The entirety of this article is my updated version of two long quotations from a1976 movie called, “Network”, which is about a fictional TV network called UBSthat airs almost anything for big ratings. My intent in this article is to familiarize and attract the attention of my readers, especially Generation Y and the Millennials, i.e. the generations which comprises the majority of my students, to watch (or re-watch) this satirical masterpiece
By Alexander Azadgan
This movie speaks more than ever to what we have made of this world: a dead and decaying world of corporatcocracy, braindead consumerism, borderless liberal globalism, and the hubris liberalism which is a progressive disease of the Anglo-Saxon identity – the so-called “egalitarian universalism that the liberal globalists have been promoting and implementingfor at least the past three decades, complemented by an unethical, money-grubbing, unscrupulous media.
This American satirical film was written by Paddy Chayefsky and directed by Sidney Lumet.The film won four Academy Awards, in the categories of Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Original Screenplay.
In the year 2000, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. In 2005, the two Writers Guilds of America voted Chayefsky’s script one of the 10 greatest screenplays in the history of cinema. In 2007, the film was 64th among the 100 greatest American films as chosen by the American Film Institute, a ranking slightly higher than the one AFI had given it ten years earlier.
At any rate, without further due, here are the two long quotations that I have combined as one with minor editing. It is an incredible foresight from screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky who correctly predicted (back in 1976) what we are witnessing in 2018.
“The foreigners have taken billions of dollars out of America, and now they must put it back! It is ebb and flow, tidal gravity! It is ecological balance! You still think in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs, no Chinese, no Indians or Russians. There are no third worlds. There is no West. There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and interwoven, interacting, multivariate, multinational dominion of dollars. Petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars, Euros, Yuans, Rubles, Rials, Pounds, and Shekels. It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic and subatomic and galactic structure of things today! And YOU have meddled with the primal forces of nature. You get up on your little twenty-one inch screen and howl about America and democracy. There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only Microsoft, and Google, and GE, and DuPont, and JPMorgan & Chase, andGoldman Sachs, and GM, and Samsung, and Exxon, and, and, and…. These are the nations of the world today.
What do you think the Russians talk about in their councils of state, Karl Marx? They get out their linear programming charts, statistical decision theories, minimax solutions, and compute the price-cost probabilities of their transactions and investments, just like we do.
We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable bylaws of business. The world is a business. It has been since man crawled out of the slime. And our children will live to see that… perfect world… in which there’s no war or famine, oppression or brutality. One vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock. All necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused.
At the bottom of all our terrified souls, we know that democracy is a dying giant, a sick, sick dying, decaying political concept, writhing in its final pain. I don’t mean that the United States is finished as a world power. The United States is the richest, the most powerful, the most advanced country in the world, light-years ahead of any other country. And I don’t mean the Chinese or the Russians are going to take over the world, because the Chinese are deader than we are.
What is finished is the idea that this great country is dedicated to the freedom and flourishing of every individual in it. It’s the individual that’s finished. It’s the single, solitary human being that’s finished. It’s every single one of you out there that’s finished. Because this is no longer a nation of independent individuals. It’s a nation of some three hundred odd million transistorized, deodorized, whiter-than-white, steel-belted bodies, totally unnecessary as human beings and as replaceable as piston rods.
Well, the time has come to say is ‘dehumanization’ such a bad word?’ Whether it’s good or bad, that’s what it is. The whole world is becoming humanoid, android creatures that look human but aren’t. The whole world, not just us. We’re just the most advanced country, so we’re getting there first. The whole world’s people are becoming mass-produced, programmed, numbered, insensate things.”