Saturday, September 19, 2009

Atlas Shrugged Panel 3

Atlas Shrugged, panel 3. So far I'm doing it scene by scene, but I'm hardly gonna do the whole 1000 plus pages of this epic. Most likely you'll see pieces extracted here and there, with some continuity as the scene permits. Rand was a screenwriter after all, and this book is heavily indebted to the films of the 40s and 50s. You can even see the camera angles. Here I have poor Eddie wandering through the city, wondering why things look so lousy. Failed businesses, empty storefronts, nothing topical to the current time or anything. The writing is adapted from Rand's original text. Were I to include the whole thing, there would be no room for the image. (Click on the picture for bigger image.)

Everybody laughs at Rand's writing, but there are a lot of things to admire her for. One thing that particularly stands out for me is her admiration, her exaltation of human intelligence and ability and outright competence. She values initiative and thinking and problem-solving. Her characters are passionate about it. Not only that, she implies, by the character's actions, that a person, (she would say "man," she always insisted on using the masculine for generalizing people), a competent and intelligent man would not only be competent in his own field, whether philosophy, physics, or engineering, but would be competent in anything he tried. In her book, for instance, the philosopher employed in a diner makes the best diner food that the narrator ever tasted. The industrialist landscapes and rebuilds a house in the wilderness. The application of brilliant intelligence, drive, and problem-solving ability can make any job, great or small, into a triumph. I wish this were true.