36 pm UTC

It's strange, I could have SWORN there was an old black and white Atlas Shrugged film already in existence, but I can't find it anywhere. Maybe a tv miniseries or something.

Anyway.

I am very excited about this film, although I think it looks cheesy and as if they've pared down some significant plot points. But hey, it's only part 1, so, who knows, maybe the others, if there are others, will include stuff left out.
emceng wrote:The problem with this movie is that the book was one of ideas.

The book itself is very plot driven, and it isn't until Galts epically long and boring speech that Rand really abandons the idea of telling a story.

I'm not sure it's even going to need to be broken down into the Frothing at the Mouth Randians and the Lets all go be Socialist Anti-Randians, but I think there's merit to a film about A) a woman in a powerful business role who is B) self motivated and C) generally anti big government.
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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Feb 22, 2011 6:14 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:It's strange, I could have SWORN there was an old black and white Atlas Shrugged film already in existence, but I can't find it anywhere. Maybe a tv miniseries or something.


Fountainhead.

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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Feb 22, 2011 6:34 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:I'm not sure it's even going to need to be broken down into the Frothing at the Mouth Randians and the Lets all go be Socialist Anti-Randians, but I think there's merit to a film about A) a woman in a powerful business role who is B) self motivated and C) generally anti big government.
Just from watching the trailer, I think someone else put it best: "So this is a movie about trains... people who like them, and people who hate them?"

I never found Atlas Shrugged's characters very compelling; they felt more like caricatures crafted to demonstrate a point ("This is evil. This is good.") than people pursuing an agenda. The villains in particular were one dimensional and boring; there's some merit to having bad guys who are just bad guys, but in a book that claims to analyze morality...

I don't think I'd enjoy the movie, not judging from the trailer (the acting does look stilted) or what I recall from the book (reading it felt more like a chore). Most of the characters (with a few notable exceptions) had all the personality of petrified wood, and just about the same amount of charisma.

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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Feb 22, 2011 6:44 pm UTC

For what it's worth Hippo, I agree that Rand writes fairly flat characters. What she does a good job of doing I think, is putting them in unexpected situations, given both he parameters of her story, and just in general. Yes, I found Roark to be the opposite of nuanced (TALL STRONG ELOQUENT FIRM CLEAR EYES AND SHARP JAW! compared to FAT STUTTERING etcetcetc) and the juxtaposition between the Taggert's again, too blunt, but what was interesting, I felt, was her use of an extremely wealthy intelligent man devoted to bankrupting his company, or an extremely daring pirate dedicated to stealing from the 'poor' and giving back to the 'rich', or an extremely wealthy aristocrat garnering public sympathy because he's perceived as being cheated.
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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby Endless Mike » Tue Feb 22, 2011 6:45 pm UTC

The trailer makes it look like a typical summer thriller, completely with typical summer thriller level of acting. I'm sure that's just what Rand wanted when she wrote the book.

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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Feb 22, 2011 6:52 pm UTC

The pirate dude (I can't remember his name) was one of the folks I was thinking of when I said 'notable exceptions'; I remember finding him surprisingly interesting; he had a few bits of dialogue I liked (although now I find myself unable to recall exactly what; he was the one at the party who has the whole speech about the root of evil not being money, right?).

Two things to mention--as a reader, I don't like it when I feel like I'm being manipulated. All writing is manipulative, but good writers know how to hide that manipulation, or to do it in such a way you don't mind; with Ayn Rand, I always felt like her manipulations were cheap and obvious. The other thing is that for me, the most integral part of any story is its characters--so if the characters aren't compelling, I'm not very compelled.

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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby Dark567 » Tue Feb 22, 2011 7:15 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:I never found Atlas Shrugged's characters very compelling; they felt more like caricatures crafted to demonstrate a point ("This is evil. This is good.") than people pursuing an agenda. The villains in particular were one dimensional and boring; there's some merit to having bad guys who are just bad guys, but in a book that claims to analyze morality...

