The Fountainhead: A Randian Guide to Retirement

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 6After losing their last chance at a big commission, Henry Cameron and Howard Roark both know that the end is in sight. Finally, the day they've been dreading arrives:In February of 1925 Henry Cameron retired from practice.For a year, he had known that the day would come. He had not spoken of it to Roark, but they both knew and went on, expecting nothing save to go on as long as it was still possible. A few commissions had dribbled into their … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: The Buried Past

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 6I've mentioned Ellsworth Toohey, the sinister socialist architecture critic who turns out to be the Big Bad of this novel. Now he's taken the first step in his malevolent plan for world domination, and it's... *dramatic chord* writing a book about architecture.Sermons in Stone by Ellsworth M. Toohey was published in January of the year 1925.It had a fastidious jacket of midnight blue with plain silver letters and a silver pyramid in one corner. It … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: Know Your Customer

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 5As Peter Keating is moving up in the world, Howard Roark's career is circling the drain.In two years, Henry Cameron's firm has lost one commission after another. He's had to lay off one of his few remaining draftsmen; the others, including Roark, aren't getting paid on time. Even keeping the lights on is a burden. Worse, Cameron has begun disappearing from the office to go on benders:Cameron had lost even the shame of his agony, and had come to … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: Good Classic

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 5A year passes, and Peter Keating is moving up in the world. Through clever manipulation of office politics, he's gotten rid of everyone who had seniority on him, leaving his own path clear for promotion.The first to go is Tim Davis, the firm's star draftsman. In the guise of wanting to be helpful, Keating volunteers to do more and more of Davis' work, which Davis welcomes since it gives him the opportunity to slack off. However, it soon becomes obvious … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: A Dream Deferred

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 4Howard Roark has been working at Henry Cameron's office for a month. Cameron often comes out to loom over Roark's shoulder and glare at him, but the two of them have scarcely spoken in all that time. Finally, he calls Roark into his office:The light of the lamp fell on Cameron's cheek, on his beard, the white threads glistening, on his fist, on a corner of the drawing, its black lines bright and hard as if embossed on the paper."You're fired," … [Read more...]

The Cult of the In-Group

Well, it was only a matter of time until someone made this argument:In Matt 25, when Jesus talks about caring for "the least of these," he isn't talking about the poor in general, but fellow Christians.— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) March 17, 2017Matthew 25, the parable of the sheep and the goats, has long been a thorn in the side of the religious right. It's a story that's supposed to take place on judgment day, where Jesus exalts some people and condemns others for how they … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: Roaring Twenties

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 4The 1920s in America were a glamorous, atmospheric decade of excess, social upheaval and cultural ferment. Al Capone and other legendary gangsters shot their way into the public consciousness, whether as lurid villains or Robin Hood-esque antiheroes. F. Scott Fitzgerald immortalized Jazz Age wealth and decadence in novels like The Great Gatsby. Radio and cinema conquered culture as the new organs of mass media. The Harlem Renaissance was at its height, … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: The Art of the Interview

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 3We've seen that Howard Roark's goal is to apprentice with Henry Cameron, a once-renowned modernist architect who lost his business and sank into obscurity when he refused to move with the times. In this chapter, while Peter Keating is reporting for his first day of work at Francon & Heyer, Roark is across town climbing the stairs to Cameron's crumbling slum of an office:Henry Cameron sat at his desk at the end of a long, bare room. He sat bent … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: Market Forces

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 3In last week's post, we met Guy Francon, who was once a famous architect but now spends all his time drinking and gorging himself at fancy dinners. Here's how he made his reputation:The Frink National Bank Building displayed the entire history of Roman art in well-chosen specimens; for a long time it had been considered the best building of the city, because no other structure could boast a single Classical item which it did not possess. It offered so … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: McMansion Hell

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 3Peter Keating shows up for his first day of work at Francon & Heyer, the prestigious New York architectural firm. At first he's impressed by the well-dressed people and the lavish office (its walls decorated with "etchings of Greek temples", naturally - damn those evil Greeks).When he sits down at a drafting table, he fears the plans he's been given to work on are "someone's tremendous achievement which he could neither question nor equal". But he soon … [Read more...]