Monday, January 14, 2008

Monday Night Monologue: Mad as...something

There's a lot of things in the world to be mad about: the death of Benazhir Bhutto, the presidency of George Bush, the entertainment journalism of Billy Bush, the writers strike, Iraq everything, the president of Iran's visit to New York, the Spider-Man reboot, that kid who knocked over the table in class today (all my stuff was on there) and of course Marion Cotillard's Golden Globe victory over Amy Adams. Well Paddy Chayefsky, Sidney Lumet and Peter Finch have got your back angry internet reader.

Howard Beale: 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 worth. Banks are going bust. Shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there's no one anywhere that seems to know what to do with us. Now into it. We know the air is unfit to breathe, our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had 15 homicides and 63 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 a house as slowly the world we're 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 TV, and my steel belted radials and I won't say anything." Well I'm not going to leave you alone. I want you to get mad. I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot. I don't want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crying in the streets. All I know is first you've got to get mad. You've got to say, "I'm a human being. God Dammit, my life has value." So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out, and yell, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" I want you to get up right now. Get up. Go to your windows, open your windows, 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 my friends. You've got to 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 your window, stick your head out and yell, "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!"
Network is an odd duck because it was oddly prescient at the time it came out. Except now it seems that it just didn't go far enough, we're way, way past it. In today environment Beale seems embarrassingly tame compared to your O'Reilys, your Olbermans your etc. Media satire and criticism has morphed into a giant monster beast that render the movie tame and irrelevant. Still the acting and scripting are sharp especially given the context.

1 comment:

New Frank said...

I was promised a monologue from "Space Jam". I am inconsolable.