Ayn Rand Argues That Believing in God Is an Insult to Reason on The Phil Donahue Show (Circa 1979)

Ayn Rand — she’s often con­sid­ered the intel­lec­tu­al dar­ling of Amer­i­ca’s polit­i­cal right. Rand’s free mar­ket think­ing rubbed off on Alan Greenspan in a big way. At the Cato Insti­tute, Stephen Moore writes, “Being con­ver­sant in Ayn Rand’s clas­sic nov­el about the eco­nom­ic car­nage caused by big gov­ern­ment run amok [Atlas Shrugged] was prac­ti­cal­ly a job require­ment.” Supreme Court Jus­tice Clarence Thomas acknowl­edges a deep debt to The Foun­tain­head, Rand’s cel­e­bra­tion of the indi­vid­ual, and makes his law clerks watch the 1949 film adap­ta­tion of the nov­el. Rand Paul, the new Tea Par­ty sen­a­tor, calls him­self a fan of both books. And Ayn Rand book sales surged once Oba­ma came into office. You get the pic­ture.

Giv­en this love affair, it’s a lit­tle incon­gru­ous to redis­cov­er old footage (cir­ca 1979) that fea­tures Rand com­ing out “against God,” call­ing faith an abdi­ca­tion of indi­vid­ual respon­si­bil­i­ty (so impor­tant to her phi­los­o­phy), an insult to the human intel­lect, and a sign of psy­cho­log­i­cal weak­ness. If she were alive today, Rand would eas­i­ly give the “new athe­ists” (Richard Dawkins, Christo­pher Hitchens, Daniel Den­nett, etc.) a very good run for their mon­ey. It’s not exact­ly the stuff that tra­di­tion­al­ly makes you a con­ser­v­a­tive saint, but stranger things have hap­pened. Maybe.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Athe­ism: A Rough His­to­ry of Dis­be­lief, with Jonathan Miller

Neil deGrasse Tyson Explains Why He’s Uncom­fort­able Being Labeled an ‘Athe­ist’

Athe­ist Ira Glass Believes Chris­tians Get the Short End of the Media Stick

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David Sedaris and Ian Falconer Introduce “Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk”

David Sedaris’ new col­lec­tion of com­ic sto­ries, Squir­rel Seeks Chip­munk: A Mod­est Bes­tiary, was recent­ly released with an accom­pa­ny­ing video that fea­tures the voice of Sedaris and the art­work of Ian Fal­con­er.

If you’re not famil­iar with him, Fal­con­er has drawn over 30 cov­ers for The New York­er (see exam­ple here), while also cre­at­ing the amaz­ing Olivia the Pig series for chil­dren. (Be sure to watch this Olivia Goes to Venice clip for a quick primer.) If this video whets your appetite, then let me direct your atten­tion to Sedaris read­ing the actu­al sto­ry “The Squir­rel and the Chip­munk.” It orig­i­nal­ly aired on This Amer­i­can Life.

Or, as reg­u­lar read­ers know, you can snag a free audio copy of Squir­rel Seeks Chip­munk – Sedaris does some of the nar­ra­tion! – if you reg­is­ter for a 14-day free tri­al of Audible.com. Once the tri­al is over, you can con­tin­ue your Audi­ble sub­scrip­tion (as I did), or can­cel it, and still keep the free book. The choice is entire­ly yours.

Frankenstein Hits the Silver Screen (1910)

100 years ago, J. Sear­le Daw­ley wrote and direct­ed Franken­stein. It took him three days to shoot the short, 12-minute film (when most films were actu­al­ly shot in just one day). It marked the first time that Mary Shel­ley’s lit­er­ary cre­ation was adapt­ed to film. And, some­what notably, Thomas Edi­son had a hand (albeit it an indi­rect one) in mak­ing the film. The first Franken­stein was shot at Edi­son Stu­dios, the pro­duc­tion com­pa­ny owned by the famous inven­tor.

