January 15, 2005

Evil corporations and The Corporation

Though I've been out of school just a few months shy of the time I spent in, I still regularly read the school newspaper, Imprint to keep abreast of goings-on on campus.

Here's an article that caught my eye simply because it is a review of The Corporation, something I've seen and reviewed on this blog myself. The author, a psychology major, makes note of a bit of intellectual dishonesty that I had overlooked (but he's right):

A highlight of this movie involves a U.S. government specialist performing a diagnosis of "the corporation" by using the DSM-IV (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fourth edition - a tool that many psychologists and psychiatrists use to diagnose mental illnesses). Yet, the "specialist" does not focus his diagnosis on one single corporation, but instead takes the worst effects of many corporations - immorality of Enron, pollution by Exxon and the like - to paint an incredibly skewed picture of the whole.

[Full Story]

Put more simply, the producers found Corporation A guilty of Sin I, Corporation B guilty of Sin II, and so forth, therefore all corporations are guilty of I, II, etc. This is known as the fallacy of hasty generalization.

I used to love the freebie movies for the same reason as the author: you had a chance to see crap you wouldn't pay for otherwise.