I think the heroes are pretty bland("This is good") and uninteresting. The villians are a little more interesting, many of them are attempting to good, but just failing to see, in Rands view, that government intrusion causes great harm.
Izawwlgood wrote:I'm not sure it's even going to need to be broken down into the Frothing at the Mouth Randians and the Lets all go be Socialist Anti-Randians, but I think there's merit to a film about A) a woman in a powerful business role who is B) self motivated and C) generally anti big government.
They would be best to sell it this way, as a thriller about a self driven business woman. I enjoyed Atlas Shrugged up until John Galt was introduced, after that it lost steam and went into to more moral philosophy and less economic philosophy. That doesn't happen until the third part, so its possible that I will enjoy the first movie, but the trailer didn't look promising.
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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:40 pm UTC

@CorruptUser: Yeah, Fountainhead must have been what I was thinking of, thanks!

@Hippo: Ragnar [something viking sounding]. Danneskjghoyghld or something I couldn't pronounce if I wanted to.

As for the manipulations, I agree, Rand lays her stories on VERY heavily. You aren't supposed to read these tales and have any wiggle room for interpretation, because A-Z and A1-A999999 and every subsequent point has been hashed over ad nauseum.

I find her characters to be a bit flat, but not all together boring. They're caricatures, more than anything.

I guess, in short, I'd say don't look to Rand for stunning escapades or throat clenching romance, you look to her for the explanation of her philosophy in the form of a fable. I profoundly enjoyed both Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and found them to be rife with delicious quotations. Atlas Shrugged felt a bit like she was trying to cover every single angle imaginable to seal the deal on her ethos, and it wears thin at some points.

There's more to her tales/philosophy than just 'Money = good, greed = good", and she explores those a bit in her characters. For example, Rand has some complicated philosophy about love/sex, and Dagny and Dominique are both basically on a four step program towards finding their ultimate emotional and physical fulfillment. It's a bit contrived, perhaps, but for the time, and indeed, today, it was staunchly feminist.

Dark567 wrote: I enjoyed Atlas Shrugged up until John Galt was introduced

Oh man, I kind of agree with you. I really liked his character, but his 50 page radio rant was horrible, and Rands editor needed to be fired for that. "Who is Jon Galt?" is a much more potent meme and myth than meeting the dude, and finding out he's just some shmoe with long legs and self-assured confidence that Rand is salivating over.
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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby Cathode Ray Sunshine » Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:54 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:The pirate dude (I can't remember his name) was one of the folks I was thinking of when I said 'notable exceptions'; I remember finding him surprisingly interesting; he had a few bits of dialogue I liked (although now I find myself unable to recall exactly what; he was the one at the party who has the whole speech about the root of evil not being money, right?).


Ragnar Danneskjold. But the character you mention that gave the speech at the party was Francisco D'Anconia.

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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby mmmcannibalism » Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:56 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:I'm not sure it's even going to need to be broken down into the Frothing at the Mouth Randians and the Lets all go be Socialist Anti-Randians, but I think there's merit to a film about A) a woman in a powerful business role who is B) self motivated and C) generally anti big government.
Just from watching the trailer, I think someone else put it best: "So this is a movie about trains... people who like them, and people who hate them?"

I never found Atlas Shrugged's characters very compelling; they felt more like caricatures crafted to demonstrate a point ("This is evil. This is good.") than people pursuing an agenda. The villains in particular were one dimensional and boring; there's some merit to having bad guys who are just bad guys, but in a book that claims to analyze morality...

I don't think I'd enjoy the movie, not judging from the trailer (the acting does look stilted) or what I recall from the book (reading it felt more like a chore). Most of the characters (with a few notable exceptions) had all the personality of petrified wood, and just about the same amount of charisma.


Your thinking of Ragnar.

He gives a speech about he is trying to kill robin hood. An interesting speech that I wish had an extra sentence clarifying that he thought the actual legend* had a hero who had been corrupted.