You can down­load the movie at the Inter­net Archive, or find it per­ma­nent­ly list­ed in our col­lec­tion of Free Movies Online. (Also, you can find Mary Shel­ley’s nov­el  in our col­lec­tion of Free Audio Books.) To get more infor­ma­tion on Daw­ley’s short film, please vis­it The Franken­stein blog.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

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MoMA Puts Pollock, Rothko & de Kooning on Your iPad

Through next April, you can vis­it “Abstract Expres­sion­ist New York,” – an exhib­it at the Muse­um of Mod­ern Art (NYC) that looks back at the work of Jack­son Pol­lock, Mark Rothko, David Smith, Willem de Koon­ing and many oth­ers. If you can’t make the trip, then you can do the next best thing. Fire up your iPad, down­load the free app cre­at­ed by MoMA, and start watch­ing a slideshow of 60 paint­ings cur­rent­ly on dis­play in “AB EX NY.” All images are pre­sent­ed in high res­o­lu­tion, and the app also fea­tures 20 videos cre­at­ed by the cura­tors, each of which con­cen­trates on indi­vid­ual painters and their tech­niques. And did I men­tion that the app is free? (via Arts Beat)

Relat­ed Con­tent:

David Hockney’s iPad Art Goes on Dis­play

Vis­it 890 UNESCO World Her­itage Sites with Free iPhone/iPad App

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The Physics Behind “Unstoppable”

Can they stop the train loaded with haz­ardous chem­i­cals before this “mis­sile the size of the Chrysler Build­ing” hits a pop­u­lat­ed area and “vapor­izes every­thing in front of it?” That’s the big ques­tion that dri­ves along the plot of the new Den­zel Wash­ing­ton thriller, Unstop­pable. If you don’t believe me, just watch the trail­er above. Now we get all aca­d­e­m­ic on you and ask: Is that train real­ly as pow­er­ful as a sky­scraper-sized mis­sile? And then we turn to Emory physics pro­fes­sor Sid­ney Perkowitz for the answer:

Perkowitz is a good per­son to size things up. He’s not just any physics pro­fes­sor. This physics prof wrote the book Hol­ly­wood Sci­ence: Movies, Sci­ence and the End of the World and he sits on the advi­so­ry board of the Sci­ence and Enter­tain­ment Exchange, a Nation­al Acad­e­my of Sci­ences pro­gram that tries to bring more sci­en­tif­ic accu­ra­cy to mass mar­ket enter­tain­ment. Thanks Stephen for the good tip here …

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Europe: 10 Centuries in 5 Minutes

Here you have it. Europe, evolv­ing from medieval times until today. We start cir­ca 1000 A.D with the Holy Roman Empire and Moor­ish Span­ish (oth­er­wise known as Al-Andalus). Then comes the frac­tur­ing of medieval king­doms and the rise of the Ottoman Empire off in the East, until every­thing starts to uni­fy again. And, at long last, the map we all rec­og­nize today.

Note: The maps used in this video come from the Cen­ten­nia His­tor­i­cal Atlas, which has been required read­ing for all begin­ning stu­dents at the US Naval Acad­e­my for the past decade.

via The Map Room

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Evidence, Godfrey Reggio’s Short Film on What TV Does to Kids’ Brains

Between 1982 and 2002, direc­tor God­frey Reg­gio shot his well known Qat­si tril­o­gy — Koy­aanisqat­si, Powaqqat­si, and Naqoyqat­si. Some­where between the 2nd and 3rd install­ment, Reg­gio took a lit­tle detour and direct­ed a short eight minute film called Evi­dence. The main char­ac­ters? Kids watch­ing car­toons (Dum­bo, actu­al­ly) and look­ing “drugged,” “like the patients of a men­tal hos­pi­tal,” he writes on his web site.

The vil­lain? “Tele­vi­sion tech­nol­o­gy,” which “is eat­ing the sub­jects who sit before its gaze.” The weapon? Tele­vi­sion again. That “radi­a­tion gun aimed at the view­er” “holds its sub­jects in total con­trol.” A lit­tle house of hor­rors, to be sure. We have added Koy­aanisqat­si (fea­tur­ing the music of Philip Glass) and Evi­dence to our col­lec­tion of Free Movies Online.

via @katciz, the direc­tor of the new inter­ac­tive film Out My Win­dow.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

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Rimbaud: A Life in Slideshow

It’s the life of the great French poet, Arthur Rim­baud, in a 10 minute slideshow. The video traces the arc of Rim­baud’s short life (1854–1891), stitch­ing togeth­er images from 19th cen­tu­ry France, pho­tos tak­en by Rim­baud him­self, and man­u­scripts scrib­bled by the poet. In the back­ground, Joan Baez reads lines from Rim­baud’s famous col­lec­tion, Illu­mi­na­tions, which appears in the Poet­ry sec­tion of our Free Audio Books col­lec­tion. Project Guten­berg also makes his com­plete works avail­able in French. Down­load the free e‑text right here.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.