An Open Letter to the Atlas Shrugged 3 Kickstarter
Dear Dedicated Filmmakers,
I want to start off by telling you that I really do admire what you're trying to do. No really. I know that I'm speaking here in the pixels of what you consider a liberal rag, but I swear to you that I legitimately love Ayn Rand's novel. I've read it a dozen times, and it still draws me in every time.
When I heard that you were trying to make a movie about it, I felt the exact same way I did when I heard that Watchmen was finally coming to the big screen, or Lord of the Rings. I was elated, but very cautious. How on Earth can you turn works of that scope into films?
I don't know, and to judge by the first two films neither do you, but hey, I'm really, really proud of you guys for trying. It's an accomplishment to say that you did it. Now I'm hearing that the final chapter, Who is John Galt? (Aside: Why are these not Non-Contradiction, Either-Or, and A is A?), is being partially crowdfunded on Kickstarter, and as Houston Press' regular Kickstarter correspondent I must weigh in.
See also: 10 Best Ayn Rand Tributes on Etsy
High as my hopes are for these films, they have been financial disasters, and I'm sorry, but a liberal Hollywood elite has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that they failed. They've failed because you have completely misunderstood everything that made the novel great.
Yes, the book is held up as a Libertarian Bible and is a major influence on any number of conservative thinkers. You rightfully claim in your Kickstarter that the book is second only to The Bible in the number of Americans it has inspired... though according to the Library of Congress it is a distant second. That's fine, but what the hell is the book actually about?
I'll tell you... it's about a woman who learns to stand, and to let go of harmful influences that weigh her down from achieving her true potential. Everything else, the rhetoric, the Objectivism, the anti-government ranting, is just a backdrop for that most basic and tested of literary tropes.
That was Rand's genius as a novelist, you understand? That she could take things that nobody cared about and make them mean something because they meant something to characters that we could identify with. Dagny Taggart is a supremely talented and intelligent woman. The whole world stands in her way because of her gender, because of her views, and because she most of all refuses to even pretend to assimilate. Everyone but the most misogynistic of d-bags can get behind that. There may be no more American protagonist in the history of literature.
Piece continues on next page.