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"The Passion of Ayn Rand"

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I recorded it - haven't watched it yet - not sure if I want to. Has anyone seen it, and if so, how would you characterize it?

I don't want to evade reality, but I'd like to know first whether the film is anywhere close to reality, or if its more of a smear campaign. If the latter, I won't bother. If its fairly true, then even if its negative, I'll watch it.

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I recorded it - haven't watched it yet - not sure if I want to. Has anyone seen it, and if so, how would you characterize it?

I don't want to evade reality, but I'd like to know first whether the film is anywhere close to reality, or if its more of a smear campaign. If the latter, I won't bother. If its fairly true, then even if its negative, I'll watch it.

I'd say watch it, read the book on which it's based, then read James Valiant's Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics. Also, check out Diana Hsieh's False Friends of Objectivism webpage. That should give you plenty of evidence for you to decide if Barbara Branden version of events is anywhere close to reality.

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Coincidentally I watched this film last night. I tried to be objective and give it a bias-free, fair hearing; and having not read either the books by the Brandens or Valiant I can't comment on the situation in depth.

The film portrays Rand as a second handed emotional tyrant with a messiah complex; she is shown as the opposite of everything she has ever written. I do not believe this version of events for a few reasons: if you compare interviews and lectures given by Rand in the film to the actual interviews and lectures you can tell that the character in the film is twisted and exaggerated. Also, in the film all of the main characters are shown as hugely repressed cultists but in my experience I haven't encountered this sort of mentality often in Objectivists. No one understands Rand's philosophy better than Leonard Peikoff; yet if you listen to his podcast you will find no trace of this kind of stereotypical 'Randroid' rhetoric and emotional repression.

I'm not sure about things like the morality of Rand and Branden's affair and the extent of the 'Randroid' mentality in the early Objectivist movement before it was fully developed and able to be communicated correctly, butl given my understanding of Objectivism so far I feel safe in saying that the majority of this film is not true.

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The film is about Ayn Rand. You are interested in Ayn Rand. Therefore you should watch it.

Decide the truth of it yourself, don't ask people on an internet board.

The question is like saying: "Should I read Ovid's Metamorphoses? After all, since I haven't read it before, it follows that I don't know what I'll think about it. Tell me what I should think about it, and if that agrees with what I think I should think about it, then I will read it."

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I'd say watch it, read the book on which it's based, then read James Valiant's Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics. Also, check out Diana Hsieh's False Friends of Objectivism webpage. That should give you plenty of evidence for you to decide if Barbara Branden version of events is anywhere close to reality.

If I remember correctly, Leonard Peikoff was never portrayed in that film. Not even an introduction. That seems strange due to the fact that he met Rand in 1951. Now, to be fair, I never read the book, only saw the movie so I cannot comment as to whether that was left out. Also, the story is supposed to be (from what I gather) about the relationship between the Brandens and Rand.

Still, I thought it odd that a MAJOR player in the Objectivist movement was never mentioned.

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The film is about Ayn Rand. You are interested in Ayn Rand. Therefore you should watch it.

Decide the truth of it yourself, don't ask people on an internet board.

The question is like saying: "Should I read Ovid's Metamorphoses? After all, since I haven't read it before, it follows that I don't know what I'll think about it. Tell me what I should think about it, and if that agrees with what I think I should think about it, then I will read it."

The film is a piece of crap Hallmark type nonsense fest. It is not worth watching, I honestly regret that I did.

To answer your point, if someone who's taste I trust would characterize a 90 minute movie in the way I just did, I wouldn't watch it to decide for myself, I would trust them and not waste my time. That does not make me a mindless person, who only listens to stuff he agrees with. In fact it makes me far more rational than someone who thinks every attempt at art deserves the same amount of attention, and that one should never trust anyone else's judgment, ever.

Let me make myself clear: There is so much material available on Ayn Rand that you should read and re-read everything there is 10 times, and then, if your curiosity is still not satisfied, start reading random stuff at the library in the hopes that you come across something about her, that everyone missed. Then, when you have read and saw everything ever made ( not just about Ayn Rand, but in general ), you should give this movie a chance, but have very low expectations going in. That is my advice, and it's coming from an Objectivist who reads Faulkner just for the occasional funny line.

