PENNYMAN. Obviously this comes as a surprise to you, but for some of us, Lucky Wander Boy is not ultimately reducible to a commodity that you buy and process and resell. Lucky Wander Boy epitomizes our struggles, our confusion, our persistence in the face of opponents we cannot even see, much less understand. It means something. Think about that — it has meaning.
KRICKSTEIN. And this wonderful, meaningful fucking thing, did fucking God give it to you? Did fucking Allah tell Moses to pass it on to Jesus and say, “Behold, give this video game to Adam What's-his-name”? No! A corporation made it. A bunch of people who didn’t like it over at Nintendo, who did what disgruntled employees with balls do: they quit, they moved down the street and they started their own corporation, which tried to make money by selling commodities, and they did a shitty job of it, and before they knew it they were out of business. Am I out of business? No, because I know what I’m doing. I know how to sell—
PENNYMAN. You sell bullshit company tours and presentations to venture capitalists! What do you do besides stroke those guys off and speak to them in a language that only people like you and them understand? When Nolan Bushnell started Atari, they made Pong. You make speeches to VCs!
KRICKSTEIN. (Begins to pace clockwise, then counterclockwise around the table.) Okay, so Atari, Atari had meaning to you, “from a cultural standpoint”? Back in the fucking good old days, you found personal meaning in a Home Pong machine or an Atari 2600? You know what Atari needed to make the first batch of Home Pong machines? They needed 10 million dollars of capital. A guy named Don Valentine ventured to get them this capital, and that’s why they could stuff your meaning in a corrugated box and ship it to a store near you!
PENNYMAN. (Sits back down.) I don’t see why the way it was packed has anything to do with—
KRICKSTEIN. Later on, big evil corporations like Sears, Time and Warner Brothers ponied up the capital for your Atari 2600, which was probably just a game to you back then, and has slowly come to symbolize your lost childhood or personal empowerment or who gives a shit what else as you’ve gotten older and become a bigger and bigger fucking loser!
PENNYMAN. I had an Intellivision—
KRICKSTEIN. And Nolan Bushnell, your hero, the guy who came up with your Atari 2600—he was going to flush the 2600 down the toilet! It didn’t sell right away, he got bored with it, he wanted to move on and make something bigger and better that could provide shits like you with even more meaning. That’s what “meaning” people do, they diddle around with something, then they skip along to something else without seeing the first thing through. It was Ray Kassar, the new president of Atari installed by Warner Brothers to replace Bongwater Bushnell, Ray Kassar, that stuffed shirt who rode in limos who nobody liked, it took Ray Kassar, my first boss and one of my fucking heroes to keep all the dope-smoking, deep-thinking morons at Atari in line for long enough to get the 2600 on the shelves and make them the fastest growing company in the history of the United States!
PENNYMAN. (Jumps back to his feet. Points an accusing finger.) I don’t care! It’s bullshit! You sell bullshit, façades, window dressing for empty stores! I’ve heard what you tell these VCs, what you promise them — it’s like all those Coming Soon! announcements you’ve got on portal-entertainment.com for web shows and movies that will never go beyond a splash page. What percentage of your promises ever come to anything? What are the chances you’ll ever make a Lucky Wander Boy movie, as opposed to just making sure no one else does?
KRICKSTEIN. (Demonstrates the following using items from the table:) Okay—when the mommy sea turtle (a dinner roll) sends all those cute little baby sea turtles (tears crumbs from another roll) down the beach to the sea (marches the crumbs toward a pitcher of water), she does it knowing that only three or four will ever get there alive. The rest are gonna get picked off by seagulls (smashes some crumbs with a salt shaker), or rabbits (stabs some crumbs with a fork), or whatever, okay, and sure, the mommy sea turtle cries about it, but there’s nothing she can do. She didn’t make the world that way, but that’s how it is, and it’s probably just as well, otherwise I’d be sitting here at this table up to my ass in fucking sea turtles. If everybody like me saw every promise through, there wouldn’t be any room to breathe, there’d be so much crap building up everywhere, turtles and rabbits and movies and every fucking thing—but you need the promises to keep the machine moving, to keep people working so they have the money they need to spend on the promises that make it to the sea! (Throws a handful of roll crumbs into the pitcher of water) Thank God for my bullshit!
PENNYMAN. (muttering to himself) How can this be?
KRICKSTEIN. Who do you think makes your world possible? (Chucks a dinner roll at Pennyman. Misses.) Who do you think is behind everything, everything that you love, all your goddamned personal meaning? A bullshitter like me, you little shit! (Chucks a dinner roll at Pennyman. Hits his shoulder.) People who get things done so people like you can sit around getting nothing done and feeling fucking profound about all your nothing! (Chucks a dinner roll at Pennyman. Pegs him in the eye.)
PENNYMAN. Ow! (muttering to himself) This can’t be happening, it can’t be playing out this way… .
KRICKSTEIN. Now shut up and eat your pierogies! With sour cream!