by B.J. Delas Armas
on 8/21/2004 04:55:00 AM
Print this post
The first paragraph is my review of the movie, and from there on, I use talking points from the movie to generate this entire post.
On a scale of 1-10, it would be a 7.8, despite its lengthiness (2 1/2 hours), it's crappy editing (too much talking and the narrator sounds like the woman who does tells us about the Philip Morris programs to quit smoking), it's utter lack of creativity (again, too much talking done, I could listen to talk radio), it's crappy beginning (if you're expecting a Michael Moore Bowling for Columbine infotainment documentary, you'll definitely fall asleep within the first 30 minutes cause it's a bunch of talking trying to introduce this topic of the corporation). By the way did I mention that they talk a lot ? However, if you get past all those minor irks, you'll see a movie packed with a major dose of content outlining every angle on the societal staple that is the corporation.
The institution that is the corporation is what is running things right now and no one really cares. Ever hear of the saying, with great power, comes great responsibility ? Well, they have the great power down pat, but the responsibility, not so much. If it continues its dominance unchecked by government and law, we are headed for some bad things.
The corporation’s dominance starts in that the corporation establishes itself as a person: it is legally a person and it has a personality that hooks people into buying their products distracting the fact that it is legally a person.
As a person, the corporation is entitled to do whatever the hell it wants without respect to anyone's welfare. For example it can sue, and thus win monetary damages. Remember that it's a group of people, and usually a group of people is more powerful than some white middle-aged middle-class stiff from the suburbs. As a group of people however, it can afford the best lawyers there are, while some unlucky Joe Schmo has nothing to compete with that. Corporation stomps the Joe again ! And in the event that a corporation makes changes in its practices, they do so only when people come together against it, by protesting them, and more importantly, simply not buying anything from them.
But let's remember that the corporation's ills are neglected because they present themselves they inject personality and subsequently invoke a feeling of family into their advertisements, masking the negative aspects of the corporation. . The corporation's personality is derived from the commercials --- Nike = Quick, to the point, Coke = strong, classic. Never mind that people in sweatshops work long and hard for peanuts to string together those needlessly expensive $150 Air Divacs or Coke helped support Nazi Germany, and that once World War II came and the company in Germany couldn't get Coke syrup from the United States, they mixed a few ingredients, called themselves Fanta, and propelled themselves back into business. They focus on what they can do for you, You, YOU !
But as almost every adult human being knows, people have many different sides to them. The movie makes the point that if were going to attach personalities to them besides what they present in their commercials, psychotic would be one of them.
If you were to diagnose it's personality in terms of what it actually does rather than what it seems like it does when it tries to gain your attention, a corporation has a drive for power and profit unrivalled by any human. It's nuckin futs.
Along that drive, it also constantly harms actual individual people, namely usurping their rights. Be it underpaying the workers at the bottom of the "corporate ladder", disrupting environmental ecology to the point where natural resources are getting depleted. Of course there are a lot of corporations that try to be conscious of the individuals around them, but those societal concerns are almost always secondary to power and profit and those concerns are half-assedly addressed.
But what happens to other people is immaterial right ? Just as long as it doesn't affect you !
One of the things the movie failed to address was that point of view that sees corporations as practical.
Most older, wiser Americans probably know about corporations constantly screwing people but ignore them regularly so that they could get their desired service and/or product. They already know that these corporations aren't nice cuddly individuals.
In their mindset, they most likely think: people always get screwed and that it's just a fact of life and/or them simply not buying something won't really do much to damage to the corporation. To them the idea of fighting a corporation, any corporation, seems like yet another abstract fight against ideals that will go in vain as opposed to a concrete fight against actual corporations. And even if you bring up repercussions to these people’s inaction, you’ll most likely get a response that things won’t change all that dramatically in their time.
But you gotta remind them, if you thought government had an agenda, what more with corporations who make no secret of their agenda and thrive on both hypnotizing you into getting their product/service ?
Biotech companies already own species of life. How can you own species of life ? The folks who uncovered the human genome also want to "own" the chemicals that make up the human body. What's more is that they're thinking of owning air space sometime too. Hey they already got bottled water. So look to be charged for breathing sometime in the future. Dominated by a bunch of nuts.
Labels: Consumerism, Media Discourse, Movies, Privatization