Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Marrying the Corporation Next Door

The Supreme Court has declared that corporations are essentially people (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission), with the same First Amendment rights as those of us who acquired our personhood by spending 9 months in a stuffy womb rather than by filing articles of incorporation in a state Office of Financial Institutions.

This means that corporations have the right to free speech and therefore the ancillary right to spend obscene amounts of corporate money on so-called super PACs--Political Action Committees--which, in turn, have the right to freely use these monies to support the campaigns (and thus buy the votes) of politicians running for office.

At the moment, this aspect of recently-revealed corporate personhood is provoking a great deal of fractious hullabaloo--since clearly the extravagant donations of "people" such as Exxon Mobil or Wellpoint or Wal-Mart can (and likely will) profoundly shape the political landscape--consolidating and perpetuating the dominion of the plutarchs (individual or corporate) in 21st Century America.  Farewell representative democracy.

Well, so it goes, as Kurt Vonnegut was wont to say whenever something or someone died.

But I, gold digger that I am, find myself vastly more interested in a second possible advantage of corporate personhood:  now that corporations are people, why couldn't I render my future more secure by marrying a corporation--preferably one of the Fortune 500?

You will object, of course, that in most states at least, marriage has been defined as between one man and one woman.  But since corporations are now people, and since people are necessarily either men or women (well, mas o menos), it seems perfectly logical to assume that at least SOME corporations would be suitably equipped to make me a happy family man.

It is a bit of a conundrum, though, this business of determining the gender of a specific corporation.  How is that to be done?  Can one turn a corporation upside down and examine its private parts?  Probably not.

My hunch is that registrars at marriage bureaus, when confronted with corporation/people seeking marriage licenses, will simply have to make an educated, sight-based, judgment.  And if it appears to the registrar--in his or her best estimation--that two persons of opposite gender are applying, the requisite document will have to be delivered.

Of course, in a handful of states, marriage equality laws have rendered the actual gender of applicants irrelevant--males can marry females OR males; females can marry males OR females.  One of these progressive person-friendly states would certainly be the ideal locale for my prospective marriage.  (Anything-goes-Iowa--woo-hoo--is just 60 miles away, so no sweat!)

Whew.  Well, that takes care of the gender issue.  But now the truly BIG problem presents itself:  which corporation should I set my cap for?  Wal-Mart?  GM?  Exxon?  Best Buy? Zappos?

Like everyone, I suppose, I am initially attracted to Apple.  What a person that Apple is!  Cool, sexy, articulate, witty, sophisticated.  Apple has everything and I love him/her deliriously.

Upon reflection, though, I know that my Apple-passion can never be consummated.  Unquestionably, super-cool Apple would simply overwhelm and exhaust me. I know that I could never keep up with his/her witty banter--and I could never master all the cutting edge sex moves, either.  In short, marriage to Apple would inevitably wind up making me feel inadequate and inferior. So no, alas, not Apple.

And not Wal-Mart, for heaven's sake:  he/she would make me feel cheap and vulgar.  Imagine what that sex would be like!

Exxon?  Too unctuous.  Boeing?  Too flighty.  GM? Too high-maintenance.

So, after long consideration, I think I would do best to stick to the boy/girl next door--someone familiar but occasionally inventive, an ordinary person but with a slight flair for the unconventional, a solid citizen who will happily support me in the manner to which I intend to become accustomed and who will always perform nicely in bed without demanding anything too kinky. Who is he/she, you ask.  Now don't laugh or criticize. For my corporate help-mate, I've chosen (trumpet flourish) another nice Minnesotan:  3M.

OK.  I know that 3M is no Apple. Sandpaper and glue and painting accessories have little glamour.  But Post-Its are pretty cool--and so is Scotch Tape--practical, too.  Best of all, though, is the near certainty that I'll have very little competition for stolid 3M's affections.  In fact, if I get cracking, I should be able to wrap up the entire seduction process before Valentine's Day.

One possible hitch:  3M resides in a suburb of Minneapolis, so that means we'll have to present our application to a marriage registrar  in Hennepin County, ordinarily a pretty tolerant place.  Still, if the official is having a bad day and determines that 3M and I are of the "same sex," I'll just have to persuade my sweetheart to take a short trip to Mason City or Des Moines--where no one will give a damn.

Cross your fingers. I'll keep you posted.  (Post-Its, remember.)

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