Robert Bidinotto: The critics’ disproportionate bashing of the Atlas Shrugged movie is revealing

Objectivist writer Robert Bidinotto has a new blog post analyzing the critical reaction to the Atlas Shrugged movie and John Aglialoro’s public statements that he is reconsidering whether to release the film in 1,000 theaters this weekend and to proceed with making parts 2 and 3.

Bidinotto writes:

Personally, I regarded the film as quite good, though not great — certainly not deserving the excoriating reviews it received. Some sites and writers simply would not let up; they pounded the film repeatedly, looking for excuses to pile on at every opportunity.

But this disproportionate bashing is revealing. Ask yourself how many other “mediocre” or even “bad” films have ever generated this level of untempered wrath, raging vituperation, incessant insults, and unrestrained gloating over their artistic or commercial shortcomings. Does this not suggest that something much deeper is going on?

If the film’s critics (professional and amateur) truly believed that it was merely mediocre, then what explains their unrelenting, over-the-top spewing of venom? Similarly, if Rand and her ideas were simply silly, wouldn’t her intellectual opponents just dismiss her lightly, without such ado? To the contrary, however: A Google search for reviews and commentary about Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged over the past several weeks shows that, for the commentariat, this was not just another opportunity to review another film, or to comment on a novelist and thinker; this was all-out warfare.

But why?

Keep reading to find out.

About Joshua Zader

Joshua Zader is co-founder of Atlas Web Development and founder of The Atlasphere, a networking directory and dating service for admirers of Ayn Rand's novels with over 20,000 members from around the world.
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  • http://www.publiusnm.org/author/ellsworth/ Ellsworth Toohey

    Mr. Bidinotto writes:

    “The Randian Narrative — ‘of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute’ — challenges the Narratives that have dominated thousands of years of human history. For those wedded to the latter, her vision represents a grave threat to everything they are, everything they have, and everything they seek. This threat goes beyond politics or economic theories; it encompasses their most personal values, aspirations, ideals, lifestyles, vested interests, relationships — the works.”

    Well of course. We in the intelligentsia can’t just stand by and let people see the movie, and worse yet read Rand’s books, without opposition. The dullards might actually listen to Rand and absorb her ideas. Then what? They’ll start thinking for themselves, believing they have value and a capacity for greatness. As I have often observed, great men can’t be ruled. We must stop this incentive to improvement, to excellence, to perfection. We must laugh at the Howard Roarks of the world and hold mediocrities like Peter Keating as great architects. Then, we’ve destroyed architecture. Don’t set out to raze all shrines – you’ll frighten men, Enshrine mediocrity – and the shrines are razed.

    We have to kill this damn movie now, before it attains cult status. Ridicule it. Belittle it. Laugh at it. If we don’t, the next thing you know, we’ll have a bunch of Howard Roarks running around. Then, God help us.

  • http://www.publiusnm.org/author/ellsworth/ Ellsworth Toohey

    Mr. Bidinotto writes:

    “The Randian Narrative — ‘of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute’ — challenges the Narratives that have dominated thousands of years of human history. For those wedded to the latter, her vision represents a grave threat to everything they are, everything they have, and everything they seek. This threat goes beyond politics or economic theories; it encompasses their most personal values, aspirations, ideals, lifestyles, vested interests, relationships — the works.”

    Well of course. We in the intelligentsia can’t just stand by and let people see the movie, and worse yet read Rand’s books, without opposition. The dullards might actually listen to Rand and absorb her ideas. Then what? They’ll start thinking for themselves, believing they have value and a capacity for greatness. As I have often observed, great men can’t be ruled. We must stop this incentive to improvement, to excellence, to perfection. We must laugh at the Howard Roarks of the world and hold mediocrities like Peter Keating as great architects. Then, we’ve destroyed architecture. Don’t set out to raze all shrines – you’ll frighten men, Enshrine mediocrity – and the shrines are razed.

    We have to kill this damn movie now, before it attains cult status. Ridicule it. Belittle it. Laugh at it. If we don’t, the next thing you know, we’ll have a bunch of Howard Roarks running around. Then, God help us.