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Volume 94 | Issue 18 | Free in single copy | April 15, 2011

Window on the World festival returns to campus By HEATHER KING Staff Writer

Window on the World (WOW) is scheduled to begin with the “Middle East Now” symposium at 10:10 a.m. today followed by the festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday in the RUC. “You are getting to experience the world by coming to the festival,” WOW coordinator Melissa Creek said, “through the food, through the sound, through the performances. And we also have vendors who come, and they sell cultural items.” Some of the vendors include Full Circle Art, Peruvian Artifacts. Mt. Everest (Nepal), International Dolls, Uganda Beads, and One Market World. There will be several activities to participate in, including music and dance. The dancers will perform for 30 minutes, followed by a 30 minute workshop. Some of the dance workshops include Uzbek, Didgeridoo and Island Fusion. “There are different performers that try to pull in the audience,” Creek said, “and give you an opportunity to participate in that.”

Some of the performers include Four Leaf Peat, Chinese Lions and Trio Vendaval. WOW has something for all ages, according to Creek. “It’s great for families to come to,” Creek said, “because even if you have little ones, the parents are encouraged to do crafts with the children.” Children’s crafts will be offered on the third floor to anyone at no charge. There will be 10 different cultural crafts from which to choose. “Anyone of any age can come and learn about different cultures,” Creek said, “just by walking around and sitting and listening for a few minutes.” Global Education Center in Nashville will be offering a free workshop for teachers in the area. Participants will receive professional development credit. The teacher workshops include “Why Not Make Something Up? A Creativity Workshop,” “West African Drum Traditions from the Great Mali Empire,” “South Indian Culture” and “Dance, and Appalachian Roots: Folk Songs, Ballads, and Singing a Capella.” “Every part of WOW is going to educate you,” Creek said. Food vendors from all over the world will be set up,

including Bosnia, Colombia, Filipino, India Palace, Mexican, Nepal, Saudi Club, and South Indian. “I would encourage people to actually go around and sample all the different foods and not just spend all their money at one booth,” Creek said. Some other groups with food booths are German Club, French Club, Japanese Culture Society and Amigos Spanish Club. Creek suggests attendees to bring $5-$7 for food. “We do encourage all the vendors to have dollar items at least,” Creek said. There will be several activities held on South Patio, including Earth Day, a jazz ensemble, a book sale and cricket. “Earth Day, they’ll have lots of things going on with that to kind of promote and encourage people to take care of the Earth,” Creek said. New to the festival is the TTU Amateur Radio Society. They will have a ham radio set up, so attendees can talk to other people in different parts of the world. The International Business Society and Study Abroad have joined together to offer Skype, through which attendees can communicate with students whom are studying abroad.

Each year flags of the world are displayed atop the RUC. “Most people come to WOW for the food and the entertainment and the children’s crafts,” Creek said. “Those are the top three things people want to see and participate in.” Ada Haynes’ sociology class will have a cultural table set up with visa stamps. Attendees will get a passport they can get stamped for each country they visit. According to Creek, there will be 62 flags hanging on the wall, each representing a country from which Tech has a student.

Prescott acquisition to provide new parking alternatives By BRITTANY RITZMAN Staff Writers

The Tennessee Technological University Foundation is making plans for how to use the newly acquired Prescott Middle School building and surrounding grounds. Among other things, the property will provide 500-700 new parking spaces that will help with commuter parking problems on campus. The TTU Foundation purchased the property in 2008 but allowed it to be used by the Putnam County School System until construction on the new Prescott South school building could be completed and classes could be moved. “We are pleased that the PCSS thought of us as natural partners in continuing education in the community,” Mark Hutchins, executive director of the foundation, said. The Foundation is a private organization that supports University advancement through private donation programs. This means that the Foundation will have final say in what happens with the property, but it is also responsible for footing the bill for renovations and upkeep. For this reason, no funding for the project will come directly from the University. Though the acquisition of this property offers much opportunity for growth, a plan for utilizing the space must

Photo by Christine Seiber

“There are 62 countries represented at Tennessee Tech,” Creek said. “That alone is enough reason why people should come out to get to know their neighbors, to understand and be part of the community.” Creek said that it is important for us to celebrate cultural diversity and for us to understand what other cultures are about. Taj Massood will be offering an art workshop throughout the day for attendees interested in making their own mandalas.