*to anyone greatly familiar, was the original robin hood story solely anti tyrannical taxation or just anti wealth disparity?

edit--I am greatly fascinated as to how they will cut down a 3 hour speech into 10 or 15 minutes.
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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby Wodashin » Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:35 am UTC

1st movie is what we see

2nd movie is the other third

3rd movie is the speech

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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby Dark567 » Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:59 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:There's more to her tales/philosophy than just 'Money = good, greed = good", and she explores those a bit in her characters. For example, Rand has some complicated philosophy about love/sex, and Dagny and Dominique are both basically on a four step program towards finding their ultimate emotional and physical fulfillment. It's a bit contrived, perhaps, but for the time, and indeed, today, it was staunchly feminist.
I always thought, that some of the aspects of her philosophy that she pushed the least, were often some of the more correct ones. This tends to be one of them.

Also I just noticed the guy who plays Quark is in it. Actually I feel like I have seen a lot of these actors before just not in starting roles. Which is a little surprising given its low budget.
EDIT: Also the actress that plays Dagny, has to have been made for the role. From the trailer, she looks and acts exactly like how I imagined her as I was reading the book.
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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby Glass Fractal » Wed Feb 23, 2011 1:46 am UTC

I'm curious about how much of her philosophy will survive the editors. Is it being made by wealthy fans or just generic "Hollywood"?

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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Feb 23, 2011 1:50 am UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:An interesting speech that I wish had an extra sentence clarifying that he thought the actual legend* had a hero who had been corrupted.

I dunno about the original legend, but I think Ragnar's whole shtick was that he felt he was a sort of reverse Robin Hood, that is, he stole from the undeserving and gave to the deserving. It just so happened that the deserving were those who had worked for their wealth, and the undeserving were those who used politics to steal it. I'm not sure if I just repeated your point, if I did, I apologize.

mmmcannibalism wrote:edit--I am greatly fascinated as to how they will cut down a 3 hour speech into 10 or 15 minutes.

I hope they do what I did; get about 5 pages into it, hope no one's watching, skip ahead to the end.

Dark567 wrote:I always thought, that some of the aspects of her philosophy that she pushed the least, were often some of the more correct ones. This tends to be one of them.

I don't know if I agree with that, but I'm curious to hear your thoughts on it. I've only actually spoken to two other people about Rands sex/love philosophy, and they're engaged, so I wager are a bit biased.
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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby mmmcannibalism » Wed Feb 23, 2011 2:20 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
mmmcannibalism wrote:An interesting speech that I wish had an extra sentence clarifying that he thought the actual legend* had a hero who had been corrupted.

I dunno about the original legend, but I think Ragnar's whole shtick was that he felt he was a sort of reverse Robin Hood, that is, he stole from the undeserving and gave to the deserving. It just so happened that the deserving were those who had worked for their wealth, and the undeserving were those who used politics to steal it. I'm not sure if I just repeated your point, if I did, I apologize.

mmmcannibalism wrote:edit--I am greatly fascinated as to how they will cut down a 3 hour speech into 10 or 15 minutes.

I hope they do what I did; get about 5 pages into it, hope no one's watching, skip ahead to the end.

Dark567 wrote:I always thought, that some of the aspects of her philosophy that she pushed the least, were often some of the more correct ones. This tends to be one of them.

I don't know if I agree with that, but I'm curious to hear your thoughts on it. I've only actually spoken to two other people about Rands sex/love philosophy, and they're engaged, so I wager are a bit biased.


Well what I thought was lacking is that his point was that the original robin hood(legend, and I'm just going to stop mentioning legend from now on) was defending rights; the same think Ragnar is doing. The reason he was killing robin hood is that the story had changed from tyranny is wrong to its awesome to steal from rich people because they are bad.

The speech is worth reading, if only because its an entire philosophical system boiled down into 90 pages.

