Thursday, August 19, 2004

Get the Scientist!

Here are a few things that you learn about American business men from watching Hollywood movies:

1) We are clearly a boy's network, sometimes old and sometimes young, but in contrast to the complacent country club life of liesure that the old boy's network conjures up, in truth we are prone to many sinister acts;

2) Our lighter crimes involve the senseless rape of the environment in efforts to garner more profits, but we cleverly mask that goal by providing products that consumers can't seem to get enough of - like gas, wood for building houses, genetically engineered food, etc.;

3) Our most harsh decisions are reserved for the courageous scientist (usually, alas, a gorgeous female scientist) who finds a way to synthetically create oil from water, thus threatening our existing monopoly. Or the courageous scientist who discovers that the cure for cancer is as simple as whipping up a concoction of different readily available herbs, thus threatening our billion dollar research industry. Or the courageous scientist who ... well, you get the picture. Courageous scientists, on the cusp of their major breakthroughs, have ways of disappearing at times that are coincident with us finding out about their research. The average lifespan of courageous scientists in the US is roughly 30 percent shorter than that for courageous scientists in other industrialized nations, which explains part of an earlier query coming from Professor Vic pertaining to the shorter lifespans of Americans;

4) Some of the more ambitous among us are bent on world domination and/or the privatization of weapons of mass destruction. We steal nuclear weapons whenever the chance presents itself, and make sure that accidents befall those who threaten to reveal the fact that we have bought every member of the US government;

5) And the worst among us, in case you thought that there was a little spark of humanity even given what you know from 1-4, are racist and sexist homophobes.

All sympathy is gone, is it not? You might have spared the business man the lash, but for #5 - the straw that broke the camel's back. But what about the underlying causes of our crimes? Alas, none of us grew up poor, we are the children of privilege who walk into our jobs without merit. Perhaps a cold and distant father? Well, yes, of course, in so far as all rich men who have made it in business are cold and heartless, but this hardly lets you off the hook. It seems the only thing you can do to be considered a heroic businessman in today's Hollywood is to have made your fortune building a publishing empire of pornography, a la Hugh Hefner or Larry Flynt. The rest of us are condemned to the role of antagonist-supreme in our celluloid depictions.

If only truth mirrored fiction. We are not so far removed from some of the biggest corporate scandals this country has ever seen, and yet, where is the movie portrayal? Flash to Ken Lay in his Enron office discussing the merits of off-balance-sheet financing and the proper disclosure of such hidden debt on Enron's financial statements. Snore. Or let's take a peak at Bernie Ebbers at Worldcom heatedly advocating the capitalization of expenditures that everyone knows are properly expensed, and browbeating his auditors to agree. Snore.

Where are the dead scientists? Can't we at least get a dead accountant? When it comes to the stuff of movies and television, I am afraid we are a long way from Sipowicz bearing his ass on an episode of NYSEC Blue after a hard day of hunting down corporate executives in the shadey world of corporate accounting fraud. But hey, that's probably a good thing, right?



2 Comments:

Blogger Stax said...

You're getting to the heart of many problems: mainstream media manufactured communication & perception. Academics, scientists, and business men can and do see eye to eye on many matters. At least they can understand each other's motives. But in the eyes of mainstream media (i.e. Hollywood, CBS/NBC/ABC, major news publications, etc.) people of different cultures, professions, races, etc need to be pitted against one another in absurd ways. It sells media content. As a side benefit, it keeps people at each other's throats and divides our nation while the mainstream media folks build their empire and conquer. They also manfacture our consent and complicity in this matter by repetitive "programming". Pavlov should've been shot.

The real evil that will never be depicted by mainstream media is the evil that goes on inside mainstream media organizations. The solution is to tune out of these media streams. The Internet is the best source of info. You might not be so bitter about half of the things on your blog if you do since such matters won't cross the path of your gaze.

7:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is the distinction between the corporate executive and the Hollywood corporate executive? The only distinction I see is that the Hollywood executive gets to control the message.

On his deathbed, among the last words Andrew Jackson said were "Everything in the Bible is true!" When Al Gore meets his end, do you think he will mutter through cracked and swollen lips, "everything on the internet is true!" ?? Not likely.

Sipowicz's ass ain't THAT bad.

5:46 AM  

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