Comfortable and Furious

Corporations: Part 2

Blake in Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)

When I worked as an English teacher in Saudi Arabia my company got a bunch of us a second job at a public institute. During an introductory meeting, our new boss Ahmed walked in and told us he had no doubt that some teachers would not be up to scratch and they’d be fired. Well, I almost stood up, blew a raspberry and walked out. This guy was obviously a self-important arse. I mean, who threatens to get rid of people in a meet ‘n’ greet? What’s wrong with instead offering support and encouragement, my door is always open, that sort of thing?

So, anyway, after three weeks I nearly got booted for ignoring his anal instructions before succumbing to the sack about a month after that. I was unbothered as I didn’t much like having a second job anyway, but to this day I swear I know nothing about those slashed tyres on Ahmed’s SUV.

In Glengarry the vicious motivational trainer, Blake (Alec Baldwin), does much the same douchebag thing with four real estate salesmen, telling them they’ll be fired after a week unless their sales dramatically perk up. “You can’t close the leads you’re given, you can’t close shit,” he rages at them. “You are shit. Hit the bricks, pal, and beat it because you are going out… Only one thing counts in this life: get them to sign on the line. You hear me, you fucking faggots?”

Flipping heck, Ahmed doesn’t seem quite so bad.

Indeed, Blake is so mean he won’t even let you sip a cup of coffee while he hurls such nail-studded pearls of wisdom at you. After all, ‘coffee is for closers’. This is a man who radiates aggression and contempt, convinced of his innate superiority to those he’s ‘motivating’ because he drives a flashier car and sports a more expensive watch on his wrist. His attempt to incentivise, which includes teaching them the ABCs (i.e. Always Be Closing), is nothing but a super-charged torrent of bullying, abuse and threats. In Blake’s foul-mouthed, dog-eat-dog world, masculinity equates to sales. In short, if you can’t close, you lack ‘brass balls’.

Now it’s a case of survival of the fittest for the four salesmen, a situation not too dissimilar to Enron’s ‘rank and yank’, a brutal process in which up to twenty percent of unfavorably reviewed employees were fired each year. Baldwin’s alpha male, weight-throwing cameo should set things up nicely, but despite a powerhouse cast, Glengarry suffers from the usual play-based problems of being too talky and having a limited number of sets. Christ, it needs a lot more than verbal violence.






3 responses to “Corporations: Part 2”

  1. Goat Avatar

    GGR is in my Top 10 favorite movies. Blake’s speech was blistering.

  2. John Welsh Avatar
    John Welsh

    ” I mean, who threatens to get rid of people in a meet ‘n’ greet?” A new administrator for the x-ray department.

    1. Goat Avatar

      I take it that your Radiology career was one of your darkest hours.

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