I think one of the problems is that Rand in terms of the sex/gender stuff is that she uses the words masculine and feminine separate from male and female(I think it traces to Nietzsche).
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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby Deep_Thought » Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:46 pm UTC

When I clicked the link for this thread I was expecting it to be a discussion about this Cracked.com article I "stumbled" across about how Iron Man 2 is actually Atlas Shrugged in disguise. Now I'm actually going to have to go and read the book. It's been sitting on my shelves for well over a year (birthday gift from someone who played Bioshock and thought it looked interesting). I much prefer to read the book then watch the movie rather than the other way round.

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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby IcedT » Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:50 pm UTC

Deep_Thought wrote:When I clicked the link for this thread I was expecting it to be a discussion about this Cracked.com article I "stumbled" across about how Iron Man 2 is actually Atlas Shrugged in disguise. Now I'm actually going to have to go and read the book. It's been sitting on my shelves for well over a year (birthday gift from someone who played Bioshock and thought it looked interesting). I much prefer to read the book then watch the movie rather than the other way round.
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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby Steroid » Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:38 pm UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:Well what I thought was lacking is that his point was that the original robin hood(legend, and I'm just going to stop mentioning legend from now on) was defending rights; the same think Ragnar is doing. The reason he was killing robin hood is that the story had changed from tyranny is wrong to its awesome to steal from rich people because they are bad.

There is a throwaway line about how we were told that Robin Hood took from the looting rulers and returned property to the producers. "But that is not the version of the legend that survived. He is held as a champion of need, not property."

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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:17 am UTC

IcedT wrote:
Deep_Thought wrote:When I clicked the link for this thread I was expecting it to be a discussion about this Cracked.com article I "stumbled" across about how Iron Man 2 is actually Atlas Shrugged in disguise. Now I'm actually going to have to go and read the book. It's been sitting on my shelves for well over a year (birthday gift from someone who played Bioshock and thought it looked interesting). I much prefer to read the book then watch the movie rather than the other way round.
I'm not even joking when I say Iron Man 2 is the best thing to ever come of a Rand book. Trust me, you're not missing out on much.

I rather disagree with you, but a riveting contribution otherwise!

mmmcannibalism wrote:I think one of the problems is that Rand in terms of the sex/gender stuff is that she uses the words masculine and feminine separate from male and female(I think it traces to Nietzsche).

I'm not sure she does that at all; all her positive male protagonists are tall, strong, basically Aryan super men in mind, body, and spirit (minus the blond and blue eyed thing). While they may not be super ripped or muscular, they are lean, defined, never slovenly nor prone to addiction or the like. Her negative male protagonists are stutterers, fat, easily persuaded, lacking confidence, likely alcoholic or about to be, etc.

Her female protagonists are all slender, and while they are never inferior to men or the men they love, they are always basically defined by their desire for what those men represent, even if that is freedom, independence, and mutual respect. The negative female protagonists are all fat, short, or have messy hair (or curly hair, that's another odd theme).

In any case, evidently Atlas Shrugged sales have gone up since 2008, so, for whatever that's worth, evidently the tale is of increased interest to Americans now.
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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby Triangle_Man » Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:59 am UTC

And that increased interest explains why we're now getting an overtly-dramatized movie version, right?
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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby Dark567 » Thu Feb 24, 2011 5:26 am UTC

Triangle_Man wrote:And that increased interest explains why we're now getting an overtly-dramatized movie version, right?

Partially. Actually, a large part is that the studio that bought the right to make the movie in 1999, has its rights to make the movie expire this summer.
Izawwlgood wrote:
mmmcannibalism wrote:I think one of the problems is that Rand in terms of the sex/gender stuff is that she uses the words masculine and feminine separate from male and female(I think it traces to Nietzsche).

