Celebrity Ayn Rand fan: Facebook CFO David Ebersman

In his profile, Facebook Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman lists Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged as two of his favorite books — and his list is fairly selective, with only six unique books (plus The Fountainhead listed a second time, since there happen to be two pages for it at Facebook).

Ayn Rand and Cecil B. DeMille: "Why are you looking at me?"

A new book review at the Wall Street Journal begins with this story about Ayn Rand and Cecil B. DeMille:

On a cool Southern California morning in September 1926, an impoverished, 21-year-old Russian with sketchy English who had just renamed herself Ayn Rand was dejectedly leaving the DeMille Studio after being told that the publicity department had no job openings. Near the exit gate, she spotted a beautiful open roadster parked by the curb; the man behind the wheel was unmistakably the boss himself. She couldn’t help staring for a moment, then collected herself and turned toward the gate. Before she made it out, however, the car pulled up to her and the driver asked: “Why are you looking at me?”
Cecil B. DeMille shortly invited the young lady into the car and drove her into the nearby hills, where his epic life of Christ, “The King of Kings,” was shooting. The director allowed Rand to observe the filming for a week, then employed her as an extra for three months, whereupon she became a junior writer assigned, eventually, to a picture called “The Skyscraper.” Uninspired by its story and characters, Rand began her own screenplay of the same name, turning the story into one about an architect whose power and integrity intimidate lesser mortals.
The salient point of the Rand-DeMille convergenceâ??as related in “Empire of Dreams,” Scott Eyman’s colossally comprehensive and surprisingly moving biography of DeMilleâ??is not so much that the film director inadvertently helped plant the seed that would blossom into the 1943 novel “The Fountainhead.” (Although it is ironic that Ayn Rand’s name and even that of the novel’s fictional hero, Howard Roark, are undoubtedly more familiar to people under 40 today than is DeMille’s.) Rather, what matters about the episode is that it shows us DeMille as a real-life Roark, a powerful man of such ambition, determination and fearlessness that nothing and no one could stop him.

See the full article for much more about the DeMille biography.

New documentary about the rock band Rush comes to theaters June 10, 2010

A new documentary movie about the rock band Rush — whose 1976 concept album 2112 featured a title track based loosely on Ayn Rand’s novelette “Anthem” — will be coming to theaters on June 10, 2010.
The trailer is available on YouTube, for those who don’t have Apple’s Quicktime player — but this HQ version at Apple is of much higher quality.

Celebrity Ayn Rand fan Ed Snyder to start new "RightNetwork" cable network

Ed Snider, perhaps best known as owner of the Philadelphia Flyers, is starting a new cable network called RightNetwork, which will compete with Fox News while focusing on entertainment rather than news.
Snider has long been a supporter of Rand-related causes, as he talks about in this 2007 speech.
Hat-tip to Don Hauptman for the link.

John Stossel may kick off his new Fox News show with Atlas Shrugged

From an interesting new interview with John Stossel about his new show on Fox News:

Stossel. How did you come up with that name?
They just sprung it on me.
Tell me a little bit about what the show is going to be.
It will be one subject. The first subject will be maybe Atlas Shrugged or global warmingâ??Atlas Shrugged because I think 50 years ago, Ayn Rand predicted today. It sort of sums up what Iâ??m going to be reporting about.
Ayn Rand predicted what?
Big government, nice-sounding legislation like â??The Preservation of Livelihood Law,â? which mandated that Hank Reardenâ??s production must not be bigger than any other steel mill, to make it a level playing field. Itâ??s silly.
Is that a new law passed by this Congress?
No, but itâ??s what Wesley Mouch, the evil bureaucrat in the book, passed. And what Tim Geithner and what Barney Frank might like to pass.

See the full interview for more.

The Whole Foods alternative to ObamaCare

Celebrity Ayn Rand fan and Whole Foods CEO John Mackey has a great article in today’s Wall Street Journal with his recommendations for free market based health care reform (though I take exception to his dietary advice). It’s one of the best articles I’ve seen, in terms of making positive recommendations about how to actually improve the quality of health care in the United States.

