Monthly Archives: October 2013

Ideology in Gender and Family

When viewed now from the perspective of a cynical college student in 2013, the film One, Two, Three is a parody of American Cold War mentality.  The humor makes it hard for me to discern what is parody and what is intended to be an export of American ideology. The parodies of divisions between ideologies are most interestingly contrasted in the depictions of gender and the family.  The depictions of family values on each side illuminate the differences between the communist and American systems.

In this film, the three main women are each portrayed as problem-causing, tools and means to particular ends.  However, each of them is portrayed slightly differently in relation to the ideology they correspond to.  The German secretary is portrayed as the classic blonde alluring figure, who is used by the American capitalist to manipulate the corruptible Russians.  She has no real allegiances, and is easily tossed from one post-war conqueror to another.  Scarlet, the ‘fast’ southern lady is a problem-causing bimbo who has no understanding of politics.  She is the spoiled daughter of an American capitalist, who is brainwashed by both American ideology and, briefly, Otto’s communism.  Her obliviousness is deeply troubling, but her extravagant lifestyle is one that many original viewers of the film might have envied, suggesting that the greatness of the American system could allow for the possibility of a person like her who has everything and doesn’t even need to think.  Mrs. MacNamara, the real American woman is the only one with any agency.  She exercises her agency and her free and rational decision-making through returning to American, indicating her complete conviction of the superiority of American to everywhere else.

Scarlet’s pregnancy reveals the divides in family values between the communist and American system.  Otto talks about the state health care and day care with excitement, but Scarlet is put off by the idea that the rearing of her child would be done by the state. The lavish lifestyle full of luxuries that the baby would ostensibly have as an American capitalist child is depicted as the opposite to the stripped bare communist life. The American family in this depiction values marriage between social equals, thus the need for Otto to be portrayed as a member of the European elite. The dichotomy between capitalism and communism is thus portrayed in extremes of poverty and opulence.

 

In the MacNamara family, the draw of the classical suburban lifestyle wins out in the end, as Mr. MacNamara returns to Atlanta as his wife wished.  She wants the stability, safety, predictability and comforts of the American life, namely the commodities peanut butter sandwiches and braces.

Contradictions within American ideology are also seen.  As a son-in-law for the wealthy American capitalist, Otto must play a dual role, as both aristocrat and entrepreneur.  His success with his father in law comes from his perceived attributes as both born into privileged and working hard to achieve success.  The falseness and duality of the American dream is seen in this expectation.  If Otto works hard he can advance, but he must, in reality, start from a position of relative privilege in order to achieve success.

The film depicts American ideology as consumable and desirable.  Just as the East German police officer is successfully bribed by the universally appealing product Coca Cola, Otto too is eventually drawn into accepting the superiority of America.

The Sinister Powers of Consumer Culture

In “Not Like Us,” Pells discusses the export of American films to Europe in the 1950s and 60s to demonstrate the power of consumer culture as a political and economic tool. His argument complements deGrazia’s comparison in “Irresistible Empire” of political sovereignty and sovereign consumerism, and is further exemplified by the film “One, Two, Three.” DeGrazia distinguishes the two systems as state responsibility to provide basic necessities to the people (Europe) versus consumer freedom as the basis for human rights, progress, and living standards (America). The latter system was imposed on Europe following World War II through the Marshall Plan, which provided economic assistance to devastated economies, while enforcing American cultural norms in order, according to deGrazia, to make Europe more homogenous and “firmly [insert it] into the American-dominated world economy.” (346) One of the ways the strategies used to convince Europe of the validity of ideologies, at the expense of some of their own cherished beliefs, was through “non-ideological language.” Pells uses the film industry as an example; U.S. politicians used their power to give American production companies easy access to European markets because they saw the benefit of Europeans being exposed to films showcasing American values and living standards. Films such as “One, Two, Three” accomplish the goal of promoting consumerism and showing it to be the basis of a modern, free, and viable system.

