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Reviewing Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead"

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Reviewing Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead"

Post by lpetrich » Fri Jan 06, 2017 2:51 pm

Adam Lee had previously done Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged (Reviewing Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" - Secular Café), and he is now taking on her other major novel, The Fountainhead: The Fountainhead: Once More Into the Breach

The Fountainhead is a smaller-scale work than Atlas Shrugged, having only four main characters and being set in New York City and nearby. Adam Lee also notes differences in Ayn Rand's beliefs between TF and AS. For instance, it is less concerned with economic and political issues and more concerned with artistic purity, with following an artistic vision no matter what.

We'll see what becomes of that in the novel.

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Post by lpetrich » Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:33 pm

Adam Lee is now done with part I. Here is a summary.
  • Adam Lee on why he reviewed it -- it was an earlier stage than Atlas Shrugged.
  • Introducing Howard Roark, the angular-looking hero.
  • He got booted out of architecture school for only wanting to do one style: modernist.
  • He hates classical style, like stone columns that imitate wood ones.
  • Adam Lee: architect is a bad profession for someone who wants total creative control, someone like Howard Roark.
  • One ought not to be concerned about what other people think about oneself.
  • Ayn Rand's heroes always know what they want to do with their lives, over all their lives
  • McMansions: monuments to conspicuous consumption and bad taste
  • Why make things that people like?
  • Don't bother to say what one likes about a company that one applies for a job in.
  • Ignore the era that one is around: the Roaring Twenties.
  • Act like an arrogant, bullying jerk, and then wonder why nobody wants to hire you.
  • Appease one's superiors by going against one's principles.
  • Don't bother with market research, researching what one's customers might want.
  • Who cares about history?
  • Retirement is not worth thinking about.
  • Surprise, surprise! Some humor.

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Post by lpetrich » Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:49 pm

Adam Lee has a good point about architecture being bad to be in for some super individualist with pretensions of artistic heroism. That profession requires a lot of collaboration. Movie and TV production are similar, with a writer for a TV series having to write something that fits within the concept of the series. David Gerrold once illustrated that with a cartoon of William Shakespeare getting back a copy of one of his plays, a copy with a new title: "A Midsummer Night's BEM".

Isaac Asimov once stated why he refused to write any screenplays for movies or TV: he wanted complete control over his artistry, and he knew that he could not get it in Hollywood. He knew that whatever he came up with had a risk of getting mangled out of recognition.

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Post by dancer_rnb » Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:39 am

Someone made a movie loosely based on Nightfall. It was horrible. Only movie I ever walked out of.
There is no such thing as "politically correct." It's code for liberalism. The whole idea of "political correctness" was a brief academic flash-in-the-pan in the early 1990's, but has been a good conservative bugaboo ever since.

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Post by lpetrich » Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:05 am

More summary. Ayn Rand's oddities are breathtaking.
  • Howard Roark seems almost oblivious to friends who want to help him out.
  • HR prefers looking down on other people than getting people skills.
  • HR only cares about his buildings, not about any people that might get displaced to build them.
  • Workplace hazards are to be endured like natural disasters.
  • A client's wishes are OK if they are the "right" ones.
  • New York City's skyline is great, despite being designed by villainous classical architects.
  • More of how terrible it is to sell what one's customers want to buy.
  • Curious indifference to labor unions.
  • Dominique Francon is bizarro Ayn Rand
  • No interest in how the characters got the way that they are.
  • Stab one's benefactors in the back by competing with them.
  • Why not some real difficulty like intellectual-property problems?
  • HR won't join his professional society, no matter how helpful it might be to him.
  • HR has an almost sexual love of buildings -- and thinks that he's a genius at structural engineering.
  • To be a good architect, one has to understand what a building's inhabitants will want.
More to come.

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Post by lpetrich » Sat Nov 18, 2017 6:32 am

Still more from Part I.
  • Dominique slams rich people along with poor people, something surprising.
  • Destroy artwork that one likes so that nobody else can enjoy it. Especially not inferior people.
  • Ayn Rand lacked interest in the technologies of architecture, like building materials -- like concrete.
  • Don't bother to promote yourself or advertise yourself. If you are a superior being, you will automatically get customers.
  • A great individualist knows what's good for other people and only gives that to them.
  • Is ornateness conspicuous consumption? Why ornate buildings and not ornate cars?
  • Ignore access for people with disabilities, even if one's clients want such access.
  • A villain doing the creating? And not one of the creative heroes?
  • City real estate can be expensive, another thing AR does not discuss very much.
  • A villain can be more interesting than the story's hero.
  • Ignoring others' opinions can sometimes be valuable -- only sometimes.
  • A client wants its buildings to have an image of solidity and tradition rather than of wild experimentation -- and HR refuses to accept that.
We have reached the end of Part I. Howard Roark is supposedly acting like some creative genius who refuses to do inferior work, but he comes off as a jerk who sponges off of others, who does not promote himself, and who thinks that he knows better than his clients.

Seems that HR is in the wrong sort of field. He ought to be in some field like painting where he can much more easily be a solo genius.

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