My loosely fabricated notion, one not provable by me, is that Ayn Rand secretly wanted to find a man that met all of her requirements, and that she used her writing to do so.
Her fantasy man would be the ultimate intellectual; tall and slim, handsome with a carved face, rational to the core, and with an animalistic sex drive driven by his off-the-charts IQ. He would be a taller Brad Pitt or Clark Gable, with the intelligence of Albert Einstein or Robert Oppenheimer. Additionally, he would have the work ethic of Andrew Carnegie or Thomas Edison.
Of course, Ayn Rand would never stand for the trivial intelligence of Pitt or Gable, the unkempt ways of Einstein, or the self-questioning nature of Oppenheimer. Her man had to be ideal. This man could never be dependent on anyone else. He would never have a disease that required him to wear a colostomy bag or oxygen mask. He would never have a bad case diarrhea, and he would never develop heart and lung problems due to a lifetime of smoking.
If she wrote The Fountainhead with the secret underlying desire to bring this man forward and into her life, it will probably never be known. However, to me, this motive seems plausible.
The problem is that this “ideal man” is difficult to write about, especially if the writer wants to give the character depth. Translated to the movie screen, the problems multiply because few, if any, men measure up to these requirements. Notice that in the movies featuring Superman, Batman and Spiderman, the heroes are helped along by super human attributes. Batman has a vast fortune that funds a great scientist to invent fantastic gizmos that give him super abilities; Superman has the yellow light from our sun that gives him his super powers while Spiderman gains spider-like abilities from being bitten by a radioactive spider. Without these underpinnings, few would believe the Superman, Batman or Spiderman stories.
Notice how awkward the movie Atlas Shrugged seems. Dagny Taggart comes across like a nice kindergarten teacher, and John Galt looks like a soap actor. His face seems too plump, it isn’t angular enough, it isn’t carved from granite or marble. His voice is too normal for a super hero. I believe that the problem with the movie isn’t the lack of good actors, good writers, or money to capitalize the movie, but rather a problem with attempting to project superhuman characters onto a screen, characters that do not, and most likely never will exist in reality.
Most geniuses never look like a movie star, have a rock solid psychology, or have a voice like a consummate radio announcer. Oftentimes, they look like Einstein, behave like John Nash and speak like Bobby Fischer.
Atlas Shrugged is a movie, not a comic book, and that is its main problem. John Galt as a comic book would be perfect. If John Galt were a comic book, Galt would have the perfect face and body, he would never stumble over a curb, his hair would always be stylized. Even if his hair was messed up by the wind, a fire or an explosion, it would have a purposeful grace and power. He would be smarter than Einstein or Newton. His athletic abilities would be near professional.
What would the background story be? Well, Galt’s father could have been a great scientist. He could have created the perfect human by gene splicing. He could have combined genes from Einstein, Jessie Owens and George Clooney to make John the “ideal man.”
Dagny Taggart would have the perfect figure and wear the perfect clothes. The dialog could be written with plenty of time spent writing each line. Galt could give a brilliant answer to any question because the writers would, of course, have full control of the questions and situations.
When I was 8-10 years old, I read Superman, Batman and many of the other comic books. I was thrilled with every one. Looking back, a John Galt comic would have been a big hit. He could have fought the evils of big government and saved his fabulous babe, Dagny Taggart, in every issue. His blazing mind would crush his opponents.
A spinoff comic could have been The Men of the Mind. This comic would include John Galt, Hank Rearden, Francisco d’Anconia, Ragnar Danneskold, and Hugh Akston. They would be the Super Team that fought for the Individual Rights of Man by crushing the looters and second handlers. Their Fortress of Solitude would have been Galt’s Gulch in the mountains of Colorado. I would have loved this comic series, that is, until I gained more wisdom. Wisdom is time put to knowledge.
Ayn Rand was delusional. Regardless, I love her. She wrote the greatest novels and inspired me and millions of others by offering a vision of freedom that Jefferson, Madison, Mises, and many others failed to do. It’s OK to love someone even if they hold contradictory views. After all, Man is the delusional animal, and Ayn Rand stayed true to her nature.
Some of Rand’s delusions and logical mistakes are:
1. Man is the rational animal
2. Man has Individual Rights
3. The true hero is independent of others
All of these points and much more are covered in the book, The Biology of Human Freedom.