Thursday, September 20, 2012

The newspapering-the-city business

L to R:  Dominique, Managing Editor Alvah; Elsworth, a critic.
From The Fountainhead, novel and screenplay by Paul Ryan’s favorite author, Ayn Rand.  Reminds me of the newspapering business in our town ... and their current caper. Sort of. And sort of it doesn't.

Scene:  Office of the managing editor at the Banner, the most powerful newspaper in all of Gotham. Busy activity in the cityroom is seen outside the office.

Alvah Scarret [managing editor]:  I don’t kinow what to do.  I give up. I’ve gone the limit.  I’m at my wit’s end.

Elsworth Toomey [Architecture critic]: That’s not going very far, Alvah.

Alvah: It’s all right for you to make cracks, but I’m in trouble. We need some excitement to boost circulation.  I’ve got to invent a crusade and I don’t know what on earth to crusade about.

Elsworth: Should we start a campaign about streetcar monopolies?

Alvah:  We did that two years ago. Then we had a crusade about canned vegetables. And a crusade against Wall Street.  Now, what else is there to be against?  Dominique, you’re such a smart woman –

Dominique Francon: Sorry, Alvah, I’m not good at that kind of thing.

Alvah:  Gail Wynant [the Publisher] expects results!  The Banner has got to be active! I’ve wracked my brain and I can’t think of anything to denounce.

Elsworth:  I can.

Alvah:  What?

Elsworth:  This.

       [Elsworth walks over and slaps a magazine on Alvah’s desk.]

Alvah:  Oh, who cares about a building?

       [We see on the cover the picture of a modern skyscraper!  “The Enright House”  Luxury Apartment Building.  Howard Roark, Architect.]

Elsworth: My dear editor. It depends upon how you handle it. That building is an outrage against art and a threat to public safety. It might collapse at any moment. Nobody’s ever used that structural method before.

Alvah:  Yeah?

Elsworth:  The owner of it is Roger Enright, one of those self-made men. Stuborn and rich as blazes.  It’s always safe to denounce the rich. Everyone will help you.  The rich first.

Alvah:  Yeah!

[Dominique looks up from the magazine cover, all dreamy eyed.]

Dominique:  Howard Roark?  Who is he?

Elsworth:  I wouldn’t know.  [Quick change of subject, turns to Alvah.] Think what you could do with it!  A super-luxury apartment house going up and there’s all those poor people who have to live in the slums.

Alvah:  Say.  We could have some Sunday-supplement stories about beautiful girls who are victims of the slums!

Elsworth:  With pictures in three-color process.

Alvah:  You’ve got something there, Elsworth.    [Alvah slaps Elsworth collegially on the shoulder.] You’ve got it!   It’s a wonderful idea.  I know Wynant will OK it.

[Dominique and Elsworth talk after leaving Alvah’s office.]

Dominique and Elsworth have a little chat.
Dominique:  You know that this Enright House is a great building.

Elsworth:   Perhaps one of the greatest.

Dominique: Elsworth, what are you after?

Elsworth:  I dare say nobody knows what I’m after. They will though! When the time comes!

[A few chords of sinister-sounding music is heard.]


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