Italian filmmaker Massimo Balloi has made an abstract film that attempts to explain the descent of Italy into modern fascism. The rapid turn of Western democracies toward a virulent corporate fascism does in fact resemble the ideas put forth by Mussolini in the 1930s and 40s. But his effort was to mimic the efficiencies of the corporation in government. The new effort currently underway is to replace government control with corporate control. The danger is real and it is extreme. Even in the United States we see a Supreme Court allying itself with corporations. In Italy, you have a very basic corporate buffoon running the country as if it were a criminal enterprise. In the U.S. you have completely false liberals maneuvering a corporate front man into the Presidency so that every decision is made with a seemingly logical inclination toward the interests of the large corporations. We are now fighting entire wars based solely on decisions by corporations.
The twenty first century will not be the century of war against terrorists. It will be a century of war against corporations. They will gain an upper hand initially, but this will be short-lived. I say this because once you get inside these corporate structures you can observe how shockingly weak they are. BP is your perfect example. A single broken valve can weaken the entire stack of cards. These corporate entities can only flourish while people are asleep.
Bad Lit: The Journal of Underground Film posted a film by Bill Mousoulis called The Experimenting Angel. I liked it. So I’ve posted another of Mousoulis’ films. It features Jennifer Levy who returns from a long absence to Australia and feels dislocated while visiting a city. She wonders why the people seem so ‘deflated’ as they wander through various public/corporate spaces like malls. The film captures something increasingly common worldwide which is that quiet, blank, but seemingly normal behavior encouraged by any structure designed and erected with a corporate idea behind it. We all know how we are expected to behave when we walk past a row of Gaps, Starbucks, Banana Republics and Wetzle’s Pretzels. We obey. We perform the routine and go about our business making sure that we are perceived as correctly normal. We are guests in someone else’s house, even in our public spaces. We behave like new guests, ingratiating ourselves to the dome camera in the ceiling. The cell phone is the absolute symbol of complete obeisance to the corporate superstructure looming above us. We are told to engage in meaningless chatter while we walk, drive, breathe, eat, date, watch movies, run, bike, and work. We are told to do this until it seems like normal and seems to make perfect sense. It is as logical as being told to drop a penny on the ground every third step for every day of your life. Steve Jobs tells you to leave him a penny on the ground every third step of every day of your life… and you damn well do it. You know how many times Steve Jobs uses a cell phone during an average day? None. Why? Because he’s much smarter than you are.
Smith Magazine has a new Harvey Pekar comic strip about how corporatism influences everything people do and think.
Can one work honestly inside a corporate system? Can you write a book criticizing corporations and have it published by a corporation?
Are comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert completely owned by corporations? My own answer is yes. That’s why they are so boring.
This is a short documentary called The Gospel According to Reverend Billy, from an outfit called Syndicate of Human Image Traffickers. This guy looks like a preacher but he’s decidedly against what most preachers seem to be preaching in our angelic little country. He’s Reverend Billy and he’s running for mayor in New York City. He thinks Mayor Bloomberg is a corporate Wall Street guy who represents the takeover of the monoculture. He’s right. I lived in New York for eight years in the 1980s. I remember it as being rough, exciting, nervous, overly work-oriented, and dirty. I visited just a few months ago. It’s now an open-air mall with a Starbucks and a Gap. Gee, thanks Rudi Guiliani for your cleanup. Micky Mouse would feel right at home on Times Square. New York is also home to the several thousand creeps on Wall Street who are personally responsible for trashing the U.S. economy and running criminal scams on a worldwide scale. Well, at least we know where they all live, right? When I lived in the city I worked with many different types of people in many businesses. I would always give the same advice to my friends and acquaintances who were looking for jobs: Never Never Never work for the money people. They are vicious and very poorly educated. I recall working for one of the biggest real estate investors in all of New York. He owned some of the famous big buildings. He was also prone to throwing insults around and yelling at employees. He spent eight hours per day for a full week having meetings in his office about the design for his new closet at home. On Friday at about 1:00 pm he emerged to ask me about a pile of papers I was supposed to have finished that week. I had put them all untouched in a pile that I labeled ‘Complete.’ He picked them up and riffled through them for several minutes. Then he threw them at me and screamed, ‘What the f— do you think you’re doing?’ I picked up the phone while giving him a giant smile and called my employment agency. I said, ‘I’m going to put you on the phone with Mr.____ and I’d like you to tell him to kiss my ass.’
As I walked down the hall, he was screaming at the top of his lungs, ‘Don’t you people ever even think about sending an a-hole like that over here again!’
Yep, that’s the kind of New York SOB I was back in the 80s. And I haven’t learned a thing. I’d still do it on any sunny Friday afternoon.
New York has about as much cultural energy now as Dallas, Texas. It’s like a zombie apocalypse in Manhattan. Everyone looks like they’re trudging to the office on a Sunday. The East Side – Woody Allen’s favorite – is the land of strange men in khaki dockers who buy baskets in small stores. I’m not sure why Reverend Billy would give a damn about being mayor of a dead city but he’s got my vote of confidence if he wants it.
As for the preacher bit, I’m not sure I like it. It’s some kind of a joke or then again maybe not. He likes the vocal patterns of the preacher for sure, but that’s not all of it. Couldn’t he borrow the vocal technique of the preacher without the costume? Oh nevermind, that would be Bill Clinton.