A few decent articles from this weekend's globe and mail:
Russell Smith: Step outside the church of business for a moment
Proof that corporate culture is the new religion: its scandals, its ulcered intestines and remorseful self-loathing; the total astonishment of the media that their idols live in a corrupt and fantastical world. All this exactly parallels the convulsions of the Catholic Church.
Bad luck seemed to happen at the same time in both cases. Just as sexual-abuse allegations against priests seemed to tumble from the rafters across North America all at once, the corporate giants exploded and the expense-account tycoons were unearthed in several major companies in two tumultuous months. The most fervent promoters of business as the model for all human endeavour -- George W. Bush, for example -- became sanctimonious critics of the very culture that they have helped to create.
But sin and repentance don't shake a religion; they are a part of the religion. And the corruption in the system is so well known (again, as with the church), that many of its defenders are rationalizing the excesses, explaining them away as necessary. We have got to such a point of blind corporate worship that intelligent commentators can actually add up the orgiastic expenses of Eleanor Clitheroe, former CEO of Hydro One, and say they were justified, that the poor woman is victim of a witch-hunt.
Simon Houpt: Alotta promotion
This is what synergy looks like. For weeks, AOL's on-line service has been promoting Goldmember to its more than 34-million subscribers around the world. The current issue of AOL-owned magazine Entertainment Weekly features Austin Powers on the cover, with half a dozen articles on the movie inside. Last week, a division of Warner Music released the film's soundtrack.
This week, the AOL-owned U.S. cable station TBS aired the previous two Austin Powers movie to whet appetites. Eager moviegoers who wanted to buy tickets before yesterday's opening could log onto AOL-owned Moviefone.com and drown in Austin ads. On Wednesday, Mike Myers received a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, an event dutifully reported by AOL media outlets CNN, People magazine, and a couple of dozen Web sites.
A side note on Austin Powers III: don't see it. It sucks. Ok, the first three minutes are priceless, but the rest of it just falls flat. And it's offensive. (And why is it that when Mike Myers decided to offensive/gross/politically incorrect/whatever, he did so in a way that unfalteringly upheld racist stereotypes? Wouldn't it be so much more interesting to offend sensibilities in a way that undermines the stereotypes? As a bonus, that approach would automatically not be gross and unoriginal, since no mainstream film producer has the guts - or moral sense - to do it.) I saw AP III on Thursday, but I still feel dirty.
Tom Tommorrow features a frozen Republican.
Meanwhile, Ashcroft holds daily prayer meetings at work.