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An key concept from deGrazia that is made blatant in the film is the American idea that, by embracing consumerism, European nations would relate to each other through production rather than through militancy; “henceforth competition among them was no longer measured in terms of the power of arms, size of colonial territories, or wealth of empire, but within the framework of comparative data on gross national product [and] inflation rates.” (356) This suggested American system prized consumer culture as an economic and political tool to fight Communism, and signified for Europeans an alternative to the “perennial state of war in the 20th century [that] had been the major obstacle to raising living standards.” The power of culture is shown in the film through its effects on Scarlett Hazletine’s Communist boyfriend Otto, who functions as the story’s antagonist. In order to break Otto and transform him from loathed Communist to presentable husband, McNamara does not use physical force or money, but American music, styles, and objects. In one scene, the song “Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” is played to him while he is bound to a chair; Otto screams and writhes in pain while listening to this song, reminding the viewers of a torture scene. He is also effectively tortured by being forced to have his nails and hair cut, and to be dressed in American-style clothing. However, by the time the Hazletines arrive, he is perfectly presentable; they are taken with him and he is offered the job that McNamara, who is responsible for this transformation, had been hoping for all along. Through antagonizing the USSR and showing the transformative power of cultural influence, the film shows the viewer that physical torture is something Soviets do to rob people of their freedom, while cultural enlightenment is what Americans do to spread freedom and ideals to the world. The message is not completely rosy, though, because when the Bikini song is slowed down and made deeper, the effect is chilling, and viewers are provoked to consider the sinister implications of seemingly meaningless cultural effects.

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The impact that “One, Two, Three” shows American cultural exports, which seem frivolous in their domestic context, to have on foreigners leads back to the Pells piece. One debate he presents is the reaction on both sides of the Atlantic to the pervasiveness of American films following World War II. European critics accused studios of monopolizing the industry and destroying European cultural identity; however, Americans claimed that they were simply extending consumer choice to Europeans, who now had the option to enjoy American films but were ultimately capable of deciding whether or not to partake in it. The root of this issue is whether consumer choice actually provides agency to citizens. Otto, who, through becoming Americanized, is able to obtain his in-laws’ approval, a stable future for his family, and a new job, suggests that consumer culture is the key to progress. However, the movie’s sinister undertones, including Scarlett’s brainless acceptance of American ideals without any comprehension of the political truths behind them, complicates the message of the film which, while clearly showing the superiority of consumer mentality, also allows for discomfort with it.

Ideological Representations in One, Two, Three

Billy Wilder’s One, Two, Three alludes to the ideological conflicts between the capitalist and communist worlds. The film is set in West Berlin during the Cold War. The location of the protagonist MacNamara and his company Coca Cola symbolize American ideals clashing against those of East Berlin and the USSR. Through a comedic portrayal, a battle ensues between the character’s competing values of their respective political and economic systems.

Scarlett Hazeltine and Otto Piffl’s union represent the ideological conflicts between communism and capitalism. Scarlett is the product of American consumerism as the daughter of wealthy Coca Cola executive, Wendell Hazeltine. She is adorned with the latest fashions including expensive jewelry and fur coats. Conversely, Otto is depicted in ragged clothes, no socks, and he doesn’t wear shorts – an Americanized view of a typical communist. He despises the materialist draw to capitalism and its inequity, describing the system as “… a dead herring in the moonlight. It shines, but it stinks!” Following plans of their move to the USSR, Scarlett gives up her fur coat in response to Otto’s communist claim that every woman should have a fur coat before somebody has two. She is too stupid to comprehend his meaning and looks forward to breakfast in bed due to a lack of table and chairs. The respective possessions and values of Otto and Scarlett represent the variance in principles between the two systems.

