Atlas Shrugged / Critics Shrug

David B. Hart has written my favorite cinematic castigation of the year.

Some highlights:

“What really puts both Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead in a class of their own is how sublimely awful they are. I know one shouldn’t expect much from a writer who thought Mickey Spillane a greater artist than Shakespeare. Even so, the cardboard characters, the ludicrous dialogue, the bloated perorations, the predictable plotting, the lunatic repetitiousness and banality, the shockingly syrupy romance—it all goes to create a uniquely nauseating effect: at once mephitic and cloying, at once sulfur and cotton candy.”

and

“Where Rand’s fiction is concerned, I suppose aesthetic and ideological revulsion are not really separable. What made her novels not just risibly clumsy, but truly shrill and hideous, was the exorbitantly trashy philosophy behind them. Taken solely as a storyteller, she had many of the skills of the proficient pulp writer. Her overwrought plots, her comically patent villains, her panting, fiery, fierce yet quiescent heroines—all of that would be quite at home in lushly bad romance fiction. Had she not mistaken herself for a deep thinker, she might have done well enough, producing books that filled out that vital niche between Forever Amber and Valley of the Dolls. Sadly, though, her ambitions would not let her rest there.”

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