Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Those Wicked, Wicked Corporations

On a lark, I went out with some young friends last night to catch a late showing of Transporter 3, which was about as much of a goofy/fun action movie as one would expect. While various chases and fights were fun to watch, the plot itself was one of those confections which implodes on the least scrutiny. Particularly interesting to me, however, was the role of the Evil Corporation.

You would think that the rabbit like timidity of office park culture would not provide much grist for the action movie mill. Not so in Transporter 3. When the American-based Eagle Corp. is in danger of having their request to dump eight cargo ships a year worth of toxic waste in Ukraine, they kidnap the Ukrainian prime minister's daughter and threaten to kill her if he doesn't sign their contract. This leads to lots of tense staring at the contract with pen in hand, and plenty of black Audi and Mercedes sedans speeding around the continent -- as well as the occasional shoot out.

You can, of course, picture how this would go.

[Interior: Eagle Corp. conference room where waste management directors are in conference.]

Evil Corporate Man One: Report on the Ukrainian waste management plans?

Evil Corporate Woman: Unfortunately the Ukrainian Prime Minister has decided this is the time to boost his environmental cred in the EU. He's broken off negotiations and is planning to give a speech to the EU denouncing environmental destruction and explaining the need to preserve the planet for his daughter's generation.

Evil Corporate Man One: This kind of obstacle makes me feel like using non-board-room language. I'm open to creative suggestions.

Evil Corporate Man Two: The Prime Minister's daughter is a big player on the party scenes. Let's drug her, rig her with an explosive bracelet, and send her out across Europe in a fancy black car with an underworld delivery man while telling her father that he'll never see her again unless he signs a contract allowing us to dump even more waste than originally planned.

Evil Corporate Man One: That sounds like a reasonable suggestion. Any objections?

Evil Corporate Woman: I'd like to run your underworld driver choice by HR to make sure that they agree we're engaging in fair hiring practices. And of course you'll need to send the revised contract over to legal for review.

Evil Corporate Man One: I'll make a note of those action items. Evil Man Two, could you run our new scenario by the folks in PR to make sure they don't see any corporate image problems resulting from kidnapping and intimidation. Evil Woman, could you contact our negotiation team and ask if threatening the PM's daughter would result in difficulties in future negotiations?

Evil Corporate Man Two & Evil Corporate Woman: Got it.

Evil Corporate Man One: All right. Thanks for putting some good, outside-the-box thinking into this, team. I'm glad to see you're all living up to corporate value number three: dealing with ambiguity. That's all for today. I'm giving the last five minutes of our meeting back. Remember that year end reviews are coming up and you'll want to update the results in your performance plans. We can discuss that in our one-on-ones next week.


Anonymous said...

The Blackadder Says:

At least it didn't involve the all too common film business model of killing your customers.

j. christian said...

That conversation needs to be made into a humorous short.

I never really understood the Evil Corporation trope. Even the "banality of evil" aphorism doesn't quite fit the reality of corporate culture.

Rick Lugari said...

Wow, I didn't know you corporate types got to do such neat things. I always thought you just sat around the water cooler discussing Seinfeld, telling each other how important you are, and making up silly euphemisms.

Heh, speaking of silly euphemisms, I was watching a TV show about disasters of some such thing. They show a satellite delivery rocket lifting off. The control room chick's doing the play by play, "we have ignition", "we have lift off", etc. 15 seconds into flight the rocket blows up and she says, "we have an anomaly". An anomaly? Anomaly????? The friggin' rocket turned into the second sun of the solar system and crashed into earth and she remarks that it was an anomaly! Is it truly negative thinking to say "we have a problem"? Or how about something a little less professional but far more useful like, "Oh shit, the friggin' thing just blew up".

LogEyed Roman said...

...My twisted Irish sense of humor is endlessly tickled by how easily people fall for conspiracy theories. I think it's appealing to human vanity to have these sinister evil bad guys up against you all the time. Makes you feel more important.

I was an undergraduate at U.C. Santa Cruz in 1973-1974. (That was an education in MANY ways.)

The residents of the town uncordially hated the University in general and the students in particular. A professor told me that one of the reasons was as follows: In elections, the students had a 95% or better turnout and voted to the left on any issue with the slightest hint of a lef-right axis, no matter how tenuous, with the blind knee-jerk lack of reflection of lemmings. The town, though far more populous than the campus, was terrible about voting; a 30% turnout was common. So many local issues were decided by the student's vote.

Did the local politicos spend their time deploring the lack of involvement of their local citizens? Oh know. They referred regularly about "the bloc voting conspiracy" on campus.

Trust me, brothers and sisters; my fellow students would never be able to "conspire" on whether or not to have breakfast, let alone what to have for breakfast. The idea of that army of granola (you know, fruits, nuts and flakes) conspiring on anything at all was beyond ludicrous.

A couple of years ago, near a remote Russian village, some geographical oddity caused a nearby lake (or "large pond") to abruptly drain, so that everyone got up to find their local lake empty. What did the vilalgers say? "America did it," was the prompt and confident consensus.

LogEyed Roman