“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”
That iconic line from the 1976 movie, Network (those of us of a certain age remember it well) is being shouted again nightly on a Broadway stage. It’s been years since I’ve even thought about that film or that line, but seeing a Bryan Cranston interview about his portrayal of a news network’s cynical exploitation of its over-the-hill anchor just seemed too appropriate for our times not to write about.
As the BBC reported on the 40th anniversary of the film’s release, “The scary thing about re-watching Network today is that even its wildest flights of fancy no longer seem outrageous at all.” And film critic Roger Ebert wrote of the movie, “We are asked to laugh at, be moved by, or get angry about a long list of subjects: Sexism and ageism and revolutionary rip-offs, middle-class anomie and capitalist exploitation…”
Paddy Chayefsky’s Oscar-winning screenplay was seen then as not only a scathing, satirical rebuke of the “news industry,” but an analogy of so many ills of the day – and it still rings so very true today. It’s been over 40 years and not only is the premise of the film still relevant, it has intensified through those years.
Sadly, “we are mad as hell” could be the most terse, appropriate commentary on the current temperament of our nation. It seems that in words and deeds our moral fabric is being tested daily – and found wanting. The debasement of our everyday rhetoric and the lack of self-control exhibited by not only our elected officials, but on our streets every day, is abundantly evident. It has been over 40 years since the film’s release, yet the issues dealt with on film and so many more ire-inducing situations have become, what seems to be, our primary focus.
How sad, and quite frankly scary, is that? What’s to be done?
Frankly; beats me! But wait…
This coming week we will be celebrating Thanksgiving. While this is certainly not my typical “Thanksgiving Column,” I do have a suggestion which I have made in this holiday’s previous columns – one of my grandmother’s sage pieces of advice that just might help in our dilemma.
Every morning when you wake – before getting out of bed – take a few minutes to count your blessings. Starting off the day with positive thoughts can only help balance all of the negativity we face daily.
I don’t want to be mad as hell. Do you? There is such helplessness, frustration in it. Shall we try taking my grandmother’s advice? In this ever-increasing selfish world, it just might be the best thing you can do for yourself – and our country!