...more recent posts
spent a large part of my weekend watching the two-DVD deluxe set for the superb documentary "The Corporation." It includes the 144-minute feature, plus tons of extras, including extended interviews with both critics and defenders of corporations (Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Naomi Klein, but also Miton Friedman, and the CEOs of Shell Oil and Goodyear).
The film explores the history of the corporation in the modern world, from the creation of the fictional "legal person" in Roman law to the current situation in which many experts agree that the corporation has become the dominant institution in our lives, supassing the Church, the empire, and the nation-state in power, wealth, and influence.
D. and I saw Network last night. I haven't seen it, other than short clips, since its original theatrical release in 1976. We just saw Good Night, and Good Luck this afternoon.
Murrow gave us a vision of what television could become.
This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box. There is a great and perhaps decisive battle to be fought against ignorance, intolerance and indifference. This weapon of television could be useful.
RTNDA Convention, October 15, 1958
Network gave us a warning of what it would become. Murrow worried that television would simply "entertain, amuse and insulate". But he missed one trick. As Diane Christensen (Faye Dunaway) says, "The American people want somebody to articulate their rage for them." The public's hunger isn't simply to have their boredom amused, but to have their biases confirmed, their xenophobia stoked, their blood-lust sated.
Murrow knew how good television could be, but never imagined how bad it has become. One can only hope that this flick reminds the current generation of reporters of the history of their profession, and inspires them to speak truth to power.