I'm not sure she does that at all;
Rand constantly uses the masculine pronouns when to referring to people. She constantly wanes about the great things man and mankind have done, not human or humankind. She considered the greatest compliment ever given to her to be "the most courageous man in America", which she enjoyed because it used the word man instead of woman(it was given to her by Ludwig von Mises, and equally rigid ideologue). I never really figured out what her obsession with masculine pronouns is. But she definitely will use them referring to people of the female gender.
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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby mmmcannibalism » Thu Feb 24, 2011 5:34 am UTC

Rand constantly uses the masculine pronouns when to referring to people. She constantly wanes about the great things man and mankind have done, not human or humankind. She considered the greatest compliment ever given to her to be "the most courageous man in America", which she enjoyed because it used the word man instead of woman(it was given to her by Ludwig von Mises, and equally rigid ideologue). I never really figured out what her obsession with masculine pronouns is. But she definitely will use them referring to people of the female gender.


I've never really found the purpose behind it, but I believe part of the reason is that mankind and man refers to a species not a subset of the species. I also think its an attack on femininity in the archaic(not sure that word is quite right) gender role sense. If anyone has some linguistical background, is there a language(s) that don't use gender identifying pronouns except for when its inherent? That is, there is a word that exists in place of something like his/her
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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby Dark567 » Thu Feb 24, 2011 5:39 am UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:I've never really found the purpose behind it, but I believe part of the reason is that mankind and man refers to a species not a subset of the species. I also think its an attack on femininity in the archaic(not sure that word is quite right) gender role sense. If anyone has some linguistical background, is there a language(s) that don't use gender identifying pronouns except for when its inherent? That is, there is a word that exists in place of something like his/her

I am no expert, so this might be incorrect, but I used to work with a guy who would always call my female boss "he", and we would correct him and he would explain that in whatever Chinese dialect he spoke, that the pronoun was genderless and it was difficult for him grasp the concept of gendered pronouns.

That said, why would you use mankind or man, when you can use humankind and human? It certainly would seem like an attack on some form of femininity.
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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby Vaniver » Thu Feb 24, 2011 6:16 am UTC

Dark567 wrote:That said, why would you use mankind or man, when you can use humankind and human? It certainly would seem like an attack on some form of femininity.
Man derives from 'to think,' which was Rand's favorite distinction between humans and non-humans. Wer and wif referred to male and female people, respectively. Human derives from "earth," as opposed to "divine."

I know she commented at one time about her use of male pronouns, but I don't remember her justification being terribly impressive, and I can't find it by a quick search.
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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Thu Feb 24, 2011 6:34 am UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:As a fan of the book

It was at this point that our heroine truly realised the extent of her inability relate to the beings, so alien were they in thought and deed.

Did they change English while I was napping again?
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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby Vellyr » Thu Feb 24, 2011 7:15 am UTC

This movie looks incredibly bad. I wasn't even sure until I read this thread if it was a real trailer or some fan-made thing. I'd love to see a movie promoting libertarian ideals, but this will have the opposite effect I fear.

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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby Iulus Cofield » Thu Feb 24, 2011 8:59 am UTC

Dark567 wrote:
mmmcannibalism wrote:I've never really found the purpose behind it, but I believe part of the reason is that mankind and man refers to a species not a subset of the species. I also think its an attack on femininity in the archaic(not sure that word is quite right) gender role sense. If anyone has some linguistical background, is there a language(s) that don't use gender identifying pronouns except for when its inherent? That is, there is a word that exists in place of something like his/her

I am no expert, so this might be incorrect, but I used to work with a guy who would always call my female boss "he", and we would correct him and he would explain that in whatever Chinese dialect he spoke, that the pronoun was genderless and it was difficult for him grasp the concept of gendered pronouns.

That said, why would you use mankind or man, when you can use humankind and human? It certainly would seem like an attack on some form of femininity.


Many languages, especially East Asian languages, don't use gender at all and Bantu languages tend to have 10+ genders (I'm not an expert on Bantu languages, but I don't think they have genders related to male or female), so the whole gender = sex idea is very Indo-European (even then, saying IE languages equate gender and sex is an overgeneralization) and not really substantiated in English outside of pronouns and certain nouns using female occupational suffixes (e.g., "waitress") which were borrowed from French anyway.


