November 1, 2012

Arthur Jensen explains how the world works to Howard Beale

Arthur Jensen: You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale, and I won't have it. You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations; there are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There is no third world. There is no west. There is only one holistic system of systems; one vast interwoven, interacting, multivariate multinational dominion of dollars. Petrodollars, electrodollars, reichmarks, rubles, rin, pounds and shekels. It is the international system of currency that determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic, subatomic and galactic structure of things today. It is the international system of currency that determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things. You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, and you will atone! Am I getting through to you, Mr. Beale? 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 IBM and ITT and AT &T and Dupont, Dow, Union Carbide and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today. What do you think the Russians talk about in their councils of state? Karl Marx? They pull out their linear programming charts, statistical decision theories, and 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, Mr. Beale. The world is a college of corporations inexorably determined by the immutable by-laws of business. The world is a business, Mr. Beale! It has been since man crawled out of the slime. And our children will live to see that perfect world in which there is no war or famine, oppression or brutality. One vast and ecumenical holding company for whom all men will work to serve a common profit and in which all men will own a share of stock, all necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused. And I have chosen you to preach this evangel. 
Beale: Why me? 
Arthur Jensen: Because you're on television, dummy.

From Paddy Chayefsky's Network, 1976

Oh ... wrong Arthur Jensen, I guess.


Anonymous said...

If you dressed Arthur Jensen in jeans and a business casual shirt, gave him one of those hands-free earpiece mics and coached him a bit on inclusive body language, he could make the same presentation today at a TED conference. Just put him in front of a slide show showing girls in Afghanistan going to school, kids in the tropics using laptops and vibrant urban youth using their hip-hop skills to design the next generation of satellites. It'd be great if he was gay and/or mocha-coloured but that's not a must.

Steve Sailer said...

That's funny, the idea that the TED talks of the 21st Century started out as parody in 1976.

Pat Boyle said...

Howard Beale has come to us now as Bill O'Reilly.

O'Reilly stopped being a newsman some time ago. He like Howard likes to howl on TV. He even has his own "Sybil the Soothsayer" who reads facial expressions rather than palms or tea leaves.

Phophetic guy that Chavefsky.


neil craig said...

"IBM and ITT and AT &T and Dupont, Dow, Union Carbide and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today."

For the nations that mastered the world then they don't look so big now.

x said...

in the game Deus Ex Human Revolution the main character's last name is Jensen, and his father's name (who is never seen) is called Arthur Jensen.

a central theme in the game is the morality debate that has ensued from the practice of individuals cybernetically enhancing themselves to be smarter, more atheletic, etc. the main character 'Jensen' is one of those cybernetically enhanced individuals. sort of reminded me of a debate about eugenics with the 'Arthur Jensen' name thrown in there.

Auntie Analogue said...

Globalism-economic determinism. Can't you just see Niall Ferguson dancing ecstatically with Thomas P.M. Barnett while from her stool at the bar Camille Paglia scowls?

Whiskey said...

ITT is gone. IBM a shadow of itself. Kodak, gone, basically. Dow, a shadow. So too, US Steel. GM is a bailed out zombie. Chrsyler is owned by the Italians. And people sure are willing to kill each other, Syrians slaughtering Syrians. Meanwhile Catalonia and Scotland are pressing for independence.

The TED talks are the chattering of the transnational elites as their whole system falls apart. They rode a wave of change of stability, basically, enforced by the US-Soviet duopoly, and later the US as sole hyper-power keeping nationalism and sectarian slaughter in check. The only problem they had was being too successful -- believing their own bs. Hence Bush succeeded by Obama, war on the cheap, as the ME and other places spiral out of control. Japan is now tilting ultra-nationalist. The consequence of the end of the Pax Americana.

And TV? Just yesterday USA Today had the TV ratings for the previous week. Fascinating, not a show over 20 million viewers in prime viewing season. And the viewers themselves are all women. Shockingly some of the shows that get all this buzz (like Gossip Girl) get under a million viewers. The more TV screams the less people listen. Just like TED.

Marc B said...

The most interesting thing about that scene was not how the names of the dominant corporations have changed, but how the predominate force in the world was actually international corporatism, and at that time it was considered to be a sinister, back-room revelation. Fast forward thirty years to the mostly cosmopolitanist US media, and watch how they not only accept this as a given (and a positive force) and will work to discredit anybody against our current "interconnectedness" as a wacky isolationist who should be ignored.

Anonymous said...

One of the biggest changes in the years since that scene was shot is the rise to predominance of women's tastes and preferences over pretty much everything. I think that's the key reason big corporations don't surround themselves with wood panelling, three piece suits and all that but rather make themselves seem fun, friendly, cheerful and non-threatening by dressing casual and using the word "awesome" a lot. Huge power players like Microsoft, Google and Apple have company brands that are more like toy companies. Yet they're still collecting mountains of data on us all and getting hardware built in Chinese factories that are nowhere near as fun as Willie Wonka's chocolate factory. Oh well, perception is reality.

milam command said...

I don't get it. Could somebody please explain this post for me and the other short bus riders?

Anonymous said...

No Wall Street?

Occupy Hollywood!


DaveinHackensack said...

"For the nations that mastered the world then they don't look so big now."

"IBM a shadow of itself."

IBM is the 9th largest company in the world by market cap, and has had an astonishingly long run of success, especially for a IT company. Exxon Mobil is the second largest company in the world by market cap, it will probably recapture #1 in a few years when Apple eventually deflates.