The Mandala Award will be received by Katie Kumar, previous WOW coordinator. “She has faithfully served as a WOW coordinator for the past 11 years,” Creek said. “She has promoted cultural harmony and understanding through her many acts of service.” Creek encourages everyone to attend WOW. THIS STORY CONTINUES ONLINE AT TNTECHORACLE.COM

Black, Williams to speak at commencements By DHIR JOSHI & COURTNEY CLIFFORD Staff Writers

Photo by Daniel Flatt

The western parking lot of Prescott sits across the railroad tracks from the new dorms. first be solidified. To start the process in motion, the Foundation board paid an architect to create a master plan for the property. This plan will tell how to best utilize the space available. Some ideas for space usage include meeting and teaching areas, office space, a banquet space and an area that will most likely house the entire University Advancement division. “The property offers the University great opportunity for growth,” Hutchins said. “Not all universities have the chance to purchase 14 acres

adjacent to campus.” Once the plan is settled, renovations must be made to the property before any University offices or classes will move. While the property does comply with all fire and building codes and has a solid foundation, it will require some cosmetic work. “We would like to see cosmetic upgrades,” Hutchins said, “to make the property representative of the best our campus has to offer.” The renovations project will also include building a lighted walkway across the railroad tracks that will con-

nect the new building to the rest of campus. The Foundation Board will meet at the end of April to discuss the findings of the master plan. The Foundation is also continuously looking to raise donations to go toward the project. Since all the funds for the renovation process will come from private donors, renovations cannot start until the funds for the project have been raised. For more information on the TTU Foundation, go to

Soon, more than 1,000 seniors will say goodbye to Tech. This spring, there will be two separate commencements. Tech’s spring commencements are generally larger than fall commencement. “In the Spring of 2006,” said Debbie Combs, special projects coordinator, “we first exceeded the 1,000 mark for graduates in a semester. Black “Our largest class was Spring 2009, when we graduated 1,211 seniors. At this time, indications are that the Spring 2011 graduating class will be of a similar size to recent spring classes.” Graduating seniors bring an average of about eight guests. Per fire marshall guidelines, which determine how wide aisles must be, how closely chairs can be positioned etc., the Hooper Eblen Center can have 768 graduates seated on the floor Williams and 9,692 guests in the stands and skybox. The speaker for the morning ceremony is Rep. Diane Black. State Rep. Ryan Williams will speak at the 2 p.m. ceremony. The morning ceremony will include undergraduates from the school of interdisciplinary studies, the colleges of agricultural and human sciences, arts and sciences and engineering. The graduate students of each of these colleges will also be included. The afternoon ceremony will include undergraduates and graduates from the colleges of Business and Education. THIS STORY CONTINUES ONLINE AT TNTECHORACLE.COM

IN THIS EDITION INDEX Opinion ...................... 2 Sports ........................ 3 Entertainment ............ 4

- Hutchison to retire after 31 years at Tech

- New SGA officers, senators announced - Relay for Life to kick off Saturday


Dance Team affected by lack of interest, support Page 3





Send letters to the editor to Include your name, e-mail address and limit letters to 300 words. Anonymous letters are not accepted. Deadline for letters is 4 p.m. Tuesday. We reserve the right to edit grammar, length and content.

Page 2 | April 15, 2011

SENIOR GOODBYES Working at The Oracle has been quite the ride: sometimes a blessing and sometimes a burden, but always a learning experience. My propensity to research random facts and to correct people’s grammar has been put to good use the last two years as copy editor. I hope that it was enough and that the paper wasn’t too mistake-ridden during this time, though I know of several instances when errors made it through to print and suspect many more went entirely undetected by myself.

