Okay, now I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. (more after the image)
Evidently Republicans turn off the movie Network when they get to the part, only a few minutes in, where everyone is encouraged to run to their window, throw it open and yell the famous phrase. Maybe Republicans become hypnotized and actually obey these instructions, so they miss the rest of the movie in favor of waking their neighbors.
But it seems that political commentators never make it all the way to the end either, though they seem to have a slightly longer attention span. Take today’s well stated but still missing-the-point commentary by Mike Pesca. He does better than most. He makes an important connection that Republicans seem to miss: the fact that the character Howard Beale, accidental savior, is stark raving mad. Beale’s not held up as a noble hero by the the screenwriter, Paddy Chayevsky (yet another Greatest Generation casual genius).
But Pesca, like every other Network-mentioner I’ve heard since Glenn Beck created his Howard Beale tribute-band persona, fails to mention the most important and relevant aspect of the film. You see Howard Beale is crazy in Network, but he nevertheless spouts quite a lot of truth in his highly-rated Jeremiads. Many of these truths have to do with the failure of television to actually inform. But the truths that really get him into trouble are those which inveigh against his corporate masters, the mega-company that owns his network.
As a result the company subjects him to an artificial epiphany in the form of the god-like presence of (believe it or not) Ned Beatty, one of the exalted executives from the parent company. He converts Beale to the sort of Ayn Randianism favored by major multi-nationals. You can watch this scene here.
Beale becomes a Eunuch, singing the corporate message beautifully, all the sound and fury drained of significance.
And thus we have Glenn Beck, whose religion is apparently that which helps the bottom line of Rupert effing Murdoch.
Postscript: The 90s version of Network is The Matrix. While the dialog is far less artful, the message is even more subversive. Plus there’s awesome Kung Fu.