At the end of the film, MacNamera attempts to “Americanize” Otto as he must pretend to renounce his communist background in order to appear presentable to Scarlett’s parents. Otto vehemently resists these attempts, sticking to his belief that capitalism is an inferior system. Through a series of fast paced scenes, American capitalism ‘triumphs’ over communism through the benefits of consumerism and capitalist culture. “Consumers could choose liquids, powders, or flakes; boxes, sacks, plastic bottles, or cardboard drums” (De Grazia, 421). This quote provides a real life example of consumer culture and the production of a wide range of products in a capitalist market. MacNamera chooses between a mass of different colored suit jackets, coats, pants, and accessories to properly dress Otto as a respectable American and non-communist. In the race against time scene driving to the airport to meet with Scarlett’s parents, boxes of hats are carelessly thrown out the window until one is chosen as suitable. After a few blunders in maintaining his role, the Hazeltines fall for the façade and capitalism succeeds.

One, Two, Three presents a comedic take on tensions between the USSR and the United States due to the polarity of their political systems. Each character in the film is representative of their respective systems. The interactions between these characters mirror conflicts in the ideologies of the communist and capitalist system.

One, Two, Three and Corporations Abroad

In just the description of Billy Wilder’s One, Two, Three, on the back of the VHS cover, it was obvious that the film was going to be a fast paced one, if not a completely hectic and overwhelming one.  The film proved to be just that, while also providing a great deal of commentary on United States corporations as well as the United States’ mentality and demeanor as a whole.  The film was funny, witty, and also downright stressful.  At all times of the film, MacNamara could always be found solving a problem, hearing about a new problem, or finding out that the solution to another problem was no longer necessary.  While the film was certainly amusing to watch, the greater message conveyed about American corporations and the attitude towards expanding internationally was certainly not an amusing one, but rather a message that exemplified the severity of how corporations are “generally referring to a for-profit organization that can operate at the discretion of its owners and managers free of social and legislative control” (Newfield, 66).

In his discussion of corporations, Christopher Newfield describes how, “A business corporation can own property; buy, sell, and control assets, including other corporations; pay or avoid taxes; write or break contracts; make and market products; and engage in every kind of economic activity,” while also having no liability for any of the company’s debts (Newfield, 66).  In addition, Newfield examines how corporations have been able to recast themselves “as the world’s only true modernizers, capable of moving the economy and society relentlessly forward, often against their will,” but well enough that we are so dependent on large corporations and therefore allow the initial recasting to occur (Newfield, 70).

These corporate values were very much reflected in One, Two, Three.  In attempting to solve all of the problems related to Scarlett and Otto, MacNamara could constantly be seen engaging in “every kind of economic activity,” in that he was so desperate to reshape Otto into an “appropriate” man, with no communist beliefs and therefore started an entire process of bartering for Otto from East Berlin, buying Otto a completely new wardrobe, reshaping him into an ideal “American” man, and preserving Scarlett’s virtue through Otto’s behavior (Newfield, 66).  MacNamara purchased so many different types of services and products in order to ensure that Otto appeared presentable to his new father-in-law, an example of controlling assets, because MacNamara’s sole intention behind all of the trouble he went through was so he would be able to be promoted and achieve a higher position.  MacNamara stripped Otto of his anti-capitalist values, so that MacNamara would be able to support his own very capitalist values and move up in the corporation.

Throughout the film, we see MacNamara engage in all types of economic activity, everything but the activity that relates to the expansion of Coca-Cola as a corporation.  Instead, MacNamara uses his status as an executive for Coca-Cola in order to manipulate and exercise his power and control with the Scarlett and Otto situation, which supports how corporations can and do “operate at the discretion of its owners and managers free of social and legislative control” (Newfield, 66).  Therefore, the film portrays a United States corporation as a means to solve conflicts that arise in executives’ personal lives, and as a means to manipulate and control outside agencies and factors.  While MacNamara and Coca-Cola certainly had a lot of power throughout the movie, the power was also misused in order to solely benefit the executives of Coca-Cola and create disadvantages for those who were considered un-American.

After watching the film, I couldn’t help but wonder how accurate this depiction of United States corporations abroad was.  In addition, while the film was released in 1961, how different are our “American” views and values now?  Have they changed?

