2005 Liberty Film Festival in West Hollywood

From the press release:
HOLLYWOOD, Calif., June 15 /PRNewswire/ — The 2005 Liberty Film Festival, Hollywood’s premier event for conservative and libertarian film, will be held this October 21-23, 2005 at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood. The Liberty Film Festival showcases films that celebrate the traditional American values of free speech, patriotism, and religious freedom.
The festival is currently accepting feature and short film submissions (both documentary and narrative). The festival will hold three juried competitions for Best Feature Film, Best Short Film, and Best Screenplay (unproduced). Best Feature Film and Best Short Film winners will each be awarded the Libertas Prize. The Screenplay Competition will have a $1000 prize. The deadline for all entries is August 21, 2005.
The Liberty Film Festival continues its innovative programming this year with a Producers Series, which includes panels on Film Production, TV Production, Screenwriting, and Film Finance & Distribution. The Festival will also feature a debate on the 1950’s blacklist. Festival speakers will include Oscar and Emmy-nominated producers, directors, writers and actors. The Festival will also feature a Tribute to John Wayne, and a 100th Birthday Tribute to Ayn Rand.
Visit the Liberty Film Festival web site for more information.

Ayn Rand Matters to Ethicist Elaine Sternberg

In honor of Rand’s Centennary, Elaine Sternberg, a research fellow at the University of Leeds (U.K.), delivered an address titled “Why Ayn Rand Matters: Metaphysics, Morals and Liberty” to the Adam Smith Institute. An adapted version of Dr. Sternberg’s address is posted on the Adam Smith Institute‘s weblog, The Social Affairs Unit. With quotes from Atlas Shrugged and The Virtue of Selfishenss, Sternberg’s address is a remarkable tribute to Rand’s groundbreaking achievements in the realms of metaphysics, ethics, and politics.
Anticipating the academic preconceptions about Rand, Sternberg begins her address with an apt statement:
“Ayn Rand deserves to be taken seriously, because she was right about three things of immense importance: metaphysics, morals and individual liberty.”
The address concludes with a compact but thorough summary of Rand’s achievements:

Challenging most philosophers since Aristotle, she outlined a comprehensive, realist metaphysics. And challenging both philosophical and conventional ethics, she presented strong arguments against altruism in its various forms, and in favour of a realist morality based on happiness and rational self-interest. Finally, in drawing out the implications of her realist philosophy, and demonstrating the proper relations between morality and freedom, she provided an extremely robust defense of both individual liberty and laissez-faire capitalism.

To read the entire address, check The Social Affairs Unit.

Front Page Mag: Who's Afraid of Ayn Rand?

Writing for Front Page Magazine, Alec Mouhibian has published a rousing defense of Ayn Rand’s legacy titled “Who’s Afraid of Ayn Rand?” It begins:

If you?ve heard of Ayn Rand, whose centennial birthday was Wednesday, it is probably because you?ve read her novels The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged. But back when the greatest female thinker in history was alive, the above question was quite revealing. It still is.
Rand, a novelist and philosopher, came to America all alone in her early twenties after escaping Soviet Russia and before being castigated by everyone from Granville Hicks to Whittaker Chambers. Her first novel, We The Living, a semi-autobiographical depiction of life under communism, was panned by leftist critics for ?failing to understand the Soviet experiment.? The rigorous philosophy she later developed?which she called Objectivism and which can be summarized by the axis of reason-individualism-capitalism?unnerved intellectual nippleweights from both left and right. And mutual hatred with Women?s Lib was established from the get-go, because she liked men.
Mike Wallace reflected that Rand?s most vehement critics tended not to actually read her. So challenged were their basic assumptions by the ideas of this little big-eyed immigrant that they were too afraid to deal with them. Their fear of being challenged was a harbinger of an intellectual culture today in which monocle-dropping offense comes much easier than rational thought.
And so, since her death, Ayn Rand has merely been dismissed and ignored by her elite adversaries. When I asked the chairs of the Women?s Studies and Political Science departments at my school what they thought of her, they both gave the kind of bashful, blushing smile that I normally give when reminded of my childhood crush on Oscar the Grouch. Read her in high school, grew up, moved on, haven?t thought of her since. Great sex scenes though. May we talk Hegel?

…And it only gets better. See the full article for further reading.

Ayn Rand's Legacy on Talk Radio 580 in Ottawa

The Atlasphere just got a call from Anchor/Reporter Kris Sims, from Talk Radio 580 CFRA News in Ottawa.
She recently read Atlas Shrugged (loved it) and will be producing a segment on the Ayn Rand centennial for the afternoon drive show with Rob Snow this Thursday. Check it out if you’re one of our members in Ottawa or surrounding areas.
Incidentally, according to the CFRA web site, Kris herself can be heard reading the news on Talk Radio 580 CFRA on weekend and weekday evenings.
UPDATE: The segment is scheduled to run from 4:30 to 5pm, Thursday, February 10th.

