Ayn Rand’s The Breakfast Club

bclub1Brian (VO)

Saturday, March 24, 1984. Shermer High School, Shermer, Illinois. 60062.

Dear Mr. Vernon…We (the six I’s; the I and I and I and I and I and I that cannot be subsumed into your swirling, vacuous We) accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was that we did wrong, what we did was wrong, that the defiant act of the Ego threatened you, that individualism triumphed over the slow stagnation of collectivism. But we think you’re crazy to make us write this essay telling you who we think we are — by which, of course, you mean to make us define that which is Not Ourselves, which is in itself a betrayal of your own miserable philosophy. You see us as you want to see us, in the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. You see us as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal. Correct? That’s the way we saw each other at seven o’clock this morning. We were brainwashed…

***

bclub4Vernon pulls the chair out from under Bender’s feet.

BENDER [muttering]
The spread of evil is the symptom of a vacuum. whenever evil wins, it is only by default: by the moral failure of those who evade the fact that there can be no compromise on basic principles.

VERNON
What was that, mister?

BENDER
Nothing.

VERNON
All right people, we’re gonna try something a little different today. We are going to write an essay–of no less than a thousand words–describing to me who you think you are. And I’m going to estimate its value on the open market, and I warn you, I will not take existing market regulations into account.

BENDER
Is this a test?

VERNON
Wealth is the product of man’s capacity to think. Everything is a test.

Vernon passes out paper and pencils.

VERNON
And when I say essay…I mean essay. I do not mean a single word repeated a thousand times. Is that clear Mr. Bender?

Bender looks up.

BENDER
The Argument from Intimidation is a confession of intellectual impotence.

VERNON
What was thatI?

BENDER
Nothing.

VERNON
Good. Maybe you’ll learn a little something about yourself. Maybe you’ll even–decide whether or not you care to return.

***

VERNON
I expected a little more from a varsity letterman!…You’re not fooling anybody, Bender! The next screw that falls out is gonna be you!

Vernon turns to leave.

BENDER [under his breath]
Eat my shorts…

Vernon spins in his tracks and faces Bender again.

VERNON
What was that?

BENDER [loudly]
Eat my shorts!

VERNON
You just bought yourself another Saturday, mister!

BENDER
Oh, Christ…

VERNON
You just bought one more right there!

BENDER
Well, I’m free the Saturday after that…beyond that, I’m gonna have to check my calendar!

VERNON
Good! ‘Cause it’s gonna be filled, we’ll keep going! You want another one? Say the word, just say the word! Instead of going to prison, you’ll come here! Are you through?

BENDER
No!

VERNON
I’m doing society a favor!

BENDER
In prison, the prisoners have adapted to being in the prison to the point where there is no need for guards or locks, the prisoners no longer know of anything else, therefore escaping the prison would be more dangerous to stay there.

VERNON
What was that?

BENDER
You heard me.

***

bclub2BENDER
Well, some I consider my girlfriends and some…I just consider…

CLAIRE
Consider what?

BENDER
Whether or not, I wanna hang out with them…

CLAIRE
You don’t believe in just one guy, one girl?

BENDER
Do you?

CLAIRE
Yeah…that’s the way it should be.

BENDER
Well, not for me…

CLAIRE
Why not?

Bender clearly doesn’t want to answer that. He acts defensive.

BENDER
How come you got so much shit in your purse?

CLAIRE
How come you got so many girlfriends?

BENDER
I asked you first.

CLAIRE
I dunno…I guess I never throw anything away.

BENDER
You know what you are actually in love with? Integrity. The impossible. The clean, consistent, reasonable, self-faithful, the all-of-one-style, like a work of art.

***

BENDER
Face it, you’re a tease.

CLAIRE
I’m not a tease!

BENDER
Sure you are! You said it yourself, sex is a weapon, you use it to get respect!

CLAIRE
A man’s sexual choice is the result and the sum of his fundamental convictions…. He will always be attracted to the woman who reflects his deepest vision of himself, the woman whose surrender permits him to experience a sense of self-esteem. The man who is proudly certain of his own value, will want the highest type of woman he can find, the woman he admires, the strongest, the hardest to conquer–because only the possession of a heroine will give him the sense of an achievement.

BRIAN 
She’s got a point.

***

ALLISON
There is a level of cowardice lower than that of the conformist: the fashionable non-conformist.

***

bclub3ANDREW [Carrying Claire under his arm]
I have taken the fittest female for myself, as is my right as a prime mover.

BENDER [Slinging Allison over his shoulder]
I have also claimed my woman.

BRIAN
There is no remaining woman for me. I will turn my attention to the world of business, and become a captain of industry.

ANDREW and BENDER [In chorus]
You are 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. We salute you. When you build your first skyscraper, look us up and we will offer our willing and grateful women to you.

CLAIRE [Muffled]
I own a railroad and I long to be mastered by a man greater than myself.

BRIAN (VO)
What we found out is that each of us is a brain, and an athlete, and a basket case, a princess and a criminal, and that we must all exist for our own sake, neither sacrificing ourselves to others nor sacrificing others to ourselves; that morality is based on the needs of man’s survival qua man. Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club Individuals.

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