I regret this but feel it was bound to happen. I’m a student correcting the work of other students, and copy editing is but one of many hats I wear. I’ve devoted much time and energy to the paper and wish I’d had more of both to give to each issue. Being limited in these areas, as well as in my knowledge and capabilities, has helped me grow. First, I strive harder to overcome my limitations, so The Oracle and my other work make me proud. Also, I accept that I am a fallible per-

son, just like everyone else. If I tried my best and still made mistakes, the mistakes are just that: mistakes. It’s only important that I try to learn from them. It’s this knowledge and a plethora more that I will take with me from Tech as I continue as a student of life. I hate that the ride has to end, but it certainly was a good one for me. I hope it was, and will continue to be, for the readers as well.

It’s tradition for graduating seniors on staff to write a farewell, but I’m using my final Oracle article as an exercise in persuasion. The Oracle recently advertised job openings, and the response was disappointing. Although the positions have been filled, here are five reasons why you need(ed) to apply:

Oracle staff members are also involved with WTTU and The Eagle, which also offer paid positions. Combine that pay, and you’ll make enough to pay bills and buy food that isn’t laced with high-fructose corn syrup.

4. Professional training

1. All majors are welcome While The Oracle staff is a majority of journalism or public relations students, the paper is looking for a fresh outlook, which someone studying another field can offer. For instance, the new Advertising Manager is a math major, a subject that turned many students (including myself) into journalism majors. 2. A paycheck Sure, the pay won’t help you finance a new car, but look at it this way—many

3. A resume plug If you write for the entertainment, opinion or sports sections, your opinion is published nine times a semester. That’s nine articles in a portfolio to show potential employers. The Managing Editor oversees all facets of The Oracle and coordinates with beat reporters. The Assistant Managing Editor gains Internet journalism experience by maintaining, the copy editor can tell employers that he/she edited all the stories for a weekly newspaper and the advertising staff gains skills that can be carried to other professions, such as marketing.

Tallulah Gilliam Copy Editor

All section editors gain management experience, and everyone becomes comfortable with InDesign, Photoshop or photography. Over the course of the semester, staff members find that The Oracle isn’t as timeconsuming or daunting as it seems. Some editors become able to write articles and design pages in under an hour. There isn’t a fifth reason. I told you numbers weren’t my thing. That being said, I’d like to thank my family for their unrelenting support, my best friend for leaving the porch light on when I had late deadlines, the journalism faculty for maintaining a thriving program, and past/current Oracle staff for sympathy concerning the post-grad job market.

Christine Seiber Managing Editor

How you can help: Join the Green Committee SARAH TOWNSEND Editorial Editor

As this spring semester draws to a close, some campus groups and activities are just gaining momentum. Tech’s Green Committee is working on multiple projects. Last month, the Beehive Design Collective came to the STEM Center and discussed the true cost of coal, and this week I got to sit down with TTU Green Committee leader Josh Donegan (who also chairs for the Green Fee Committee) to talk about the committee’s goals and ongoing projects. Recently, the TTU Green Committee made a deal was with Caney Fork to repair found and donated bicycles to start up our own bike share. Though the bike share

has been in the works for a while, this deal will hopefully result in communal bikes on campus as early as the coming fall semester. If you walk around campus most of the time (like I do) that is really good news. “We will do some work on it (the bike share) over the summer when everyone isn’t so busy,” Donegan said. Though Tech already has a departmental recycling program, a campuswide recycling program was just approved by SGA. This program, also scheduled to launch this fall, will focus on recycling plastic and aluminum as well as paper. Our previous recycling efforts were mostly for paper, which is great, but the new program will be a high step

up. By recycling non-biodegradable (or slower degrading) materials, we will keep a lot more of our campus waste out of landfills. Another exciting event is coming up is the Earth Day celebration on South Patio on Thursday, April 21, since April 22 (Earth Day) falls on Good Friday, and we will be out of classes for the holiday. There will be live music and activities from 11-3 p.m. One reason the Green Committee is holding the event is to raise funds to send some of the committee’s most active members to Washington D.C., for Power Shift, a rally held every year where young activists work on a campaign for green energy and other environmentally friendly pursuits. I encourage you to attend a Green Committee meeting, donate if you can when they hold events or do so tell them your idea for a greener campus. For more information on Power Shift visit www.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR Chartwells’ exercise room: great idea?