The Miami Herald: Ayn Rand's Influence

The Miami Herald has printed an article by Phil Kloer (“Many hearts still held captive by Ayn Rand“) examining Rand’s influence among her readers. It begins:

Fay Stephenson’s old copy of Atlas Shrugged was turned into soggy mush when her basement flooded and ruined a bunch of stored books. Bill Fallin keeps his copy of the novel in his desk and re-reads sections occasionally. Ron Mahre read The Fountainhead in college and plans to give his battered copy to his daughter Bethany, 17.
Like a first rock concert or a first slow dance, some people never forget their first encounter with Ayn Rand, the passionate, controversial author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, creator of the philosophy called objectivism, patron saint of libertarians (both capital “L” and small “l”) and galvanizer of several generations of intellectually inclined teenagers.

See the full article for more information.

Ayn Rand and the Atlasphere in San Fran Chronicle

Alan Saracevic has written a somewhat-goofy article for the San Francisco Chronicle, discussing Ayn Rand’s 100th birthday and the fact that there’s even ? get this ? a DATING SERVICE for admirers of her novels.
Here’s an excerpt from the article (“Objectifying online dating among Ayn Rand fans“):

Her books have sold more than 30 million copies, with hundreds of thousands still flying off the shelves every year. Her philosophies have influenced some of the most powerful business figures of this generation, including Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan and CNN founder Ted Turner.
At her centennial, she is as relevant to societal discourse as any author of the 20th century.
So I set off on the path of research and discovery only to be waylaid, yet again, by the lowest possible common denominator, while a copy of “Atlas” sat forlornly on my nightstand.
Get this: There’s a dating service for Ayn Rand followers. On the Internet, of course. It’s tied to the Atlasphere, an online site where Rand followers post philosophical essays and links to related material.
The site is fascinating, the essays intriguing, but the dating service got me going.
So lemme get this straight — a society dedicated to rugged individualism and self-interest also tries to set people up on dates?
Makes sense on a certain level. Who better to discuss the burden of welfare with than a like-minded colleague, eh?
Apparently it works. Atlasphere boasted 5,597 members as of Friday, with 2,157 of them posting dating profiles.
Actually, I’m not sure whether the relatively high percentage of Rand- ites seeking dates proves that the service works or that it doesn’t work, but that’s beside the point. Just picturing the dates is a full breakfast, so to speak.
Joe: It’s a pleasure to meet you, Jane. I thought we’d go to a little Thai place I know up the coast.
Jane: I prefer Chinese, Joe. Goodbye.

And the article ends with this:

OK, OK. I’ve had my fun. And before all you randy Randovians pick up the pen and start sending the evil my way, lemme say this:
You guys won. The world is yours. People talk about capitalism, and communism, and existentialism and evangelism.
But it was objectivism all along — and with a capital “O” — that carried through the century and won over the hearts and minds.
Most of us just didn’t realize it.

For more details (and bad Objectivism jokes) see the full article.

Chris Sciabarra on the Ayn Rand Centenary

Did you know that illustrated versions were made of both The Fountainhead and Anthem, with Ayn Rand’s approval and involvement?
Chris Sciabarra has posted links on his blog to a number of his different essays on the Ayn Rand Centenary, including the PDF version of his article “The Illustrated Rand,” from The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies.
See the latter for full details about the illustrated versions of Anthem and The Fountainhead.

New Ayn Rand Centenary Web Site, from ARI

From the Ayn Rand Institute:
Ayn Rand, one of the most inspiring and controversial writers, was born on February 2, 1905. To celebrate her life and achievements, the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) is inaugurating a special centenary Web site.
The new Web site will be updated with audio and video of the events that will take place throughout 2005. In addition, the site will soon feature materials from the collections of the Ayn Rand Archives, as well as other special content.
We hope you will enjoy visiting aynrand100.org and that you will join us in celebrating the Ayn Rand Centenary.

On Point: Life and Legacy of Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand makes an appearance on another NPR show: “On Point”. In this hour long show aired on February 1, several guests discuss Rand’s life and her legacy on American culture and politics. Guests listed as appearing:
–Scott McLemmee, freelance writer
–Edward Hudgins of The Objectivist Center
–James Sterba, professor of philosophy, University of Notre Dame
–Barbara Branden, biographer and former friend and colleague
–Jack Beatty, senior editor at The Atlantic Monthly
Listen to the show

NPR: Marking the Ayn Rand Centennial

In the “Book Bag” segment of the February 2 edition of NPR’s show “Day to Day”, Nick Gillespie, editor of Reason magazine, presents his thoughts on Ayn Rand’s legacy in American culture. Gillespie notes many of the places that Rand has popped up in culture from The Simpsons to Alan Greenspan. Gillespie also discusses what he calls her “disheartening personal life”.
Listen to the audio commentary