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Plaid Adder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 12:36 PM
Original message
Just saw The Corporation
Liza and I went with Jay and his girlfriend to see The Corporation on Friday. We were excited about it because it promised to expand and elaborate on one of Liza's very first and greatest crackpot theories about why the corporation, specifically, is at the bottom of a lot of what's gone wrong with America in the past 50 years. I would say that while The Corporation is not as good a film as Fahrenheit 911 (my review is up at http://www.plaidder.com/f911.htm ) , and if possible even more obviously "biased," it is perhaps in some ways more important. Moore has a great deal of anger and he has a very well-developed sense for how to play on an audience's emotions, but in terms of the sustained intellectual critique, that's not his main concern--and of course that's why his films are reaching such a wide audience, whereas if I made documentaries, they would be well-appreciated by about 12 people and have no impact anywhere. The Corporation is better on that front because it least it does have a sustained and specific argument about what is the matter with this particular piece of capitalism and what can be done to change it. I would like to change a lot of things about the way it was made--in particular, I wish I could balance the emphasis a little more so that they spent more time really driving home why it is that the corporation itself as an organizational structure promotes all this destruction, and less time going over individual cases of corporate malfeasance, horrifying as they all are--and at 2 hours and 45 minutes it really is too long. However, it is a good introduction to the issues involved in globalization for those who have heard tell about the concept but are not sure why it's bad, and it does include some truly amazing interviews with corporate CEOs who just have no idea that what they're saying is going to horrify the entire viewing audience. My favorite is the guy who talks about how what corporations really do when they go overseas and set up sweatshops is take "desperate people" and make them "fat and happy"--and then, as soon as the wages reach a certain level, they close that plant down, pull out, and find another group of "desperate people" to exploit (excuse me, fatten up and happify) while the people at their previous location...do what, now that they're all unemployed and their environment has been laid waste?

Because they're trying to show all the ways in which corporations control American life and the world at large, the film suffers from kind of a loss of focus. For instance there is a long digression about corporate control of the media which is certainly interesting and really quite terrifying--the best part is the story of two investigative reporters battling the management of their local Fox News affiliate over whether they can air a story critical of agribusiness giant Monsanto, which demonstrates just how low Fox News is willing to go to keep its corporate masters happy--but which should probably be its own movie. All the same, I would definitely encourage people to go, because the bottom line is that underneath all the bullshit flung hither and yon by the right-wing in this country, power is really all about the money, and Americans would be a lot better off if they understood more about how money works in their own country.

C ya,

The Plaid Adder
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Occulus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 12:42 PM
Response to Original message
1. Does the film touch how
Edited on Sun Jul-25-04 12:42 PM by kgfnally
corporate personhood came into being in the first place? I'm speaking of Santa Clara Cty v. Southern Pac. R. Co., 118 US 394 (1886), of course.
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Plaid Adder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 12:48 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. It does.
I wish it went into these things in more detail, but it does talk about the legal evolution of the corporation: legal personhood, limitation of liability, the exploitation of the 14th amendment, how it came about that the policy that it was impossible to patent living things was eventually overturned, and so on. I just wish they spent some more time on the whole "fiduciary duty to the shareholders" aspect.

The film does point out that the problem is really not the individual CEOs but the structure itself, which is very useful. There's a hilarious yet disturbing sequence about a protest mounted at the private home of the CEO of Royal Dutch Shell which ends with the nice man and his kindly wife serving tea to the protestors on the lawn and them all parting the best of friends.

C ya,

The Plaid Adder
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Paragon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 12:43 PM
Response to Original message
2. I'd love to see it, but it'll never come to Cincinnati
Hopefully some kind-hearted video vendor will stock it on DVD later.
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