Last Friday, while running to get food before all the Chartwells’ food services locations closed at 6:30 p.m., I took the time to read an article the April 8, 2011 issue titled “Cafeteria employees gain exercise area.” It was like Chartwells had read my mind! Just last week while eating undercooked rice and room temperature pizza in the cafeteria, I thought to myself “this food would be great if only the Chartwells’ staff were not so chubby.” I do not know about you, but when I am paying so much for a meal plan,


I do not want my overcooked pasta being served by a fatty. This is why the exercise area for Chartwells’ employees is so great. I am so glad that Chartwells has the student’s needs in mind. It’s not like there is anything like it with in walking distance from the cafeteria. Maybe if this catches on SGA and Chartwells could get together and build a larger one for all students and staff. Maybe they could even place it near the Hoop. In all seriousness though, Chartwells’ might want to rethink their publicity strategy. Announcing that they have spent money on an exercise area for Chartwells’ employees only

Fall 2011 staff



at the same time an article on how they do not have enough money to provide more/better dinning options (“Meal plan differences exist between Peay and Tech”) is like saying: “We can not give you what you want because we need more money. Oh by the way we just installed a staff only money slide.” We already have to deal with freshman being required to have a meal plan, their inconvenient hours and their subpar food. If Chartwells wants any more increases in funding, they need to show that they are going to be fiscally responsible first.

Michael Beck mwbeck21@

Will Housley Managing Editor Nicholas Rollins Asst. Managing Editor Bridgette Buchanan Ad Manager Dakota Weatherford Asst. Ad Manager Sarah DeRossett Asst. Ad Manager Cassie Tesauro Editorial Editor Jonathan Frank Asst. Editorial Editor Ross Harvey Sports Editor Andy Rutherford Asst. Sports Editor Chuck Acheson Entertainment Editor Brittany Ritzman Copy Editor


Weekly. Student operated. | P.O. Box 5072 Tennessee Tech University, Cookeville, TN 38505


SARAH TOWNSEND Editorial Editor

WILL HOUSLEY Asst. Managing Editor

CASSIE TESAURO Asst. Editorial Editor




ROSS HARVEY Asst. Sports Editor


CHUCK ACHESON Entertainment Editor

Tennessee Technological University--nondiscriminatory on the basis of sex in its educational programs and activities including employment and admission of students to the University as required by Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 and regulations based therein and published in CFR, part 86. Tennessee Technological University is an Equal Opportunity Affirmative Action Employer.

BRENDA WILSON, Faculty Adviser BEAT REPORTERS: Brittany Anderson, Jillian Boreing, Brendan Bowers, Brandi

Campbell, China Chafin, Courtney Clifford, Olivia Clinard, Jackson Cresswell, Sarah DeRossett, Zachary Edwards, Julie Graham, Candice Goodman, Candice Griggs, Emily Haile, Elizabeth Harper, Justin Hill, Heather King, Shelby McDonald, Amanda Miller, Logan Nickleson, Justin O’Dell, Alek Peterson, Brittany Ritzman, Andy Rutherford, Will Sheckler, Logan Shrum, Ashley Smith, Niklas Trzaskowski, Katherine Vaughn, Suzanne Vaughn, Aaron Vick, Jacob Walker, Lindsey Wallace, Emily Weinzetl, Gerri Anna Wilson, Casey Woodard, Camille Woods

SPORTS Page 3 | April 15, 2011

Dance team affected by Tech baseball finding winning ways lack of campus support as postseason approaches By EMILY HAILE & KATIE VAUGHN Staff Writers

