The most glaring error was found on the DVD’s title sheet. A copywriter unfamiliar with Rand’s 1957 novel incorrectly described the film as a story of “self-sacrifice,” even though Rand herself championed a philosophy she called “the virtue of selfishness.” Altruism, government assistance, charity and small qualities of mercy, Rand believed, needed to be renounced for a society to survive -- a goal finally achieved with the utter deregulation of the financial markets a few short years ago, which paved the way for this new era of global prosperity.
The film’s producers apologized profusely to Rand’s fans, explaining that the tag lines should have extolled Rand’s principles of “rational self-interest.”
The copywriter responsible for the gaffe admitted to having little knowledge of Ayn Rand, and later defended himself as “one of the 99 percent” (in this case, a reference to those who have avoided reading or embracing Rand).
Skip Picks, a media relations specialist with Atlas Productions, said: “For a Rand aficionado or true Objectivist, this was an offensive oversight. The message totally detracted from Rand’s defense of selfishness and unrestricted capitalism as providing an air of intellectualism to bad behavior and horrible policy. Clearly, this writer was a poor fit for the project. Until the moment of his termination, he insisted on pronouncing Ms. Rand’s first name ‘Ann,’ even though we reminded him constantly that ‘Ayn’ rhymes with ‘mine.’”
Critics, however, complained of countless other errors. Farley McMannus, a film reviewer based in San Narciso County, said: “Apart from describing Rand’s work as a story of self-sacrifice, the writer also called it a ‘timeless classic,’ ‘groundbreaking,’ and a ‘visionary tale’ of ‘courage.’ Insulting as hell, really.”
McMannus also took exception to the character of John Galt, the mysterious and rabidly anti-collectivist figure who becomes the impetus for what passes as action in the story. As government regulators and other collectivist villains attempt to force social programs down the throats of the righteous wealthy, Galt persuades the nation’s most influential business leaders to “strike.” He then creates a secret enclave called “Galt’s Gulch,” forming a collective community in which these anti-collectivists can gather.
“Non-conformists creating a group of other non-conformists is, in itself, conformity,” McMannus quipped.
Picks argued that “Galt’s Gulch was no different than comic book superheroes joining forces, like in the Justice League of America or the Avengers. And like those heroes, it was populated by powerful men, innovators, wealthy industrialists and inventors -- all of them defending the ideals of freedom.”
“Well, Mr. Picks is correct in drawing an analogy between ‘Atlas Shrugged’ and comics,” McMannus confessed. “I mean, right down to the lingering effects they leave on impressionable teens. One is a childish fable that takes place in a bizarre, improbable universe. At its worst, it draws kids into a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood. The other, of course, involves costumed crime fighters with superpowers.”
Picks assured admirers of the film that the DVDs would be replaced free of charge, and that they would not be sent using the United States Postal Service. “You can imagine how mortified we all were when we saw the DVD, but it was simply too late,” Picks said.
In a completely different context, Farley McMannus explained that he shared those same sentiments.
“It’s funny,” McMannus said, “because I told my wife the same thing: ‘You can’t imagine how mortified I was when I saw the DVD, but it was simply too late.’”
(c) 2011. See disclaimers.