Propaganda

The film “One, Two, Three” provides a unique look at the harsh realities of U.S. imperialism through the lens of comedy. Throughout the movie, we see glimpses of Americanization. Particularly striking is the prominent map across the wall of Macnamara’s office which shows how far spread Coca-Cola had become even at that point. Overall, the film portrays how the United States aimed to infuse its own culture across the world. The cuckoo clock symbolizes the United State’s power throughout the film, and serves as a constant reminder of who really has control. Each time it goes off, the clock reminds the characters of their true mission of Americanization. As Macnamara rushes to perfect Otto’s new character, the clock constantly reminds him that the time is short for assimilation.

“One, Two, Three” puts you on the side of the capitalists, since the “enemy” is portrayed as East Germany and the Russians, or anyone who stood in the way of the infiltration of American culture in their country. Although I do not label myself as a full supporter of capitalism, I found myself hoping that Otto would assimilate to the American way, as Macnamara wished, because the plot placed me (or the viewer) on Macnamara’s side. Undoubtedly, this film intertwines politics into its script, and I find it noteworthy that it is written in favor of the American movement. They speak of American propaganda throughout the film, but the film in and of itself could be considered anti-communist propaganda.

Otto is portrayed as a lesser being to the American family. From his appearance, Macnamara and his family viewed Otto as crazy and unworthy of Scarlett’s love and attention. Otto’s appearance is disheveled and he looks ridiculous next to the well-dressed Americans. He is also portrayed as a crazy radical with ideas that were made to seem absurd. Otto’s differences climax when the family rushes to make him into a worth partner of Scarlett, as he seemingly becomes more and more barbaric as they try to make him more American. This portrays communists as crazy compared to their level-headed American counterparts. However, the film ends on a happy note as Otto finally accepts his new role as a capitalists and his barbarity dissipates. When Otto finally acts like a “good American”, he finally seems familiar to the audience.

Because the film portrays the communists as barbaric creatures with absurd ideas, it serves as a form of pro-American propaganda. As stated earlier, the viewer feels inclined to root for the success of Macnamara, not Otto and Scarlett. Many times, Otto’s views are even laughed at for being so ridiculous. This idea of the film being used as propaganda is mirrored in Pells piece on the influence of American mass culture. He argues that films were a primary way in which the United States was able to infiltrate its culture into most of Europe and other parts of the world so successfully because they were easily accessible to many audiences and stylistically pleasing. Since movies were a tool for the United States to spread their views across the world, I am not surprised that Wilder’s film took a strong pro-American stance. The film seems like an easy-going comedy about a man’s life, but the political undertones suggest otherwise. I cannot claim that Wilder made this film with the intention of using it as propaganda, however I believe that any foreign audience would also be swayed to side with the Americans.

Capitalist Movie Madness

 

As a avid cinema consumer and Italian student I have experienced many forms of cinematic display from the 1960’s ranging from Fellini’s plays and documentaries to unseen directors cuts from Pasolini’s La Dolce vita. The messages conveyed in movies of this era vary but almost always touch upon the delicate political situations of the time. One, Two, Three by Billy Wilder is no exception, I found myself laughing and even commiserating with the storyline as the gradual take over of consumer capitalism in the movie is still so applicable to life today, while a rather over exaggerated and unrealistic situation is displayed the overarching themes of the movie hit at a deeply political and unstable aspect of the world at that time.

Small details of the movie that were meant to be funny or silly really stuck out to me as significant indicators of capitalism, its effects on people and the political situation, the names of certain expensive clothing items in the escalation dressing scene that could be tied to certain negative or unallied countries along with the sheer absurdity and frivolity of the transformation scene in general. The significance of the German secretary and her sexualization, exploitation, and commodification by both the Americans and the Russians ties into the political and economic atmosphere and the real punchline of the entire movie, the pepsi bottle in the vending machine bought by the Coca Cola man just seals the deal for me. I felt like it accurately demonstrated the excess, extreme and competitive nature of capitalism even in divided Germany during the Cold War.

