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The movies that I will be discussing are “The Corporation,” “Trade Secrets,” and “Merchants of Cool.” In the following movies, I will be discussing global and local issues, that relate to the ideas of the “Magic Porcelain Appliance,” “Conscious stardust,” and “Discreteness/Separation.” Today we know that corporations, for good or bad, are major influences on our lives. For example, of the 100 largest economies in the world, 51 are corporations while only 49 are countries. The advantage of having a corporation over being an individual investing in trade voyages etc, was that an individual’s debts could be inherited by descendants. Corporations had therefore the potential, from the onset, to become very powerful. There is much recognized and unrecognized corporate influence in our lives. Indeed, much of western culture and increasingly, around the world, consumerism is expanding. Like for example, in the movies “The Corporation” there are issues surrounding the concept of influencing children in buying their products. Marketers see children as a future as well as current market and hence brand loyalty at a young age helps in the quest of continued sales later. Candy and sweets are often put on stands in shops at the eye level of children. While it would be healthier to have foods, like fruits and vegetables in those places, the bright colors and packaging used to sell sweets are more likely to attract children’s attention. The dictum of consumerism and corporate capitalism dictates that social good comes through subtle greed and meeting demands of people. Yet, putting candy at the eye level of children creates a demand that otherwise may not have been there, or not have been there in as much intensity. Likewise, highly caffeinated soft drinks that are being consumed more and more, have negative health effects. Influence from corporation is a problem, because there is a great effect on society, especially when it is manipulating children into buying unhealthy products. Another global issue that must be mentioned is the fact that corporations are harming animals for their own good and wealth. Like for example in the movie, there was this whole issue of the milk company called “Posilac.” They injected artificial hormones into the cows, so that they will produce more milk. This just shows how greedy a corporation can be. Their only objective is to make money. They are using an animal as their production and don’t look at the moral issues behind what their doing. They were injecting artificial hormones which will harm the cows and make them sick. Corporations are about production (Posilac’s use of cows) and profit (their characteristic of greed). It sickens me because they are harming the animal, but also due to the fact that they don’t even care that they are harming an animal, and only cares for how much money they make out of it, which is their greed. Another global issue is the fact that some corporations are dumping chemicals in the oceans, rivers, lakes, etc. This creates major problems to the environment, the animals, us, and humanity. Corporations are the problem, and because of that, they rather pay the fine from the government than actually paying to clean up the mess. It’s just a business for them. That is why corporations are a hazard to our environment and our humanity. This whole issue of the “corporation” can be applied to the whole idea of the “magic porcelain appliance” because it may seem good that dumping chemicals in the lake, but really there are consequences for themselves and the environment. The corporations do not realize the consequences, and when they do, they ignore it. It may seem good that advertising to children is just trying to earn money, but it can have its negative effects. Or it may seem beneficial that injecting artificial hormones would produce more milk, but really it is harmful for them. Or it may seem profitable that dumping our chemicals will help us grow financially, but really, it’s harming themselves, as they get their drinking water from the lake where they dumped their chemicals in. In the movie, “The Corporation” gives various examples of how horribly a corporation can be. There comes a point where society must face their morals. Obesity rates are rapidly increasing, animals are being treated as a main source of production, and lakes, oceans, etc. are being polluted everyday and it’s the corporations that enable the problems for these global issues.
For 50 years, Americans have enjoyed the bounty of the chemical revolution, trusting the government and industry to keep us safe. The movie “Trade Secrets” has revealed how the public’s right to know the truth about the thousands of chemicals that surround us. The movie basically speaks about how many of the products we rely upon everyday, from plastic bags to computers, would not exist without synthetic chemicals. Of the more than 75,000 chemicals registered with the Environmental Protection Agency, only a fraction have gone through complete testing to find out whether they might cause problems for human health. Many that are produced in enormous quantities have never been tested at all. The current regulatory system allows synthetic chemicals into our lives unless one is proven beyond doubt to be dangerous. Today, while scientific research worldwide is finding that every one of us carries traces of synthetic chemicals in our bodies, scientists know very little about the risks of these low level exposures. Some are carcinogenic. Others interfere with the reproductive system. Many others likely present no health threat at all. This is a global issue because for most chemicals, we simply do not know how safe – or dangerous – they may be. And they are everywhere around us – in the air, soil, and water; in our homes; and in our bodies. Not a single child today is born free of synthetic chemicals. This movie can relate to the idea of “discreteness/separation” because we all think we are free from chemicals in our bodies, but really, every one of us are filled with chemicals inside our bodies. The chemicals are everywhere around us. We think it’s so safe and that it helps us, that we don’t stop to think that they are dangerous and have major consequences. Chemicals are not separate from us. Although we like to think we’re safe and carefree from it, but really everyone carries harmful traces of synthetic chemicals. We can also see the idea of “Magic Porcelain Appliance” because people think using the products with chemicals are helpful and that are safe, even though it is not, but only harming them. We can’t see that the products are harmful, so we use them. But in time, our bodies will accumulate more and more chemicals, and it will be visible when a person becomes sick.
For teens, the highest value is simply being “cool.” How do kids define cool? It’s an amalgam of ideas fed to them by corporations that covet the $150 billion-a-year teen market. “The Merchants of Cool” are the clothing manufacturers, media empires and soft-drink companies that make it their business to know what teenagers want. And what do they want? First, an adult-free universe–which is why TV programs marketed to teens feature so few adults. Second, teens want to see, on television and movie screens. Teens want to see a version of themselves. These versions are the templates for two TV stereotypes: “mooks” and “midriffs.” The mook is a character created to appeal to adolescent males, characterized by “infantile, boorish behavior” and trapped in a state of “perpetual adolescence.” Mooks are a staple on MTV. The midriff is, as Rushkoff describes her, a “highly sexualized, world-weary sophisticate” who manages to retain a bit of the little girl. Shows like Boston Public and singers like Britney Spears provide America’s midriffs-in-training with role models to emulate. Even more menacing is the electronic game companies. Violent video and computer games are conditioning teenagers to be violent. And then along comes Hollywood, telling kids through movies like Teaching Mrs. Tingle, Urban Legend, and Scream II that violence and killing are cool. The message of marketing is simple: ‘You are not good enough. Buy this and you will be (sexy, desirable, loveable) happy.’ The media is a global issue because it creates messages, and images of what to look like, and what to be like. It affects the youth’s personality, performance in school, family, etc. The media can also be looked at a local issue, as it contributes to local gangs and violence in schools and communities. There are many companies that advertise violence, and produce video games that constitute the images of violence. For example, the incident from Columbine, the teenagers that committed the crime were exposed to violent video games and etc. This is because companies and the merchants of cool make those images and products that represent violence. Besides violence, companies also advertise images of what to look like towards teenagers. This is because teens want to see themselves in movies, and TV shows. Teens want to see a version of themselves. This idea can be related to the “conscious stardust”. The conscious stardust means that it is us looking back at ourselves. This is what teens want to see.
In conclusion, it is evident that the following movies that we’ve seen during class, do relate to the ideas that was mentioned. Global and local issues are everywhere, and the only way we can prevent such issues, is to first realize the consequences that will arise.
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