The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

why Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead is a text book for viral Marketing

July8

I recently wrote about the new Atlas Shrugged movie with some notes related to Ayn Rand’s first novel, The Fountainhead.

it occurred to me that great books are a terrific example of viral marketing. I had a younger fellow that used to work around me whom appeared to genuinely believe that every meaningful piece of technology or process was unique, if not invented, by his particular generation, or those that are following.

NOTE: he has no idea that, at fifty (I’ll be one hundred years old in fifty years), I have invented the cure for stupidity. more on that later.

in any event, great books that are examples of viral marketing include the Bible, and The Fountainhead. my own blog (this blog, in fact) is not terrific, or great, by any measure. it’s not even a book. but,  you can assign it as virally relevant by its growth in readership.

all three evidently touch people in a way that cause them to spread the word, so to speak.

I’ll gamble that most of my readers know what the Bible is and does. so, I’ll add some detail, here to your understanding of The Fountainhead (but, maybe, more so, Rand’s epic Atlas Shrugged). ironically, reading The Fountainhead and the Bible just might help you appreciate both in somewhat unexpected ways.

The Fountainhead manuscript, for example, was rejected by twelve publishers before a young editor, Archibald Ogden, at the Bobbs-Merrill Company apparently risked his job to get it published. despite mixed reviews from the contemporary media, the book gained a following by word of mouth and became a bestseller. the novel was made into a Hollywood film in 1949. Rand wrote the screenplay, and Gary Cooper played Roark. many of you reading this post are probably scratching your heads, and collectively asking:

who the hell is Gary Cooper?

my best answer is he also played the title character in the film of the 1939 film Beau Geste (the 1926 version was pretty good, just not the way Cooper pulled it off). for the record, Beau Geste is a 1924 adventure novel by P. C. Wren.

by the way… never underestimate Ray Milland.

you need to read it (The Fountainhead, and Beau Geste – just so we are clear). do it! and, when you do, guess what? you’ll tell your friends about it. then after reading this blog post you just might start thinking a bit more about the Bible – and, Atlas Shrugged. mind you, be prepared for elements of these books that are directly conflicted one with the other. but, opinions only gather power when both sides are ably considered, eh. it’s feasible you will investigate just why I draw comparisons between such disparate books. that means you just might talk about it at a cocktail party, or at Lake Lanier while you are hosing down the boat.

…see… viral marketing, at it’s best and most natural.

if I ever get to act in a movie, I want it to be a remake of Beau Geste.

by the way… anything that has something to do with the French Foreign Legion has awesomeness all over it.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

anniversaries are milestones

March18

We should always be celebrating something.

I have a lot to be grateful for. Oddly though, when ever I say or write something like that my mind snaps-back to Colorado. Always a filter; a constant reminder; ever, the baring point.

And, perhaps the fountainhead foundation for this post.

I have an anniversary of sorts looming.

I graduated from Radford University in May of 1984. In fact, I’ve been named a “Centennial Ambassador” with Radford’s own one-hundreth year of academic excellence at-hand. All that’s fine and dandy – and, based upon many an adventure tried-and-true. But, the significant event that made much of my college experience valid (relative to today), beyond meeting Dr. Nick Pappas, was me selling a business I ran the last two years of school.

The details are less important than the result. I was able to take care of a family, based upon a solemn pledge, which included putting the sons of another man through college themselves while caring for his widow.

Perhaps the best part, though, was me driving cross country with $300,000  in a simple plain paper bag to give my Grandad (a 6x return on his investment, mind you) back the money he grub-staked me for the business I had turned around and then sold one week after graduation.

Thomas Jefferson and Ayn Rand (The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged), long my inspirations, remain hopefully pleased and content to be represented. A foundation, if you will for my being a Prudent and Optimistic Gentleman.

May will be here before I know it. But the memories earned and lessons learned between those distinct months of May are countless, and marked by milestones of inconceivable and incalculable value.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

Setting the Stage

January24

A core difference between Democrats and Republicans is that Republicans suspect Democrats are closet Socialists (in a general sense).

It occurs to me that Obama’s legacy could be taxes and Welfare.

Extremes.

Consider this article: “Obama’s Tax Plan Is Really a Welfare Plan” by Peter Ferrara.

In addition, I offer you this timely, if not ironic quote (shared with me by Jim Scott):

“You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom.

What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.

The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.

When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation.

You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.” – Dr. Adrian Rogers /1, (1931 – 2005)

A setting of the stage, if you will.

Thomas Jefferson (see my prior posts: The Jeffersonian Model, Being Jeffersonian, Part I, and (the epic /2Being Jeffersonian, Part II ) would likely frown over this because it falls outside the Democratic ideal.

And, Ayn Rand would have railed as she warned us of this in “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged” as they outlined her ideas around Objectivism.

“My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.” – Ayn RandAtlas Shrugged 35th anniversary edition

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

_______________________

1/ Adrian Pierce Rogers (September 121931 – November 152005), was an American pastorconservative, author, and a three-term president of the Southern Baptist Convention (1979-1980 and 1986-1988).

2/ I make no apologies.  Love me, love my passion.

The Moviegoer and me

December3

None of the material in this post is particularly original. However, I need help to make my points below.

Most of you understand that much of my life view was forged by devouring “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged” – both by Ayn Rand.