Vaniver wrote:
Dark567 wrote:That said, why would you use mankind or man, when you can use humankind and human? It certainly would seem like an attack on some form of femininity.
Man derives from 'to think,' which was Rand's favorite distinction between humans and non-humans. Wer and wif referred to male and female people, respectively. Human derives from "earth," as opposed to "divine."

I know she commented at one time about her use of male pronouns, but I don't remember her justification being terribly impressive, and I can't find it by a quick search.


Etymonline is not always the best resource, plus here it says that the connection between "man" and "to think" and "human" and "earth" is speculative. The OED is pretty much the definitive source on English etymology and here is what is says about "human" and "man:

Spoiler:
Human: < Anglo-Norman humeigne (feminine), humane (feminine), Anglo-Norman and Middle French humain, humayn (French humain) of or belonging to people (as opposed either to animals or to God) (1119 in Anglo-Norman), having human nature or characteristics (c1170), composed of people (c1174), benevolent (c1175), having people (as opposed to God) as its subject (1552 in letres humaines: compare humane letters n. at humane adj. Special uses) and its etymon classical Latin hūmānus of or belonging to people (as opposed either to animals or to divine beings), characteristic of people, civilized, cultured, cultivated, kindly, considerate, merciful, indulgent < the same base as homin-, homōhomo n.1 + -ānus-an suffix, although the origin of the vocalism is unclear. Compare Old Occitan uman, Catalan humà (14th cent.), Spanish humano (c1200), Portuguese humano (13th cent.), Italian umano (13th cent.). With use as noun compare classical Latin hūmānus human being, hūmānum that which is human (uses as noun of masculine and neuter respectively of hūmānus, adjective), French humain human being (1340 in Middle French, usually in plural), human nature (a1630)

Man: Cognate with Old Frisian man, mon, Middle Dutch man (plural manne, man; Dutch man (plural mannen, rarely mans)), Old Saxon man (plural man; Middle Low German man (plural man, manne, men, menne, mans, mannes, mennes, mannen, mennen, manner, menner), Low German Mann (plural Manns, Männer)), Old High German man (plural man; Middle High German man (plural man), German Mann (plural Männer)), Old Icelandic maðr (stem mann-, plural menn; Icelandic maður), Faroese maður, Norwegian mann (plural menn, (Nynorsk) menner), Swedish man (plural män), Danish mand (plural mænd), Gothic manna (genitive singular mans, plural mans, mannans); further etymology uncertain. The forms in the various Germanic languages belong to two different types of stem: one is a consonant-stem, giving Old English mann (genitive mannes, dative menn, plural menn, genitive manna, dative mannum; some of these Old English forms have been re-formed after the a-declension) and the other an n-stem, giving Old English manna, the only attested oblique form of which is mannan, found almost exclusively as accusative singular. Old English menn (plural and dative singular) has the umlaut which regularly arose from an original -i in the nominative plural and dative singular of Germanic consonant-stem nouns.
In the Old English corpus as a whole the spelling with o appears to be somewhat under half as frequent as that with a. Many Northumbrian and Mercian texts normally have the o-spelling; it is common in early West Saxon texts, but the a-spelling heavily predominates in later texts. In Middle English, a spelling with o occurs mainly in texts from the west-midland counties of England from Lancashire in the north to Gloucestershire in the south. J. Wright Eng. Dial. Gram. (1905) records /ɒ/ (or /ɔ/ ) as the vowel of this word in approximately the same area (with outliers to the north, east, and south). In sense 16 the regional forms min and mun, and mon outside the west midlands, appear to have developed under low stress.