pepsi-vs-coke

As one of my classmates pointed out in their blog post One, two, three, four, five six…. the movie does run extremely long and maybe as they said, 45 mins too long but if we refer to the reading by Pells we are given an insight into the cinematic mood of this time period which would not have necessarily agreed. Movie goers were eager for European movies and European based movies as there was a shift in the demand right around the time of the production of One, Two, Three. While it did not do well at the box office it is a prime example of the cinematic displays of the time, all at once a political satire, comedic show and love story while it’s supremely quick paced actions gave the audience a hard and fast political slap in the face. The movie accurately demonstrates the audiences desire for a break from reality, i.e. length, while still giving them the satire and politics of the time period.

Ironically the building of the Berlin Wall disrupted production of the movie and makes the film an even more significant historical piece to us, capturing both the political and social climates of the 1960’s and forever recording it in black and white. I would love to know if the director of the film had any idea of the political upset about to occur and how his movie was influenced by the building of the Berlin Wall. Did he have any idea of the effects the wall would have or how long it would scar the face of Berlin and it’s people and how relevant his movie would be to capitalism today?

A Material World: Transplanting Capitalistic Values Abroad

Billy Wilder’s film “One, two, three” is a lighthearted but revealing picture of attitudes toward the idea of freedom in relation to capitalism and consumerism through the conduit of Americanization. The fact that the film centers around the life of an American Coca-Cola executive living abroad is enough to set the stage for this overarching theme. The film exemplifies quite well the article from de Grazia–the sweeping picture that we are given from the onset of the film aligns West Germany with American capitalist-consumerist values: brand names are everywhere, MacNamera works in a shiny penthouse-level office above a flourishing Berlin in economic boom, and even MacNamera’s secretary is dressed in the latest fashions and an obvious consumer of fashionable beauty products as well. As MacNamera lords over this setting, a sense of American empire is established–after all, how could Berlin look the same way if not for the Americans occupying and rebuilding it, pouring in not only money from the Marshall Plan, but also products, products, products, thereby cultivating a hunger for a consumer-driven existence? West Berlin was a golden poster child for the model on which other countries should “package themselves..to become the objects of America’s generosity” (de Grazia 337) and the first impressions we receive upon viewing the film are what a good bet that turned out to be for West Germany.

Throughout the film, the characters and material objects and the way in which they are portrayed serve as symbols for the American value placed on consumerism; these symbols in contrast with the depiction of East Berlin behind the Iron Curtain serve to further cement the ideological divide between a Western capitalist and democratic school of thought and socialist and communist schools of thought. Scarlet, the ridiculous executive-daughter of MacNamera’s boss, represents the frivolity and luxury that go alongside capitalistic ventures–while I wouldn’t say that Scarlet is necessarily a positive depiction of the typical merits of capitalism (the idea of a work ethic, for one) she herself is a literal “product” of a capitalist–pretty to look at, but perhaps not a lot of individual time or care put it to create. However, while Scarlet isn’t the brightest crayon in the box, she is certainly portrayed as a happy, if naive and silly, person.

MacNamera, on the other hand, exemplifies all the favorable qualities of a capitalist: resourceful, a problem-solver, innovative, quick-thinking, assertive, successful, and always with a few tricks up his sleeve to turn the odds in his favor. As MacNamera scrambles to untangle the mess that he was dragged into, all of his admirable capitalist qualities come through to save him–we see this as he “snaps his fingers” through the last 20 minutes of the film, putting everything that is wrong, right. This could be aligned with a larger commentary on the potential of capitalism as an organizational system–everything that got muddled up by Scarlet’s dealings in East Berlin and consequent dragging of communists into MacNamera’s life is snappily and hurriedly fixed up by all the wonders of consumer products—a few examples: MacNamera uses the Coca-Cola to get in through the Brandenburg Gate, he displays his fashionably-clad secretary to the Russians to get what he wants out of them, he outruns the Russians in an automobile race as his shiny new car outpaces the shabby Russian vehicle that is literally falling apart, he turns Otto himself into an acceptable “product” for the American parents through the array of consumer products at his fingertips. MacNamera’s ability to weave through sets of problems with agility, adeptness, and cleverness all harkens back to his background as a capitalist and the resources he is able to attain as a participant consumer.