The New York Times Profiles Objectivist CEO John Allison

A mostly favorable and long (6 pages) profile of Objectivist and former BB&T CEO (current Chairman) John Allison from Sunday’s New York Times: 

Over much of the last four decades, John A. Allison IV built BB&T from a local bank in North Carolina into a regional powerhouse that has weathered the economic crisis far better than many of its troubled rivals â?? largely by avoiding financial gimmickry.
And in his spare time, Mr. Allison travels the country making speeches about his bankâ??s distinctive philosophy.
Speaking at a recent convention in Boston to a group of like-minded business people and students, Mr. Allison tells a story: A boy is playing in a sandbox, only to have his truck taken by another child.  A fight ensues, and the boyâ??s mother tells him to stop being selfish and to share.
â??You learned in that sandbox at some really deep level that itâ??s bad to be selfish,â? says Mr. Allison, adding that the mother has taught a horrible lesson.  â??To say man is bad because he is selfish is to say itâ??s bad because heâ??s alive.â?
If Mr. Allisonâ??s speech sounds vaguely familiar, itâ??s because itâ??s based on the philosophy of Ayn Rand, who celebrated the virtues of reason, self-interest and laissez-faire capitalism while maintaining that altruism is a destructive force.  In Ms. Randâ??s world, nothing is more heroic â?? and sexy â?? than a hard-working businessman free to pursue his wealth.  And nothing is worse than a pesky bureaucrat trying to restrict business and redistribute wealth.
– Intro to “Give BB&T Liberty, But Not A Bailout”, The New York Times, August 2

Free market economist Peter Schiff may run for U.S. Senate

From Atlasphere founding editor Andrew Schwartz:

Peter Schiff, an economist known for predicting the current financial crisis, and a liberty-minded individual who lists Ayn Rand’s Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal on his recommended reading page, has announced that, pending sufficient support from other liberty-minded individuals around the country, he will run for senate.
He says his polling indicates that he has a real shot of winning against incumbent Democrat Chris Dodd – if he can win the Republican primary.
Schiff is a remarkably clear explicator of economic ideas, and an inspiring personality who does well in front of crowds [note, video’s a bit dicey and includes some not-so-great stuff interspersed with Schiff talking to the crowd, but I think it’s the only video there is showcasing this particular natural talent of his]), and well in popular media outlets [excellent, excellent video btw].
He says his polling indicates that he has a real shot of winning against incumbent Democrat Chris Dodd.
To make donations to his campaign (which will be returned if he decides he hasn’t enough support to run), visit schiffforsenate.com.

UPDATE: I just made a donation myself. Schiff has impressed me for a long time with the clarity of his thinking. If you’ve not seen the videos of economists laughing in his face when he predicted the financial crisis, they’re a must-see.

Ayn Rand and Farrah Fawcett

From The Daily Beast: “A recent email exchange with the late Farrah Fawcett reveals the unlikely friendship between the Charlie’s Angels star and the novelist Ayn Rand, who helped the actress understand her place in cultureâ??and longed to cast her in a TV version of Atlas Shrugged.”
Excerpts from Farrah Fawcett:

I remember liking the [Fountainhead] movie because it was unique in that the characters seemed to be the embodiments of ideas as opposed to real flesh and blood people with interests and lives. Now that I think about it, I think thatâ??s why Ayn was drawn to Charlieâ??s Angels. Because the characters that Kate, Jaclyn and I played werenâ??t really characters (the audience never saw us outside of work) as much as personifications of the idea that three sexy women could do all the things that Kojak and Columbo did…..
But I also responded to The Fountainhead because, as an artist (a painter and sculptress) myself, I related to the architectâ??s resistance to make his work like everyone elseâ??sâ??which was, of course, what Aynâ??s own art was all about. And that resistance to conformity is probably one of the reasons that she was so determined to see me play Dagny: At the time I would have been the completely unexpected choice…..
Later, when I read Atlas Shrugged, I was reminded of my first and only conversation with Ayn and how some of the characters in her novel(s) take an immediate liking to each other, almost as if they had always known each otherâ??at least in spirit. And this was the feeling I got from Ayn herself, from the way she spoke to me. Iâ??ll always think of â??Dagny Taggartâ? as the best role I was supposed to play but never didâ?¦

See the full article for much more.