From time to time I receive nasty emails from people who disagree with the things I say in my blog posts. When I say nasty, I mean really nasty, with not a single shred of respect. They insult me, call me all sorts of names, and tell me how terrible a person I am. Some of you may notice that I never talk about it, and I don’t make posts like, “Reading my hate mail” or “Analyzing hate mail”. Truth is, when I receive hateful criticism that doesn’t offer any sort of argument, and I’m unable to glean any new insight from it, I simply delete it and never think of them again.
I really enjoyed Ayn Rand’s movie The Fountainhead. Personality wise, I have a lot in common with Howard Roark, the main character. He’s an architect with a passion for building beautiful skyscrapers. Another man, Ellseworth Toohey, runs a column in a popular magazine on architecture and acknowledges Roark’s excellence but is afraid of it. Toohey does everything he can to stop Roark because he knows that he will take business from his buddies. Therefore he uses his column to attack Roark’s buildings, stirring up public controversy.
They end up meeting one day on the streets, with Toohey waiting for Roark at a building site. Roark should have gotten the deal but didn’t due to insider corruption, in large part due to Toohey’s influence. You should take note how Roark handles it.
You may easily misunderstand this scene, thinking Roark hates Toohey. He doesn’t at all. In fact, later in the movie, the owner of that very newspaper hires Roark to build several skyscrapers for him. When they meet in his office, Gail Wynand, the CEO, asks him how he could work for a newspaper which had spent so much time running him down. Roark just makes a joke out of it, actually finds the good in Wynand, compliments him on it, and goes on to design them spectacular office buildings. That’s how men and women of integrity deal with hate.