Using “Doom” on Wal-Mart

Today, I watched the movie, Doom. It’s based on the classic video-game of the same name. The gist of the plot is:  adding an extra chromosome to humans makes them superhuman, but the hitch is, if they’re evil people, they transform into demon-like monsters. Not a phenomenal movie, to say the least.

Nevertheless, it has some saving qualities. One of the amusing things was watching the scientist try to explain what might cause some people to become demonoid. After fumbling for words, she says that if a person is more bad than good they will transform. But what exactly qualifies someone as good or evil? you might ask.

Killing lots of people does not make you bad; it’s only bad if you do so irrationally. All of the guys who transform into monsters are the guys who secretly enjoy killing. The ones who remain unchanged only kill when they “need” to.

Using Doom-logic, let’s look at Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart clearly has a good business plan — killing people makes money. Considering that the higher ups in Wal-Mart are making disproportionately high salaries, I don’t think having sweatshops is an economic necessity. So basically, Wal-Mart is ripe for becoming a devil.

If you can put up with this movie inspired train of thought, I want to talk about what we can do to stop it. In the movie, the good guy beat the main bad guy with simple brute force and some dumb luck. This would suggest that we defeat Wal-Mart by stripping away all of it’s rights as a company. But there is a problem. In the movie, both the good guy and the bad guy had the extra chromosome, so both were theoretically equally powerful. In our reality, Wal-Mart has the advantage by billions. Which is exactly what made the ending of “Doom” suck more than the rest of the movie; nobody wants to see an even fight! If good can really triumph over evil it shouldn’t need to be its equal!!

I like the solution that Randy offers in the South Park episodeabout Wal-Mart. We don’t need to shop there! Now, I know it can be argued that the low prices of Wal-Mart are all that some people can afford. Well, I’m sorry if economic justice looks a little like communism, but maybe people making seven figure sums should fork out a little extra for those suffering in sweatshops. I like the idea of boycotts — but I’m a minimalist, so I really don’t like a lot of unnecessary stuff. And unnecessary stuff is just the thing Wal-Mart has to offer. Did Naomie Klein ever talk about the possibility of boycotts in No Logo? Or does she disregard them as impractical or cliche?

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    • Tom
    • April 20th, 2009

    I don’t know if you saw it or not but today Fortune came out with it’s top 500 companies list. Walmart had lost its holding of being the top profit making corporation in the United States. Exxon-Mobil defeated the giant. In fact the other top five comapnies, besides Walmart, were oil companies. This shows the precise problem that comes with American consumerism. the economy can be down the hole, gas can go up to 4.50, but the American public will still not change their behavior to accomodate for the changing of the times. Anything and everything that inconviences the public too much will not be tolerated and the people will pay any price, as long as they can, to maintain their material world. That’s why oil companies prosper during economic downturns. The people would rather give up their material good spending then ride the bus. I am not sure if it’s a good thing whether or not that Walmart was dethroned but I think a sustainable economy cannot be built on overconsumption.

    • nfmayhew
    • April 20th, 2009

    At least it makes sense for oil companies to be on the top; just about everything in our postmodern world depends on the black goo. Not that I’m saying high oil profits are a good thing, because honestly if I can walk or bike, I prefer to.

    I checked the index of “No Logo” for boycotts, but Klein offers a brief (2 page) blip about them. Basically she says that because corporations depend on sources, we need to get corporations to boycott certain sources. Personally, I prefer the method of pie-throwing protest she describes.

    A friend sent me the following link to a site about how Wal-Mart is essentially Satan. It’s pretty interesting, but there is a huge amount of information to sift through.
    http://wakeupwalmart.com/facts/

    • megz
    • April 21st, 2009

    At the end of our last class period, I found it interesting how Steve pointed out the fact that both Juffer and Klein emphasize that the way to solve these problems is to come together to create alliances that would make change happen. Klein talks about this idea when she addresses local foreign policy. If community organizations can come together against a corporation using unfair labor policies, they can hypothetically make a major difference. This occurred when the students at many universities came together against the Pepsi corporation because they didn’t like Pepsi’s involvement with the conflicts in Burma. It took a few years, but they managed to make Pepsi change their practices.

    Juffer emphasizes the same thing when she encourages single mothers to become a part of a network. People need to work together and rely on one another/support one another while uniting for a certain cause. Without this support system, people wouldn’t be able to stand up against corporations because they wouldn’t have the resources to do so.

    • higgybear
    • April 21st, 2009

    Haha I love that south park episode with wall mart. But remember what happened at the end of the episode. After the boys destroy the heart of Wall-mart they all decide to start shopping at the local store. It grows so large that it became another Wall-mart. The point that the episode makes is that what makes these companies so large and powerfull is us. Yes it would be simple if we could boycott Wall-Mart, but would that stop us from shopping? No, i don’t think it would. However we might not be able to stop this phenomenom, I believe boycotting would be as effective as it was with the montgomery bus boycott. If a company isn’t getting revenue they will do whatever necessary to change that.

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