Network: The Boardroom Scene

“You have meddled with the primary forces of nature, Mr Beale, and I won’t have it! Is that clear?”

Here’s a scene from another one of my all time favorite movies. I know somewhere I have a copy of it. It may be available somewhere on-line, but YouTube will have to do for now.

I have to say that back in the 70’s I found it amazing and almost fantastical in its story.

Nearly 40 years later it prophetic.

From 1976, Paddy Chayefsky’s Network

Here is the speech in its entirety:

You have meddled with the primary forces of nature, Mr Beale, and I won’t have it! Is that clear?

You think you merely stopped a business deal. That is not the case. The Arabs have taken billions of dollars out of this country, and now they must put it back! It is ebb and flow, tide and gravity. It is ecological balance.

You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no Third Worlds. There is no West. There is only one holistic system of systems. One vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multi-varied, multi-national dominion of dollars. Petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars, reichmarks, rands, rubles, pounds and shekels.

It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic, and sub-atomic and galactic structure of things today.

And YOU have meddled with the primal forces of nature. And you will atone.

Am I getting through to you, Mr Beale?

You get up on your little twenty-one inch screen and howl about America and democracy. There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T, and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today.

What do you think the Russians talk about in their Councils of State? Karl Marx? They get out their linear programming charts, statistical decision theories, mini-max solutions, and compute the price-cost probabilities of their transactions and investments, just like we do.

We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr Beale. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable bye-laws of of business. The world is a business, Mr Beale. It has been since man crawled out of the slime.

And our children will live, Mr Beale, to see that … perfect … world in which there is no war nor famine, oppression or brutality. One vast and ecumenical holding company for whom all men will work to serve a common profit. In which all men will hold a share of stock.

All necessities provided. All anxieties tranquilized. All boredom amused.

4 Comments on “Network: The Boardroom Scene

  1. “And YOU have meddled with the primal forces of nature. And you will atone.” I have this sentence in my mp3 player (among other great lines from movies), and sometimes when we have friends over, this comes out of the speakers to great effect.

  2. I forgot how much I liked this movie. I remember CBS aired it in the late 70s and a huge scandal ensued because Faye Dunaway said the word “fuck.” Once. I was living in Mpls at the time, and later that night I actually heard people shouting out their windows: “I’M MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!”

    • I saw this in the theater twice in St. Cloud. The second time the audience chimed in during the pivotal scene. But hey, talk about drop-dead gorgeous, bad-ass bitches; how about that Faye Dunaway. Not exactly a role-model, but holy shit.

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