Monday, February 27, 2006

Media's Hate Relationship with The Corporation

I've been thinking today about our love/hate relationship with "the corporation," especially in the idea of media images. If we think about going shopping and spending our money we don't mind going to The Gap, running by Target to pick up some Colgate, and while we're there grabbing some Starbucks (why not, it's convinient, and you've worked hard walking all over in your Nike tennis Shoes).

But at the same time, think about film images of the corporation. Movies don't even try to talk about why corporations do bad things, they often allow us to assume that the corporation is simply out for the dollar of hard working consumers.

Here's a SHORT list of movies that assume the corporation is evil that have come out in this past year: Syriana, The Constant Gardner, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, yada, yada...and you're expecting me to just put "art films down," well I'll stop with about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Willy Wonka is out for your cold hard cash, scamming young children with commercial schemes and ploys) or how about the more blatant Fun with Dick and Jane?

There's even strong motivation of avarice multiple times in the movie King Kong. Can anyone venture to think of a movie where the corporation is considered a good thing?

On street corners we claim the importance of capitalism and competition, and at the same time at our dinner tables we also complain about some of the same things. The blog world is filled with protesters trying to take down this or that corporation because of their evil.

Is the corporation inherently evil? And why can't I think a film that supports the corporation?


Richard McElroy said...

I don't know that I can answer you questions, but I do know a reason why the corporation is out for your cold hard cash.

In a capitalist nation if they are a publicly traded company it is against the law for them to not show a profit. While it is possible to show a profit through fair trade, and equality, it's a lot easier to show the profit(and a lot more of it) by just being out for the cold hard cash.

Now that I'm done, I guess I would have to say that Batman Returns is the closest I can think of, of the corporation(at least when the Waynes are running it) being out for the good of the people. Batman Returns is pretty pro-capitalist.

Gary said...

Batman and Doc Savage were the only super-heroes who were millionaire capitalists.

E.E. "Doc" Smith and some Heinlein and Niven had some rich capitalists as good guys in the SF field.

Unknown said...

There were many, many films in the 1980s and before that glorified the idea of succeeding in business, but sometimes mocked how some of the leadership didn't seem to be quite capable of the task of successfully leading. Two that particularly come to mind are How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying (where the window washer finds his way up the corporate ladder through the sheer light-hearted incompetence of the others) and Secret Of My Success (which has the same theme, really: but with sex, without the same light-heartedness when stripped of the Family Ties Michael J. Fox veneer, and now "success" requires that the mailroom boy have both a business degree and a high-placed relative). Neither of these two films questions that it absolutely is a desirable thing that one should attempt succeed upward within a corporate culture: which would seem to fulfill your criteria.

Spoke said...

I try to avoid most of the tripe Hollywood offers, but your point is one to ponder non the less. Here in Canuckville, each viewing costs more than 10 US dollars which allows you to sit through previews , commercials and shorts chock full of not-so-subtle brainwashing. I hate all forms of overconsumption and can't stomach the methods Corporate North America uses to convince us of our worth.
Visit my blog and notice some comments about this subject. I can't beleive how some people chase a Capitalist's dream one minuet, and moan about personal debt the next.
End of rant.