Throughout my research into the topic of mega corporations and their Hollywood sci-fi equivalents, I have developed an understanding of how they are constructed and what elements drive them to domination. Sci-fi corporations and real-life corporations are one of the same, they all strive for money, power and to be the only ones that can do what they are doing and ultimately become the sole provider of these things.
With this in mind, I initially wanted to create a podcast that was reminiscent of a crime shows that gave off a who did it, kind of vibe, however with further research and peer feedback my view has slightly shifted in terms of the structure of the content I want to create. My second idea was to do a comparison of big named film companies, such as Disney, Pixar and Lions Gate, and how they inadvertently portray themselves as the megacorp villains in the movies they create.
However, discussions on the topic led me down a different route. To really understand the essence of evil I decided to review the philosophy into the word, New Yorker writer Rollo Roming (2012), states that centuries before evil was described as a manner of ills from natural disasters or the impulse to do wrong. However, in today’s world, we look at evil with an emphasis on crime, trading on the term’s aura or religious finality.
Crashcourse’s Hank Green explains evil from a religious perspective looking at the problems it can cause. religious evil is the most common view of evil and causes many problems, through the aspect of the all-knowing.
However, “The meaning of “evil” has become increasingly unsettled even as it has narrowed, yet the word has proven to be an unshakable unit in our moral lexicon.” Roming goes on referring to Peter Dews who describes evil as “lending itself to exploitation by whoever uses it”. The meaning of evil has many vectors and can be shaped in many ways from supernatural to religious but from a standpoint of mega corporations, evil can be defined as an extreme moral wickedness.
Against the moral wickedness, you will usually have an alliance that will combat the evil doings of the situation. Hollywood movies do this effectively with rebellions who attack mega-corporations taking them down and exposing everything they have done. With this angle, it was proposed to me that I look at the different activist groups and other rebellious organisations combatting real-life corporations within my research and the content for my podcasts.
Adbusters was called to my attention as “a global network of artists, activists, writers, pranksters, students, educators and entrepreneurs who want to advance the new social activist movement of the information age” (Adbusters Media Foundation, 2007), a rebellious group fighting mega corporations. The Canadian-based activist group was founded in 1989 by Kalle Las and Bill Schmalz, two award-winning Canadian documentary filmmakers. Through the Adbusters campaigns, a sub-culture is formed known as culture jamming.
Culture jamming refers to the practice of criticising and subverting advertising and consumerism in the mass media, by methods such as producing advertisements parodying those of global brands. The founders of Adbusters, explain culture jamming as “a metaphor for stopping the flow of consumer-culture-saturated media” (Sandlin & Milam, 2015). Adbusters content focuses on two main themes, “how marketing and mass media colonise space, and how global capitalism and rampant consumption are destroying natural environments” (Sandlin & Milam, 2015).
This particular direction will work well for my podcast by giving more depth and knowledge about the different activist groups that are out there in the real-world. Thus getting back to the notion of mirroring within film, Boffard (2014), writes about the possibility of movie-like mega corporations existing in real life, he continues on by establishing this happening when powerful corporations in arms manufacturing, healthcare, and software come together creating one massive mega-corp. “These kind of partnerships difficult, and fraught with all sorts of complexities, but it’s a lot easier than separate corporations trying to merge to become something like Resident Evil’s Umbrella Corporation” (Boffard, 2014).
It is possible for mega corporations to be formed in real-life, just not the extent to those that are found in film. However, mega-corporations on a smaller scale still exist, such as the ones that we interact with on a daily basis, cause a lot of problems that we often don’t see because we’re brainwashed into believing what they stand for and what they are selling.
Can we really identify the evil in the mega-corporations, whether they be the villains of the real or fictional world?
Are there deeper roots into the systematic constructions of mega-corporations and how they operate?
What makes them evil, to begin with?
These are all questions I wish to address in my digital artefact, hopefully, make the issue a little clearer for myself and my audience listening in.
Adbusters 2017, Blackspot, Adbusters, viewed 21 April 2017, <http://www.adbusters.org/>
Adbusters 2017, Occupywallstreet, Adbusters, viewed 21 April 2017, <https://www.adbusters.org/occupywallstreet/>
Boffard, R 2014, Could An Evil Mega-Corporation Ever Exist In Real Life?, io9, 9 April, viewed 22 April 2017, <http://io9.gizmodo.com/could-an-evil-mega-corporation-ever-exist-in-real-life-1630401831?IR=T>
Romig, R 2012, What do we mean by evil?, The New Yorker, 25 July, viewed 21 April 2017, <http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/what-do-we-mean-by-evil>
Sandlin, J.A & Milam, J.L 2008, “Mixing Pop (Culture) and Politics”: Cultural Resistance, Culture Jamming, and Anti-Consumption Activism as Critical Public Pedagogy, Curriculum Inquiry, vol. 38, no. 3, pp. 323-350, viewed 23 April 2017, >http://www-tandfonline.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/doi/full/10.1111/j.1467-873X.2008.00411.x?scroll=top&needAccess=true>