Originally posted at Writeindependent.org on November 25, 2011
The most popular movement in our country is this basic sentiment: “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this any more.”
Where did that sentiment come from? It comes from a movie written by Paddy Chayefsky, the famous playwright who penned “Network.” The movie was written before 1976, decrying television as a medium which Chayefsky noted was “an indestructible and terrifying giant that is stronger than the government.”
The sentiments of his character Howard Beale, acted brilliantly by Peter Finch, are the ravings of an insane news anchorman who “lost it” on national television, and unwittingly brought in high ratings which pushed the industry into a “mad as hell” for ratings pandering machine.
What Paddy was against was people watching TV just to fuel or express their anger and frustration. It is a carnival show, and now the show is us, mad as hell on Wall Street, making the institutions we most rail against the very ones that produce our “show” and make money off of us.
I hope you realize by now that my writing isn’t to create an incendiary situation, or to change anyone’s mind about politics, or to topple the wealthy and give to the poor disenfranchised citizens of this country some semblance of respect. My purpose is to say to you: each and every one of you has internal power, your own sense of your self as important in this world. The best you can do is to have meaningful relationships with a few people around you, and be the full expression of your God given talents and abilities within the context of your humanity, never forgetting that your very life comes from this earth and its gifts. If you don’t believe in God, then whatever created you from the ether: claim this mortality as a specific point in time, with your own fingerprints, and develop your own character, man!
Watch this excerpt, if you’ve never seen the movie or you just want to see this impassioned speech again: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dib2-HBsF08
This is not my favorite excerpt from the film, however. If you keep coming back, I will show it to you.