Just got back from TOC’s Summer Seminar at Chapman University. I had a wonderful week and the seminar was excellent. The program was top-notch this year, with not a single presentation (save one) that I was disappointed in. I reconnected with old friends and made several new ones.
The big event of this year’s program was of course the ‘meet n’ greet’ with Howard and Karen Baldwin. The Baldwin’s are the principals of the Baldwin Entertainment Group (of Ray fame) which is producing the Atlas Shrugged movie. For more than an hour, the Baldwin’s graciously fielded questions from the crowd which was eager to give its suggestions (both positive and negative). I was very impressed with the Baldwins, in particular Karen Baldwin. They appear to be fully committed to making this movie--and more importantly making it right.
Now that they have signed with Lionsgate for distribution and production, the next step is to hire a director and then start to do casting. They said they are talking to directors, Vadim Perelman (House of Sand and Fog) as the one name I can remember. I have heard mostly good things about House of Sand and Fog, but I’ve never seen it. They also appear very close to casting Angelina Jolie for Dagny--they apparently have had many conversations with her about it. I know many would not be happy with this choice--but Jolie can pull it off and she’ll drive audiences to the theaters world wide.
One last tidbit about the Atlas movie: they are planning a trilogy, with the first part to beginning filming in the Spring.
The two best talks I attended: Tim Sandefur’s Eminent Domain Abuse: Its Philosophical Roots; and Susan Wake’s Overcoming Ethical Relativism in the College Classroom.
I didn’t attend Barbara Branden’s Rage and Objectivism; but I heard nothing but good things about it. Another talk I didn’t attend but which was very well received was Bidinotto’s The Anatomy of Cooperation. I’ve ordered both audios, so I hope to find out what I missed.
The one disappointing session was the joint interview of the Brandens by Duncan Scott. I wasn’t sure of the point of the session prior to going, and I am still not. The questions were for the most part uninteresting and basically softballs; there was nothing said that hadn’t already been said a hundred times before. As a philosopher, I will be glad when Objectivism can be discussed and studied without having to deal with irrelevancies from 40 years ago. Let’s get down to the business of understanding philosophy and making our lives happier and more prosperous.
All in all, a great conference and a great week.