Saturday, December 20, 2014

Francisco's Money Speech (Yawn)

The brilliant philosopher Ayn Rand was NOT a brilliant dramatist, often using set-up scenes to elaborate on her perfect philosophy of Objectivism -- to the detriment of flow and drama.

Romantic literature should move mellifluously, quickly, graphically, realistically, stylistically -- not have endless descriptions (Hugo and Faulkner) endless explanations (Dostoevsky) or endless speeches (Rand).

Concocted speeches may be somewhat interesting the first time you read a novel, but the rational reader will simply skip such speeches (if not the first time they read the novel, at least upon second reading) because it is simply preaching to the choir. We don't need to be told the meaning of money because we already know it, and the speech interferes with a fictional, experiential movement of character development, drama and suspense.

The Francisco D'Anconia "money speech" (brilliant for a book on capitalism) is just one example (the 70-page Galt "radio speech" being the worst example in literature of didactic drama-death).

With that said, here's one example of how the money speech could've gone down to add drama and flow -- and still get the point across:

(Man on stairs at party monologuing loudly on how money is allegedly the root of all evil. He is surrounded by fawners. Francisco and scores of others are on the floor below.)

(As man says the phrase "money is the root of all evil" ...)

Francisco (loudly with hilarity): Ha!

(Everyone looks at Francisco smiling and now sipping his martini)

Man (snidely): Did you have something you wanted to say?

F (acting a bit surprised): Well, yes, I suppose so. YOU, sir, are the root of all evil.

M (laughing and looking at those nearby): I am the root of all evil?! Ha! And how is that, pray tell?! (friends near him self-consciously laughing with him).

F (looking around the room with a slight smirk): How many of you burn your paychecks when you get them?

(Everybody shaking heads and laughing at the rhetorical question. Room is abuzz. Even some men and women on the stairs are smiling. Francisco waits for the room to quiet down as he sips his martini with a smile again.)

F: That paycheck. ... YOUR paycheck, my friends ... represents YOUR hard work? The company you work for traded THEIR money for YOUR hard work. That money is your life-sweat, your pride in your ability and productivity. You can now pridefully take that hard-earned money and go buy products produced by other prideful, hard-working people ... to help you and your loved ones live well. ... And this idiot (Francisco nods his head toward the Man without looking at him) tells you that that is evil. (Man's face turns serious and a shade of red)

M (eyes glaring, almost stuttering): I'm not ...

F: Look at him, folks. Look how he lurches at me. (men nearby hold man in place to keep him from running down the stairs)

M: NOBODY talks to me that way! I'll ...

F (looking around and nodding in the man's direction again): THAT ... is evil! Any man who says that our hard work, the thing we should be most proud of in our lives, is the root of all evil. ... His mind-hating irrationality is the root of all evil. ... There's some irony for ya, huh?"

(Man breaks free and catapults down the stairs toward Francisco, who calmly turns to the beautiful lady to his right)

F: Would you please hold this (martini) for a moment, love?

(lady, caught in whirlwind of action, absent-mindedly grabs glass and holds it exactly in place)

(Down the stairs, the man charges Francisco at full speed. People near Francisco move away, except for stricken lady, in Statue of Liberty pose.)

M: You son of a bitch capitalist ...!

(As the man nears Francisco, Francisco calmly and quickly takes a step to his left and launches a fist at the man's jaw, halting the man's momentum in mid-stride and sending him to the floor unconscious. Gasps are heard as everyone stares at the bloodied man. Francisco thanks the women to his right, takes the clear glass. He lifts the bubbling martini high, gazes at it longingly and sips again.)

F: Yes, my friends, money is good.

(People smile and laugh and raise their glasses and sip.)