Although the film is set in West Germany, it’s difficult to feel as if much is different from America. It is simply as if not only an American businessman and his family, but a whole way of life, has been picked up and transplanted in West Germany–and the opposition to that–East Germany and the communists, are painted as dangerous, radical, disillusioned, corrupt, and lagging behind the modern world in terms of both products and progressive mindsets. It is hard to ignore the contrast in setting as soon as MacNamera passes through the gate to East Berlin–automatically, we see images of ruins and shabbiness.

Although I think the film largely glorifies the ideas of Americanization, consumerism, and capitalism, that’s not to say it doesn’t raise any ideological problems with these things either–after all, MacNamara is constantly torn between his family life and the fast-paced, demanding capitalist lifestyle–which raises a critique of capitalism in the realm of Marx’s “alienation” theories. We also see that the system is actually unfairly skewed, as MacNamara, having worked hard and solved all of the plot’s problems, is passed over for the promotion he rightfully deserves, and the position is instead given to the fake “product” that he created. This could probably get really “meta” or something, but I won’t go there and just say instead that we see a flawed system that doesn’t always produce the outcomes that it SHOULD–however, it still gives us the beautiful, shiny, and comfortable world within which the film is set—overall, I think viewers seeing this film will gravitate more towards the positive aspects of consumer life and capitalism than digging deep to find any possible hidden critiques. American viewers will more deeply connect with the merits of capitalism as a result, and foreign viewers will hope to emulate the model posed by West Germany as an ideal vision of a new shift toward consumerism and capitalism, American-style.

The Mold of American Capitalism

Billy Wilder’s One, Two, Three metaphorically parallels imperialist American capitalism to magic. After watching the film I interpreted the title to depict the swiftness of the systematics of American imperialism. As if in a matter of seconds (“one, two, three”), “the American way of life”, defined by Scarlet in the movie, can and should be attained. The scene in which Otto is unwillingly being altered to fit within the molds of Americanization directly parallels to American imperialism. With a clean hair cut and new clothes ones life will transform for the better. Otto is literally being polished into the American ideology. In the end of the movie it seems as if he actually accepts it while talking with Scarlett’s parents. This idealist view of American culture shows how misperceptions may formulate from Americans promoting capitalism themselves. What is this movie alluding to about the negatives of American capitalism?

Inequality within American capitalism is emphasized with this film. “One woman should not have two mink coats until everyone has one.” The capitalist characters in the movie could not fathom this idea of an equal playing field for all. Ultimately, I believe many capitalist Americans today still would not be able to fathom the idea due to a lens masked by a materialistic culture. This video, American Capitalism, attempts to summarize the realities of American capitalism. America is depicted in a negative light in which the greedy Americans take land, water, and basic needs of people just to replace it with capitalist means such as gasoline and Coca Cola. It is interesting how Coca Cola (at 1:17) plays the role in both the movie and this short video as an unnecessary capitalist industry. Why then do so many nations contradict themselves by craving these products, like coke, produced by capitalist industries? The East Berlin police in One, Two, Three was more than happy to confiscate the Coca Cola as “evidence.” America is truly an “irresistible empire” in some respects as stated in Grazia’s, The Consumer-Citizen.

The portrayal of forceful Americanization amongst Germany is prominent in the movie; however, Wilder does not neglect to point out the flaws of communist leaders as well. When the communist leader came to the Coca Cola office after crashing his car, he tells Otto that he had framed his partners; Otto being a man of loyalty was appalled. Otto ultimately questions the morals of humanity with the line “is all of humanity corrupt?” This is a commonality agreed on by both the communists and the capitalists in the movie.

