Anyone who has seen the 1976 film Network can only imagine how CLAIRVOYANT the film’s writer Paddy Chayefsky turned out to be. The film, a dark satire, showed a future society where the media became the message and celebrity was greater than reality. Ratings were the only thing that mattered- as they apparently still are on today’s Nutworks! If one goes online to Wikipedia to search for the number of reality television shows created, one can surmise just how lowly evolved we have become. How many of our friends and neighbors enjoyed or still enjoy shows like The Real Housewives of… , Who Wants to Marry a Multimillionaire, My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancé, Boot Camp or the most popular of all, Survivor? I await the day in the not too distant future when the little weasels that run the creative departments of our Nutworks! create a new reality show: IED Afghanistan: The cameras follow American troops on patrol for Improvised Exploding Devices used by the insurgents. In episode one some poor GI gets his legs blown off as his mates run over and hurriedly get him onto an EVAC. We see the grim and angry faces of his fellow soldiers as they vow to “make things right and settle some scores.” The audience applauds at home as they watch violent and merciless payback on a civilian who may or may not be part of any insurgency… but who cares? The action is, well, REAL!
This writer cannot sit and watch the boob tube, except for movies or some sporting events. I usually tape and then fast forward the juvenile commercials. Of course the opening of most big game events has the media and the leagues waving the flag of patriotism to honor our “brave warriors.” Sad, isn’t it? We have to fall into the trap set by this Military Industrial Empire and honor soldiers that, for the most part, are pawns in illegal and immoral invasions and occupations. Remember the so called “Iraq War”? Well, first of all, it was pre-emptive and illegal, sold to the American public by the Bush gang through lies and disinformation, of which the mainstream media participated. Second of all, the occupation went on for over 10 years, at a cost of hundreds of billions of tax dollars that should have gone to save our state and local budget shortfalls. Federal revenue sharing became almost nonexistent as over 50% of our taxes went to this Military Empire and its minions. Remember the Vietnam debacle? Whenever a Huey helicopter went down in the jungle Bell Helicopter made another $1.000.000 for its replacement. In Iraq and Afghanistan the waste of our tax money dwarfs that of the Vietnamese Civil War. The real criminals are those media Nutworks! who had their talking heads parroting the empire’s ****…. And it continues. Makes no difference whether it is a Bush Jr. or Barack Obama as president… they serve the same puppeteers. This coverage of the phony Democrat vs. Republican battle is insulting to us working stiffs who are getting screwed each and every day.
In the film Network Howard Beale, the news anchorman in the midst of a nervous breakdown, went berserk and shouted over and over “I’m mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore!” He then got the highest ratings for announcing he would kill himself on air. Instead of being hospitalized, Beale was given his own reality show to espouse his anger at the corporate empire. It seems that the powers that be figured Beale’s nuttiness was good telly, and that the viewing public would never dare follow his lead into violence… just the usual venting that the serfs have always done in feudal societies. How shrewd these masters were! Well, Beale’s on air rants and dissent gets him sent for by the CEO of the network. In their meeting, the CEO explains to Beale that the world is changing. “There are no nations anymore Mr. Beale. There is only ITT and US Steel and General Dynamics… a ‘college of corporations’…” And so it is. Independent network journalism is gone. The days of Edward R. Murrow and the other investigative newsmen are over. Whatever the empire’s foreign policy dictates is what the media focuses on, nothing more! How few of our friends and neighbors know or even care about 9/11 Truth or the Downing Street Memo? Most of the teenagers and 20 something kids I converse with hardly know any history at all! Matter of fact, many of them never heard of The Rolling Stones or Bob Dylan, let alone WWII history. It took Oliver Stone to co-write a book and create a Showtime series to teach that the Russians lost over 25 million people during WW2, and, it was their resolve and strength that turned the tide on Nazi Germany. Yet, even we baby boomers were only taught about the strength and resolve of our nation and the Brits. Why is that?
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The one thing that Howard Beale did succeed in getting across to us was his demand to “Turn off your television sets, go to the window, open it and shout as loud and as long as you can ‘I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore!!'”
Can we all begin to do that?