The pre-Germanic etymology of the word is problematic. Formerly, the -nn- of the Germanic consonant stem was held to have developed from an earlier -nw-, directly reflected in Sanskrit manu man (see Manu n.). However it is possible that the n-stem is the earlier formation, and that the form with double -nn- represents a later generalization of the double -nn- which originally occurred in those parts of the paradigm where the n of the suffix, subject to zero-grade of ablaut, immediately followed the n of the base. The earlier form with the single n of the base followed by the vowel + n of the suffix may explain the Gothic variant mana- used in compounds (e.g. mana-maurþrja murderer). This word and Sanskrit manu have been together referred by some to the Indo-European base of mind n.1, on the basis that thought is a distinctive characteristic of human beings. A more recent theory suggests a derivation (with loss of an initial obstruent) from the Indo-European base of Lithuanian žmonės people and Old Prussian smunents man, which is a variant (with a different ablaut grade) of the Indo-European base of classical Latin homō man, Old English guma and its Germanic cognates (see gome n.1), and Old Lithuanian žmuo; but these Indo-European words are usually referred to the Indo-European base of classical Latin humus (see humus n.) and ancient Greek χθών (see chthonic adj.) meaning ‘earth’.

In all the Germanic languages the word had the two senses ‘human being’ and ‘adult male human being’, though exc. in English it has been mainly replaced in the former sense by a derivative (German Mensch, Dutch mens, Swedish människa, Danish menneske person, human being: compare mannish n.). In Old English the words distinctive of sex were werwere n.1 and wīfwife n., wǣpmannwapman n. and wīfmannwoman n.; both the masculine terms became obsolete by the end of the 13th cent., leaving English with no means of distinguishing the two major senses. The genderless uses of man to mean ‘human being’ or ‘person’ are now often objected to on the grounds that they depreciate women, and are frequently replaced by human, human being, or person.


In summary, "human" almost certainly comes from Latin "homo, hominis", meaning "human being", via French; "man" is Germanic and may come from the same root, but in the extremely distant prehistoric past and has been used polysemously (same word, different meanings in different contexts) to mean both "human being" and "male human being" by all Germanic languages. "Man" is almost certainly cognate with Sanskrit "Manu", the name of the first male in Vedic mythology.

It's also worth noting that "man", in the impersonal sense (e.g., "the fall of man"), didn't have a distinctly masculine meaning or connotation until the 20th century, nor did occupational words ending in "-er" until the importation of the "-ess" suffix. In fact, a typical feature of gendered Indo-European languages is the "masculine" gender being used for mixed groups of males and females when it is plural. If you really want to be progressive, I'd recommend not using the "feminine" and reclaiming "masculine" as sex neutral.

And unless you have a statement from Ayn Rand about her use of masculine words, and given her being born near the turn of the century, it's probably safe assume that there wasn't any significance to her word choice.

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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby torgos » Thu Feb 24, 2011 12:20 pm UTC

Dark567 wrote:
mmmcannibalism wrote:

That said, why would you use mankind or man, when you can use humankind and human? It certainly would seem like an attack on some form of femininity.


The extra syllable ruins the cadence of my speech.
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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby Wodashin » Thu Feb 24, 2011 12:30 pm UTC

One small step for human, one giant leap for human kind

To boldly go where no one has gone before

This Basic Human Decency is getting out of hand, and it's disgusting. Seriously, man and mankind refer to the human race. There is no ostracism to females. None. There is no reason to be uppity about 'man' as a collective word.

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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby Czhorat » Thu Feb 24, 2011 2:50 pm UTC

Wodashin wrote:One small step for human, one giant leap for human kind

To boldly go where no one has gone before

This Basic Human Decency is getting out of hand, and it's disgusting. Seriously, man and mankind refer to the human race. There is no ostracism to females. None. There is no reason to be uppity about 'man' as a collective word.


That's right, we wouldn't want those uppity women trying to act as if they're as much a part of the human race as we men. The next thing you know they'll want the right to vote!

Seriously, whining about "Basic Human Decency" annoys me to no end. "Humankind" is more precise than "mankind", and removes an implication, no matter how unintentional, that the human race and male gender are the same thing. The addition of an extra syllable (or, in the case of the Star Trek intro - which was changed to "no one" in TNG, while keeping the split infinitive) seems to be a very small adjustment for language which is inclusive.