Lack of support is hindering one of Tech’s biggest supporters. The Golden Girls dance team participated in the National Dance Alliance’s Collegiate Nationals in Daytona over the weekend. While there, the team realized just how much of a disadvantage they have compared to colleges that get more support not only in attendance, but financially as well. “I just think that we support football and basketball whole-heartedly,” said McKenzie Simon, three-year member, “but we don’t get support in return.” “Tech does offer a great deal of money toward Athletics,” said Casey Owens, twoyear member. “However, they neglect the dance team, which takes just as much effort, if not more, than the other sports. The dance team brings spirit to the school and gets hardly anything in return.” The Golden Girls competed with two different dance routines in two different categories at NDA’s nationals. In the first category, Open Division 1, the team competed against 13 other Division 1 schools. The second category, Hip Hop 1, put the team against 15 Division 1 and 1A schools. Nearly all of the schools Tech was against have dance as a major or minor and have support for that school’s dance program. Most of the schools also offer scholarships to their dance teams. Sam Houston State University’s dance team was the winner of the Open Division 1 category. The team is completely supported by the university. According to SHSU’s website, “The team is supported both financially and


Just because dance isn’t as focused on as other sports doesn’t mean we shouldn’t get the same scholarships or support. Ashlee Maynord Tech Golden Girl

administratively by the university, which makes participation with the squad very affordable. The university, through student service fees, pays for a number of expenses that the typical high school and/or junior college may not be able to afford. For example: all uniforms, poms, duffel bags, summer camp expenses, choreography fees, and travel expenses are paid for by the university. Dancers pay for their own summer camp outfits and shoes, which average about $175.” Each member of Tech’s dance team has to buy his or her own shoes, competition costumes, practice clothes, bags, and the cost of travel to and from competitions. This year, each member had to pay more than $350 out of pocket. The team does not have a studio in which to practice. Instead, they rely on using the gyms in the Fitness Center. The lack of mirrors and a dance floor hinders the team. The team does not receive any scholarships, so members are more likely to quit throughout the season. For the 2011-12 school year, 22 people were chosen, but only 14 members made it to the competition. Co-captain Amanda Dunham said, “Most people don’t realize we work hard year-round. We spend time, energy and money supporting other TTU Athletics programs during football and basketball seasons. “On top of that, we have our own competition season. We put in three practices per day and travel to compete

against schools in the SEC, ACC, and the Big East. We love all the different things the team experiences but would like to be treated and funded as the athletes we are.” “We don’t get anything at all,” said Senior member Leah McCaleb. “We should at least get our uniforms paid for.” The team relies on fundraising throughout the year, but fundraisers alone don’t cover everything. The team collected enough money this year for some new uniforms. After the uniforms were bought, there was not enough money left over to buy anything else. The team only has enough money to pay for a choreographer every other year. The years they can’t hire one, the team relies on each other to come up with routines. “We work just as hard as any other athlete,” sophomore Ashlee Maynord said. “Just because dance isn’t as focused on as other sports doesn’t mean we shouldn’t get the same scholarships or support.” Heather Howard, twoyear member said, “It’s definitely discouraging to not have administrative or monetary support from the school and student body really makes you look at the situation.” Sophomore Preston Weaver said, “Getting nothing at all after all our hard work is a really low blow to us.”

The Tech baseball team is hitting its stride with a little over a month left in the regular season. They have won four of their last six, including a season best four-game win streak that started with beating Lipscomb and Alabama A&M on the road last week “We have a good club,” head coach Matt Bragga said of his team. “We keep playing hard, and we’re improving with every game. “We had a very good week and we hope to continue that success.” Tech added the last two wins of the streak by taking both halves of a doubleheader on Saturday from Southeast Missouri State, 9-5 and 5-4, at the Averitt Express Baseball

Complex before falling 13-8 on Sunday in the last game of the series. “On Saturday,” Bragga said, “we had good, solid pitching and defense. Those will always give you a chance to win. “We also had some timely hits, and that led to the victories. “Sunday, we played hard; we just made some costly mistakes.” Tech traveled to Murfreesboro Wednesday evening to take on the Middle Tennessee State University Blue Raiders for a midweek game. The Golden Eagles found themselves down two going into the ninth. Chad Oberacker drove in Michael Morris on an RBI single to cut it to one, but that was all they could get as they lost a heartbreaker 6-5 that dropped their record to

