Monday, May 22, 2006

Celebrity Rand fans

Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Jim Carrey, ... the unlikeliest buch of Ayn Rand fans you could imagine, but Robert Bidinotto has the evidence.

And where it might have once raised eyebrows, their apparent enthusiasm barely makes news today.
Ten or twenty years ago, if Hollywood’s hottest couple had publicly announced interest in the ideas of America’s most controversial individualist, eyebrows would have banged against the ceiling. Today, it’s more remarkable because they don’t.
The list doesn't end with those three; Bidinotto also lists amongst the celebrity Rand fans Sharon Stone and Sandra Bullock, sporting greats Martina Navratilova and Billy Jean King, Justices Clarence Thomas and Janice Rogers Brown, business and entreprenuerial heroes, a well-known 'airport novelist' and a much read fantasy author, and even an American President who wrote in a letter to a supporter:
Thanks very much for pamphlet. Am an admirer of Ayn Rand but hadn’t seen this study.
Who's the author? Who's the President? Who else is on the list? Read Bidinotto's article to find out. And why does it matter? He explains:
Of course, endorsements of Ayn Rand’s books and ideas by public figures
(or anyone else) don’t constitute proof of their merits. Nor do the statements
of movie stars, athletes, and politicians usually reveal anything more than a
superficial or compartmentalized grasp of what Rand stands for, or a passing
interest in her work.

But that’s not my point here. The real point worth noting is that statements by public-relations-savvy celebrities do constitute a reliable barometer of cultural trends. And the new willingness of so many public figures to endorse Ayn Rand’s works indicates that she and her ideas are becoming less and less controversial.

The existence of a large and enthusiastic group of “celebrity Rand fans” underscores what might be called “the mainstreaming of Ayn Rand.” When even Hollywood hunks and hotties are no longer embarrassed to enthuse about 'Atlas Shrugged' and 'The Fountainhead' to a Charlie Rose or Tina Brown, it’s a measure of significant progress in the spread of her ideas through the culture.

In fact, it may even suggest that Ayn Rand is becoming — dare I say
it? — cool.
I wish he hadn't said it.

LINKS: Celebrity Rand Fans - Robert Bidinotto
Ayn Rand's stamp on American Culture - Ed Hudgins
The New Individualist, the 'celebrity Rand' issue - Objectivist Center

TAGS: Objectivism, Politics-US, Films

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