Friday, March 07, 2008

Ayn Rand

This week I was able to watch courtesy of Netflix two DVD's on the Life of author Ayn Rand. The first, "Rand A Sense of Life"***** is a two hour plus documentary on her life from the time she was born in Russia through her death. It was made by admirer's of her and is very detailed and well crafted. Certainly as good as anything Kenn Burns has done. The other was a Showtime Channel, made for TV Docudrama, called "The Passion of Ayn Rand." ****Helem Mireen of "The Queen" plays Rand and as usual for Mirren does an excellent job. Her long suffering husband is played by Peter Fonda and according to those who knew him has him "nailed". The movie is primarily about the romantic affair between Ayn Rand and her younger protege Nathanial Brandon. The movie is based upon a book written by Brandon's wife and so it's not too sympathetic to Brandon or Rand. One scene is where Brandon and Rand set up a joint meeting for their spouses and ask for permission to have the affair and schedule it for one afternoon and evening per week. At least they weren't going to sneak around behind their backs.

Watching these DVD's brought back a lot of memories for me. I remember reading Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" while a senior in high school at North Bend High. Then in the 60's while a student at the University of Oregon I ran around with a number of Rand followers call "Objectivist" (similar to today's Libertarians). I remember having philosophical conversations over coffee late into the night. I had a good friend Gaines Smith who wore a $ sign button such as the one Ayn Rand wore at a time when Capitalism was very unpopular in the dark days of the late 60's in Eugene Oregon. I was never an Objetivist but at times I was a "fellow traveler." To this day the hair's on my neck stand up when some one proposes mandatory community service.I can still remember Richard Barry saying "need is not a claim." The part of Ayn's Rand's philosophy that glorifies the rugged individualism and the heroic nature of man still appeals to me as does the importance of reason and logic.