13-18 This weekend, the team will travel to Charleston, Ill., to take on the Panthers of Eastern Illinois (11-19, 5-3) in a three-game conference series. “All games are important,” Bragga said. “The key for us is to continue to improve to get to where we need to be. “We need to make good plays consistently. If we can do that, I think it gives us a great chance of winning any game. “I believe we will get better and have some success.” The Golden Eagles return home at 6 p.m. Tuesday to host the Belmont Bruins (1717, 6-9). For more information on scores and upcoming games, visit

Western Conference Quarterfinals Nashville Predators (1-0) vs. Anaheim Ducks (0-1) Logo courtesy of the NHL


at 9:30 p.m. today


Fill in your 2011 NHL Playoff Bracket
















THE EAGLE Tech’s student-run yearbook will be distributed during graduation practice. Follow for up-to-the-minute information.


Last edition of the semester Don’t worry. We’ll return September 16 in print and online.

O 931-372-3031 Please recycle your copy of The Oracle.

ENTERTAINMENT Page 4 | April 15, 2011

The Non-Commissioned Officers’ ‘Money Looking for Thieves’ ‘Atlas Shrugged’ By KASSI THOMAS Special to The Oracle

The same year that hoards of teenage girls were packing theatres across the country to see a vampire love story, Tennessee filmmaking collective the Deagol Brothers were premiering their own independent film featuring zombie romance. Luckily, Hendersonville High School “bros” Andy Duensing and Christopher Doyle didn’t follow the obviously underthought, cheesy route of hiring Murfreesboro zombie-themed rockabilly band Zombie Bazooka Patrol to score the film. Rather, they commissioned a legitimately biological set of brothers from Nashville, Eric and Jordan Lehning, to compose and perform music for the film un-

der the name the Non-Commissioned Officers. “Make Out With Violence” (2008) won awards at film festivals throughout the southeast, including Best Soundtrack at the Nashville Film Festival. I don’t know that the work of the Non-Commissioned Officers was initially intended to live beyond writing songs for a movie about the undead, but as the NonComs played live shows in Nashville over the next few years, the undeniable power of their dance-pop took hold. Eric Lehning, the band’s spastic front man, always seems to resemble a used car salesman from the 1970’s in his traditional performance get-up of oversized rose colored shades and an ill-fitting suit. His determined delivery, combined with the hypnotic keys and driving energy of the six-piece as a whole, earned the Non-Coms a dedicated

local following. Nearly two years from the day the “Make Out With Violence” soundtrack dropped at SXSW 2009, an evolved line-up of the Non-Commissioned Officers, released “Money Looking for Thieves” on March 11 of this year. This record Courtesy of Non-Commissioned Officers isn’t a soundtrack, but it may lead you to believe that your life is a Bucks,” is literally affirmation in the value of thrifty John Hughes film. The nine-song LP harkens social gatherings. From start to finback to the 80’s, expounds upon the ensemble’s trade- ish, “Money Looking for mark Eno-esque composition, Thieves” only spans 30 minand features some brilliant, utes, but as quality trumps sentimental lyrics. While the quantity for this Nashville you’ll be entirety of the album exudes powerhouse, dance-ability, “Rich Stuff” thanking the resurrected, and “Love Will Conquer All” undead savior of indie rock surfaced as my favorites. for allowing you to play The final track, “Party for 40 through these beats twice

By MATT KNIELING | When not searching for hidden meanings in “Garfield” comics, Matt Knieling writes and draws funny pictures for The Oracle. Find more of his comics at or on Facebook at

Engagement Rings•GIA Certified Diamonds Gold & Silver Jewelry•Custom Design Citizen Watches Jewelry & Watch Repair

Crabtree & Crace Jewelers Paying Top Dollar Diamonds•Gold•Silver Watches•Coins

470 Neal Street | Cookeville, TN 931.525.7325


TTU’s International Festival 2011 A Center Stage Event Sponsored by the College of Business

