Soylent Green & Corporations Are People Too: Romney Edition

Mittens the Missing emerged from his fortress of solitude Thursday to participate in Friday’s Iowa Republican presidential candidates’ debate. Figuring that as long as he was going to be in Iowa anyway, he deigned to grace the commoners with his royal presence. (Didn’t help much, given his coming in seventh in yesterday’s straw poll, which he won in 2007).

Artfully staged amidst a stack of hay bales that lent just the right touch of faux authenticity that is becoming the trademark of his campaign, the prepared remarks of Lord Romney (estimated net worth $200 million) was continually interrupted by a cadre of angry serfs. All that was missing from the scene were the torches and the pitchforks.

As the above clip shows, America’s new indentured servants are none too happy with Mitch Romney’s vision for America. Seems that his embrace of the Rethugs’ single-minded obsession with debt and deficit reduction, which calls for deep cuts to social programs while exempting our Feudal Overlords from contributing nary an extra farthing, ain’t playing so well among the peasants who are expected to bear all the burden.

As ugly as the shouting match above proved to be, Mittens actually made things worse by departing from his prepared remarks, uttering the words that will be hung around his neck like a garland of rotten garlic for the rest of the campaign. In response to a shout from the crowd, “Tax corporations!”, Romney said, to great guffaws of laughter: 

“Corporations are people, my friend… Of course they are…”

Then why aren’t any of them in jail, doing hard time for their crimes against humanity and the environment? If a pharmaceutical company markets a drug they know is deadly but have skewed their own testing results to get it approved by the FDA ( Merck, Vioxx); or an oil company dumps toxic waste into a watershed that ends up killing people and causes children to be born with birth defects (Texaco, Ecuador), shouldn’t its executives be tried for murder, or at least manslaughter?

Legally speaking, of course, Mittens is correct per the Supremes’ ruling in Citizens United. And per their earlier ruling in Buckley v Valero, being people, corporations are entitled to all the free speech (advertising) their money can buy.  A perverse turn of affairs, to be sure.  So I wasn’t surprised to hear a corporatist like Romney, in an unguarded, unscripted moment, equate corporations with flesh and blood human beings.

In this kind of Bizzaro World logic, the reciprocal must also be true: If an impersonal entity like a corporation is a person then a person is also an impersonal entity, to be fucked over as the situation demands.

“Corporations are people, my friend… Of course they are… Humans, my friend.”

So was Soylent Green, as depicted in the classic 1973 sci fi movie Soylent Green.  The year is 2022, the place, New York city.  An overcrowded earth has been reduced to a dystopian nightmare, its natural resources sucked dry by unregulated corporate greed.  Dead oceans and barren soil are the legacy of runaway global warming, the complete destruction of the oceans hidden from the masses.  Real food is a distant memory except to the super rich, secure in their gated communities.  Everyone else must subsist on processed food wafers supplied to them by the Soylent Corporation, today’s Big Ag all rolled into one super-national global monopoly.

To everyone’s great relief, Soylent Corp announces a breakthrough wonder food they call “Soylent Green,” a high-energy plankton” supposedly harvested from the sea.  But this doesn’t square with a report that police investigator Robert Thorn (Charlton Heston) lifts from the apartment of a dead Soylent executive (Joseph Cotten) called “Soylent Oceanographic Survey Report, 2015 to 2019.”  Its technical detail is over Thorn’s head, so he hands it off to his roommate, a former professor named Sol Roth (Edward G. Robinson) to read.

The climax has Sol urgently warning Thorn to reveal the true status of the planet and the mystery behind Soylent Green.  Good cop that he is, Thorn surreptitiously follows the disposal of Sol’s body, which ends up at a Soylent Corp(se) processing facility. There it is ‘recycled’ into tasty, nutritious Soylent Green wafers.

Charlton Heston discovers what a human being is really worth to his corporate overlords

[Reminds me of an old joke: What happened to the cannibal with the bad table manners? He was given the cold shoulder.]

As horrifying as such a fate may seem to us now, these denizens of the future were at least afforded some measure of dignity that most of us will never enjoy— the option of a painless, scripted, even ecstatic death.  Depicted in what ironically turned out to be Edward G.’s final scene in his final (101st) film, Sol chooses for his drug enhanced, audio-visual send-off: Symphony No. 6 (“Pathétique”) by Tchaikovsky,  “Pastoral” by Beethoven, and Edvard Grieg‘s Peer Gynt Suite (“Morning Mood” and “Åse’s Death”), accompanied by beautiful nature scenes from a time when the earth was still a living organism. (The embedding-disabled scene can be viewed here.)

Since she was there in Iowa when Mittens blurted out the overarching Rethug campaign paradigm, I’ll give MoDo the last word.  From her op-ed today titled “Power To The Corporations!”, she writes:

Give “The Stormin’ Mormon,” as Neil Cavuto approvingly called him on Fox News, credit: never has the traditional Republican doctrine been so succinctly explained.

Of the corporation, by the corporation, for the corporation. We the corporation. Corporations who need corporations are the luckiest corporations in the world.  Power to the corporation!


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