Back to topic, Atlas Shrugged is one of the worst books I've ever read. The main complaints against it have been brought up here already, the biggest being characters who are either strawmen or heroes with no grey in between. Not only is it the kind of thing that only someone who already agrees with her worldview can love, but it damages the potential for polite discourse by reinforcing the idea that anyone in the opposition is either a villain, a moron, or both. It's a bad book about which I cannot say enough bad things.

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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby Izawwlgood » Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:16 pm UTC

Czhorat wrote:Not only is it the kind of thing that only someone who already agrees with her worldview can love, but it damages the potential for polite discourse by reinforcing the idea that anyone in the opposition is either a villain, a moron, or both.

I was firmly on the side of supporting socialism before I read the book, for whatever that's worth, although, to be fair, I was at the perfect time of my life to have read Atlas Shrugged.

Personally, I think there's a difference between a book that paints an allegory for the purpose of the philosophy, and a book that doesn't even try to address opposing viewpoints. Rand's 'villains' are at least given the benefit of describing how it is they got to where they are, and why they are what they are. They aren't simply shadow puppets we're supposed to boo and hiss at every time they come on stage. They *are* fairly obvious in their actions and depictions, but how they got there is given a good deal of backstory, and strikingly, a good deal of empathy.

Another very important thing to point out Czhorat, is that NONE of her 'bad guys' are morons.

Czhorat wrote:It's a bad book about which I cannot say enough bad things.

I enjoyed the book, and the Fountainhead, and if you want to discuss what you liked or didn't like, I'd enjoy the debate. I'll leave it to you to pose some other opinions other than "book sucks", before further response however.
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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby Cleverbeans » Thu Feb 24, 2011 6:29 pm UTC

I'm curious about how they'll handle Galt's monologue too, and if they'll be able to maintain the PG-13 rating in the second part. As I see it the common dismissal of the novel as a mouthpiece for her philosophy stems mostly from that speech as I found the rest of the story is excellently crafted. It's an intensely character driven story so I expect acting is going to make or break this as a film, and of course the director can always mess it up but I'm optimistic based on the trailer and look forward to pirating it. ;)

I love Ayn Rand's work and attribute much of my philosophical development to her influence, particularly her epistemology, metaphysics, and aesthetics. Her ethics and politics however seem almost willfully ignorant of reality, perhaps an artifact of her experience with Stalinism.

I do have mixed feeling about the film coming out at this time however. It seems red scare is on the rise again, and with the violent and revolutionary themes throughout the second half of the novel I'm concerned about the implications. Hopefully it's just a feel-good movie for tea-partiers and doesn't tickle the trigger fingers of a few crazies.
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Re: Atlas Shrugged movie?

Postby IcedT » Thu Feb 24, 2011 6:39 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
IcedT wrote:
Deep_Thought wrote:When I clicked the link for this thread I was expecting it to be a discussion about this Cracked.com article I "stumbled" across about how Iron Man 2 is actually Atlas Shrugged in disguise. Now I'm actually going to have to go and read the book. It's been sitting on my shelves for well over a year (birthday gift from someone who played Bioshock and thought it looked interesting). I much prefer to read the book then watch the movie rather than the other way round.
I'm not even joking when I say Iron Man 2 is the best thing to ever come of a Rand book. Trust me, you're not missing out on much.

I rather disagree with you, but a riveting contribution otherwise!

I actually enjoyed most of The Fountainhead while I was reading it, but once I started really getting to the heart of Objectivism I realized it boiled down to something like an endorsement of sociopathy. Taken on its own merits, Objectivism's main achievement is reconciling atheism with moral absolutism by replacing religion with self-worship, since none of her economic or political theories were her own. Iron Man 2 got around these problems because Tony Stark is a humanitarian, a patriot, a pretty decent guy and also an actual genius robot-fighting superhero instead of just some dickwad businessman who decided he's the shit.


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