One, Two, Three, although focuses on the differences between the two ideologies, it also questions the similarities between the two. Depending on how one views something, various ideas can formulate. This is truly exemplified within the movie when Otto opposes capitalism within the Coca Cola office by ranting on about equality; he unknowingly quotes Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and the American pledge of allegiance. The basis of each ideology ultimately comes from similar sources; however, the way various people perceive them to mean differs.

 

 

One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six…

Repetition is one of the corner stones of comedy. Think of Rodney Dangerfield’s “I can’t get no respect” punchline, or Jeff Foxworthy’s irritating but limitlessly successful “You might be a redneck” shtick. The jokes are simple, the circumstances and underlying emotions are universally understood, and the end result is a sort of humor-in-bulk, because the solitary line isn’t powerful or creative enough to stand alone after one recitation. But you always know what you’re going to get with comics that subscribe to that routine, even if it’s weak and unimaginative.

You’re driving through the boonies, and you need something to eat. You stop in Nowhere, Nowhere. In Nowhere, there are two dining options: the local diner/truck-stop, or McDonalds. You chose McDonalds. But why? Because the Big Mac is the same everywhere in world. Even in Nowhere, Nowhere you know what you’re getting. It’s not good, but it’s consistent. One, Two, Three is the movie equivalent of the Big Mac. It’s predictable, family-friendly, consistent, not very good, and too many empty cinematic calories–the movie is 45 minutes too long!

The climactic scene of One, Two, Three is the car chase from the East Berlin prison where Otto is being held, across the gate back into the civilized, capitalist world in the west. All of the stylistic and symbolic work is evident and works well. The communists torture Otto with “Yellow Polkadot Bikini” to force his confession; communist architecture is in ruin; boorish Russian trade commissars lusting after a curvaceous, blonde secretary, whose femininity hasn’t been destroyed by socialism. Finally, is there a better way to underscore the merits of a free market than a Russian sports car falling to pieces chasing the product of capitalist engineering? Through this scene in the film, repetitive gags like the typists standing at attention when Mac walks into the office, and the former SS attendant clicking his heels with each order are been fun, even tolerable. But after the chase, One, Two, Three falls victim to greed, adding 30-plus minutes of superfluous, snapping, shopping, and anti-communist propaganda.

For the first hour of the movie, the product was good, funny, and the jokes well conceived. But the incessant reiteration of the exact same thing diluted the message. And isn’t that one of the major pitfalls of real, working capitalism? Make something that, at the onset, is good, innovative. When what’s made is proven to be good and reliable, make more of it, reducing the quality if the product in the process. In the end we have a good that is mass produced, stale, and watered-down. One, Two, Three follows the trajectory of a product or company like Coca Cola, which was an important part of the plot: One, Two, Three started off fun and novel; Four, Five, Six, etc. it ended up too big, inescapable, and bad. At least it was consistent.

 

Wilder and Corporations

While watching Wilder’s One, Two, Three movie, the concept of corporations and their true value, meaning, and reason for existence stuck out to me.  In the movie, Mac wants to bring Coke to the Soviet Union.  How easy it is to back-stab is an underlying theme throughout the movie.

This same theme was present throughout a recent article I read from Sports On Earth (http://www.sportsonearth.com/article/63460058/) about concussions and the NFL.  The NFL is certainly a corporation, a multi-billion dollar one at that, and they will seemingly do anything, or tried to do anything, to hide the true effects of concussions.  Whether it was ex-players who were hurt from concussions becoming intimately involved from the NFL’s side, covering up facts and hiding in denial, or saying one thing in public and doing another in private, the NFL was willing to go to any and all measures to cover up concussions and their effects.

This is similar and relates to our class discussion from this morning, about the allusion of choice that exists in a free market economy.  Here, the NFL players thought they had or were able to make choices on the doctors they went to, but in realty, the NFL controlled those decisions.  And the doctors they saw may not have always had their best interests in mind.  The NFL used their influences and resources – mainly media and money, to dominate the market and public opinion.

Dallas Clark getting hit hard enough to cause a concussion - and likely long-term effects on his health.

Dallas Clark getting hit hard enough to cause a concussion – and likely long-term effects on his health.