Multi-Purpose Room Stage

Tech Pride Room Stage


Uzbek & Eastern 10:00 Mix


Mandala Award 10:30

Flamenco Guitar


Middle Eastern 11:15 Dances

Ugandan Music


Dor L’Dor


Irish Step Dances


Camerata, Renaissance Music


German Accordion Music


Eastern Dances


Trio Vendaval

Greek Dances 1:00

Didgeridoo Crafting & Playing

1:00 Chinese Lion Dance 1:15

near Tech



12 Inch Subs & Large Pepperoni Pizza T-Mart

1205 N. Willow Ave.

(Across From Hooper Eblen Center)


Chinese Cultural Dances


Four Leaf Peat




Indian Dances

4:45 Saudi Arabian Dances

1:30 Scottish Bagpipes, Drum And Dance 2:00

Indian Dance

2:30 Latin American, European, And American Music 3:15

Celtic Music


Island Fusion (Polynesian Dance)

adaptation opens in theaters today By CHRIS DOBROGOSZ Special to The Oracle

In 1957, writer and philosopher Ayn Rand published a book that she considered her magnum opus. Atlas Shrugged is the story of man’s mind and spirit escaping the bondage of a repressive society that demands mediocrity and punishes success. Though the story initially received a wide mix of praise and criticism, it became an almost immediate bestseller. In recent years, it has seen a sharp increase in popularity with more than 300,000 copies sold in 2009 alone. Consequently, there have been multiple attempts at creating a film version over the past several decades, but none have ever made it out of “development limbo” until now. In mid-2010, filmmakers announced that “Atlas Shrugged Part 1” would be hitting theaters the following year. The film is directed by Paul Johansson (who also plays a cameo role as the mysterious John Galt, appearing briefly in silhouette form), and stars Taylor Schilling and Grant Bowler as protagonists Dagny Taggart and Hank Rearden. While this certainly seems to be a downgrade from past rumors of Angelina Jolie and Russell Crowe playing the parts, it hasn’t stopped longtime fans of the book and its message from eagerly anticipating the film’s release today (purposefully set on what is traditionally tax day). As someone deeply interested in politics and philosophy, I took it upon myself to read Atlas Shrugged in its entirety this past summer, and although it took nearly all summer to finish (as it is nearly 1,100 pages long), I came to understand the book’s popularity. It was easily the most challenging and powerful story I have ever read. I found the plot so intriguing and the characters so strong and relatable that I was naturally ecstatic when I first heard that a movie was in the works. Upon further investigation, however, I began to have my doubts. As is to be expected from any film adaptation, “Atlas Shrugged Part 1” has done some molding with the original storyline, most notably

that it is set in the year 2016, rather than the actual era in which the book was written. One can assume that this is to make the film more relatable to modern times and/or serve as foreshadowing for America’s potential future. The film has also been constructed on a rather conservative budget of about $5 million. Now, I firmly believe that dialogue and story structure determine how good a movie will be, but when a story describes as many stunning visuals as this one does, the possibility of cheap, second-rate animation occurring on a grand scale is embarrassing to think about. The chief concern from most Rand fans seems to be whether the filmmakers have a deep enough understanding of the book’s themes to translate them properly. The first unsettling sign was when director Paul Johansson mispronounced the author’s name, saying “Ann” rather than “Ayn” (pronounced “eye-n”) in an interview with Johansson has expressed that since the film is written as a trilogy, he will only be working on Part 1, which, hopefully, means a better actor will be taking on the active role of Galt in Part 2 (that is, of course, assuming Part 1 generates the kind of popularity needed to make Part 2). Though the opening will initially be limited to select theaters (in Tennessee only in Knoxville, Nashville, Franklin, and Memphis) anyone can go online to and demand it be brought to other towns (Cookeville currently has only 20-some demands, five of which are mine). I could easily go on about why I’m somewhat skeptical of the movie living up to its potential, from the conspicuous absence of key characters, to seemingly inappropriate choices for the characters that are present. Nonetheless, in spite of my characteristic pessimism I feel obligated to recommend this movie to all students interested in the philosophy of Ayn Rand, so long as the phrase “never judge a book by its movie” stays in your mind, and when the film presents its immortal query “Who is John Galt?” remember that the answer is probably not Paul Johansson.

The Oracle - April 15, 2011  

The Oracle - April 15, 2011. Tennessee Tech University's student run newspaper.

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