Edited by Jake_Ellison
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I imagine that she knew that Leonard could sue her for libel. It's easier to picks fights with people who are too dead to fight back

If I remember correctly, Leonard Peikoff was never portrayed in that film. Not even an introduction. That seems strange due to the fact that he met Rand in 1951. Now, to be fair, I never read the book, only saw the movie so I cannot comment as to whether that was left out. Also, the story is supposed to be (from what I gather) about the relationship between the Brandens and Rand.

Still, I thought it odd that a MAJOR player in the Objectivist movement was never mentioned.

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The film is about Ayn Rand. You are interested in Ayn Rand. Therefore you should watch it.

If we were to apply this reasoning consistently then we are compelled to conclude that we should view any documentary on Ayn Rand no matter how inaccurate or offensive it is. We should read any book that features her even if the book is a dishonest smear. We should listen to any lecture mocking the ideas and personality of Ayn Rand, no matter how disgusted we are by the content.

Needless to say, I disagree with this reasoning. Given finite time, individuals should engage in recreational activities that are of value.

I don't want to evade reality, but I'd like to know first whether the film is anywhere close to reality, or if its more of a smear campaign. If the latter, I won't bother. If its fairly true, then even if its negative, I'll watch it.

You are not evading reality by choosing not to view this movie. Whether you should view it depends on what you expect to gain from taking the time to watch it. I would not expect to learn anything positive regarding Ayn Rand or Objectivism from viewing this movie. I have not seen the movie nor have I read Barbara Branden's book. However, based on reading excerpts and from the commentary on pro-Branden message boards, I imagine that the film portrays Ayn Rand as brilliant but dogmatically suppressive of intellectual dissent and psychologically unstable. This portrayal is absurd for a number of reasons, most notably that it does not synchronize with personal accounts of Ayn Rand not only from current ARI intellectuals but also from her estranged associates such as those from Alan Greenspan and George Reisman. In addition, this portrayal also does not match how Ayn Rand actually is in the numerous public appearances of her that are now widely available.

Of course, if you want to know what Barbara Branden has to say in her own words or you want to see if it is really that bad, then you should watch it.

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It is a revolting mixture of slander and softcore porn. Watch at your own peril.

However, based on reading excerpts and from the commentary on pro-Branden message boards, I imagine that the film portrays Ayn Rand as brilliant but dogmatically suppressive of intellectual dissent and psychologically unstable. T

Actually, every single person in the film is portrayed as a whim-worshiping hedonistic idiot.

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Actually, every single person in the film is portrayed as a whim-worshiping hedonistic idiot.

That is horrendous. Either way, I imagine that Barbara Branden nevertheless pretends to be confused as to how Objectivists could honestly find this offensive.

Edited by DarkWaters
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I think her reply would be that it is the truth, and the truth can never be offensive or some such.

Unfortunately for her, her hit piece has very little relation to the truth. I highly recommend "The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics" for anyone wanting to investigate further.

When I saw the movie (I hadn't yet read Rand at the time) that's actually what I thought : wow, these characters suck. Who acts like that?

I am a little surprised you ever read Rand after watching the movie first.

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I am a little surprised you ever read Rand after watching the movie first.

I found myself in agreement with the stuff on the ARI website for instance (actually I'm not sure about the website, but it was Objectivist commentary on political issues), so I got into it through the back door first, rather than through her novels like most people.

The movie didn't matter: it wasn't that memorable, except for the really bad parts, like the interaction between the Ayn character and Frank O'Connor. Those scenes tend to stick into memory, just by being exceptionally awful.

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When I saw the movie (I hadn't yet read Rand at the time) that's actually what I thought : wow, these characters suck. Who acts like that?

Same reaction here. It was bad softcore porn - the kind where you watch it and say, "Huh? Why are they attracted to each other? Who would be attracted to either of them?"

