HOWARD BEALE WAS RIGHT “I’M MAD AS HELL”

HOWARD BEALE WAS RIGHT “I’M MAD AS HELL”

 Much of what has happened to America since the Bush administration reminds me of an old movie. In the 1976 movie Network the main character, Howard Beale, played by Peter Finch explains his "calling" to the TV audience during the newscast. He says:

 "The voice said to me, ‘I want you to tell the people the truth, not an easy thing to do, because the people don’t want to know the truth’ And I said "You’re kidding. What the hell should I know about the truth?" But, the voice said to me "Don’t worry about the truth. I will put the words in your mouth." And I said "What is this, the burning bush? I’m not Moses."

The movie shows Howard Beale becoming more deranged on TV when he says into the TV camera:

"I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's work, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV's while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way it's supposed to be. We know things are bad – worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, 'Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone.' Well, I'm not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad…"

Doesn’t sound like a description of our problems now? Beale says to the unseen TV audience:

"I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!' I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell – 'I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Things have got to change. But first, you've gotta get mad!… You've got to say, 'I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Then we'll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it…"

The sharp differences between Wall Street and main street America have never been so obvious as when the American economy turned South. The public has had it with corporate excesses and not just the unseemly bonuses paid incompetent CEO’s. The public now realizes how corporate greed, unregulated by the last administration, has played such a major role in putting us into the economic hole we now find ourselves in. Also, at fault are the politicians who were elected to protect us and help us, but too often were only interested in themselves and reelection. Regulatory agencies intended to protect us from harmful drugs, to protect the environment and to generally protect us as citizens were instead part of the problem. In short, we can very easily identify with Howard Beale and repeat his mantra "I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore." Hopefully, the efforts of the Obama administration will be successful and we will be relieved of the burden we are now experiencing.

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