But, only a few of you know the profound impact Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer” has had on me.

Walker Percy was forty-six years old when his first published novel, “The Moviegoer”, was awarded the National Book Award in 1962. It was, in some sense, the public beginning of the second half of Percy’s life. I am now forty-eight, and really started to feel that I was operating on all eight cylinders when I hit my forty’s.

Percy himself wrote in 1972:

“Life is much stranger than art-and often more geometrical. My life breaks exactly in half: 1st half growing up Southern and medical; 2nd half imposing art on 1st half.”

But what, exactly, did Percy mean when he said this? In some sense, “The Moviegoer” is the beginning of an answer.

Percy was born in 1915 and lived his early life in Birmingham, Alabama. His grandfather committed suicide when Walker was an infant, and his father, too, committed suicide in 1929. Following his father’s suicide, his mother moved Walker and his two brothers to Mississippi. Percy’s family was one of the oldest families in the South, and he and his brothers soon found a father figure in the form of his cousin, William Alexander Percy – known affectionately as Uncle Will. Three years after his father’s suicide, Percy’s life was again marked by tragedy when his mother’s car went off a bridge, killing her and leaving Walker and his brothers in the charge of his Uncle Will.

Cork: So, obviously, as self-absorbed and ego-centric as I am, I understand part of Walker’s evolution. My own earthly father committed suicide after we lost my mother to cancer.

Percy went to medical school at Columbia University, where he contracted tuberculosis during his internship. In and out of sanitariums for several years, he finally returned to the South in his early 30s, getting married in 1946 and settling in the New Orleans area, where he lived the remainder of his life. It was at this time that Percy received an inheritance from his Uncle Will that allowed him to devote himself completely to his long-standing interest in literature and philosophy.

More Cork: So, this is where I really feel Walker Percy.

I (further) relate the biographical details because, as you read “The Moviegoer”, it seems (not surprisingly) heavily marked by Percy’s life experience, the author’s biography being one point of reference for the novel.

Even more Cork: I am therefore I Blog.

“The Moviegoer” is a peculiarly American and belated expression of the existential novel that had been so brilliantly articulated in France by Albert Camus. Like “The Stranger”, Percy’s novel focuses on meaning.  In this case, the obsession of Binx Bolling, the novel’s narrator, on what he calls the “search”. /1

As Bolling says at one point:

“The search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life.”

And exactly what does this mean?

“To become aware of the possibility of the search is to be onto something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair.”

This is certainly an enigmatic definition. But, one which makes the reader who spends time with “The Moviegoer”, who reads the book carefully and reflectively, to think more deeply about his or her own life.

“The Moviegoer” is not a novel dominated by plot.

At a superficial level, the novel relates, in a wry and matter-of-fact way, a few days in the seemingly unremarkable life of Bolling, a New Orleans stockbroker whose main activities are going to the movies and carrying on with each of his successive secretaries.

Muses Bolling:

“Once I thought of going into law or medicine or even pure science. I even dreamed of doing something great. But there is much to be said for giving up such grand ambitions and living the most ordinary life imaginable, a life without the old longings; selling stocks and bonds and mutual funds; quitting work at five o’clock like everyone else; having a girl and perhaps one day settling down and raising a flock of Marcias and Sandras and Lindas of my own.”

What “The Moviegoer” suggests is resonant of Thoreau’s contention that most men lead lives of ‘quiet desperation’.

But it is a desperation that arises not from the ordinariness of everyday lives, but, rather, from the failure to transform that ordinariness through contemplation and self-reflection, through an appreciation for the mundane.

Thus, in the book’s epigraph, Percy actually quotes Kierkegaard:

“The specific character of despair is precisely this: it is unaware of being despair.”

That rascal!

As Percy has suggested in another of his books, “Lost in the Cosmos” (a work of non-fiction subtitled “The Last Self-Help Book”), we inhabit a society of alienated and despairing “non-suicides” who Percy wanted to transform, through his writing, into “ex-suicides”.

In Binx Bolling’s words:

“For some time now the impression has been growing upon me that everyone is dead. It happens when I speak to people. In the middle of the sentence it will come over me: yes, beyond a doubt this is death . . . At times it seems that the conversation is spoken by automatons who have no choice in what they say.”

So, in summary, “The Moviegoer” is a thoughtful and a thought-provoking book that should be read and then re-read, slowly and carefully, for every paragraph is laden with insight into the character of its narrator, the character of its author and, ultimately, the character of ourselves.

Read what I tell you to, or don’t speak to me. and, if you don’t like this, you can always fight me.

Today I shall be listening to

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What’s All This About?

"What am I looking at?", you might wonder.

Lots of stuff.

Meanwhile, here, I discuss events, people and things in our world - and, my (hardly simplistic, albeit inarticulate) views around them.

You'll also learn things about, well, things, like people you need to know about, and information about companies you can't find anywhere else.

So, while I harangue the public in my not so gentle way, you will discover that I am fascinated by all things arcane, curious about those whom appear religious, love music, dabble in politics, loathe the media, value education, still think I am an athlete, and might offer a recipe.

All the while, striving mightily, and daily, to remain a prudent and optimistic gentleman - and, authentic.

brian cork by John Campbell





photos by John Campbell

 

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