I thought Barbara Branden's book was not so bad, though. It's understandably biased, but there is a lot of interesting information in it. Just be aware of the slanted psychological speculation, and don't take it seriously when she says that Rand had a "deluded self-image" or words to that effect. To bring balance to Branden's account of the affair, read The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics. To bring balance to Branden's account of Rand's personality, read Facets of Ayn Rand.

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If we were to apply this reasoning consistently then we are compelled to conclude that we should view any documentary on Ayn Rand no matter how inaccurate or offensive it is. We should read any book that features her even if the book is a dishonest smear. We should listen to any lecture mocking the ideas and personality of Ayn Rand, no matter how disgusted we are by the content.

I saw the movie and wasn't disgusted at all. I read Passion of Ayn Rand's critics and wasn't overjoyed either. The most I remember about the film was a line where she was talking to Nathienal about her time in Russia and said that she used to listen to music in her childhood for the joy she could hear in it, that "if she could hear the joy, it had to exist somewhere." Otherwise, there isn't too much to say about the film. It certainly wasn't good, but I didn't come away from it deeply offended.

I recommend watching the film and forming a judgement yourself. That's it. Not a ridiculous proposition by any means. I have a large problem with religion. But that doesn't mean there isn't some value to be gained by reading its texts (at least the Old Testament...at this point, I haven't read much of the New. And I am getting to the Koran sooner or later).

Edited by adrock3215
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I recommend watching the film and forming a judgement yourself. That's it. Not a ridiculous proposition by any means.

That's fine, but make sure you go into it knowing that much of what Branden claims is demonstrably false, and most of the rest is wildly out of character according to practically everyone who isn't a Branden.

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That's fine, but make sure you go into it knowing that much of what Branden claims is demonstrably false, and most of the rest is wildly out of character according to practically everyone who isn't a Branden.

Not to mention that Mrs. Branden may have a possible motive to slant the film against Ayn Rand, given the relationship between Nathaniel and Ayn.

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The most offensive scene involves Frank O'Connor passed out drunk in a phone booth. It's downright wicked that Barbara Branden would portray O'Connor in such a way, just so that Barbara can go on blaming other people for her own ruined life.

Did Barbara Branden portray Mr. O'Connor as a passed out drunk in a phone booth, or did the people who made the movie do so? I don't recall if Branden's book included that.

Either way, I think that the scene should have shown Mr. O'Connor using liquor bottles to mix his artist's paints, which appears to be the explanation offered by Miss Rand and/or Dr. Peikoff as to why Mr. O'Connor had rows of empty liquor bottles in his studio (as mentioned in interviews found here and here).

I'd say watch it, read the book on which it's based, then read James Valiant's Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics. Also, check out Diana Hsieh's False Friends of Objectivism webpage. That should give you plenty of evidence for you to decide if Barbara Branden version of events is anywhere close to reality.

People might also want to check out (and perhaps even directly respond to) criticism of the critics of Ayn Rand's critics, like that found here and here.

J

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What I have always wanted to ask this woman is whether she actually has any evidence of these things occurring or not. Most of the time she reminds me of how LaToya Jackson acted during the first child abuse allegations directed at her brother (going on television, acting like a loony and claiming she had evidence- which turned out to be nothing at all).

Suddenly an expert, even though she was 'in the dark' about the affair- that's one of the versions I hear the most. How can that be? Doesn't make sense, can't have both at the same time.

One of the most telling phrases in any interview she has given must be "I must say that I was pleased by how many of the people around Leonard broke with him over my book." I wonder why if someone is so interested in philosophy, they must place stakes on who and how many 'break up' with Leonard Peikoff? Sounds to me more like a gossiping midwife's attitude than a philosopher.

Did Barbara Branden portray Mr. O'Connor as a passed out drunk in a phone booth, or did the people who made the movie do so? I don't recall if Branden's book included that.

Either way, I think that the scene should have shown Mr. O'Connor using liquor bottles to mix his artist's paints, which appears to be the explanation offered by Miss Rand and/or Dr. Peikoff as to why Mr. O'Connor had rows of empty liquor bottles in his studio (as mentioned in interviews found here and here).

People might also want to check out (and perhaps even directly respond to) criticism of the critics of Ayn Rand's critics, like that found here and here.

J

Edited by kainscalia
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