So, yesterday, a bunch of the folks at work are all a-flutter about the Imus thing*. Someone ropes me into the discussion and I say something like, “…he’s just the current Howard Beale.” and return to my task, confident that my stunning insight will be met with some knowing chuckles and even moderate hilarity.
Instead, the silence is instant and pervasive. Never a good result for a quick & sideways attempt at group humor.
I turn around again and say, “Howard Beale - the newscaster in Network…”
More blank stares. I scan the faces present. The one guy whom I know knows this is not present.
“Faye Dunaway, William Holden…Peter Finch plays Howard Beale. C’mon! Network! Haven’t any of you seen Network?” I punch it up on imdb.com for them, and when I repeat the “…I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” line, there is a flicker of recognition, though it is clear most of them really didn’t know where it came from. I look at the year it came out and realize that at least two of the people in the room had not even been born in 1976. There are some muffled “hmmm’s” and a couple of, “oh, yeah, I’ve heard of that’s”, but no one in the room had actually seen the movie.
If you haven’t, you should. Get it to the top of your Netflix queue, or find a DVD copy, or get your local non-cineplex movie house to show it. Really. It’s spot-on satire for much of what goes on today.
And as long as I’m on a rant, get your hands on a copy of “Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television” by Gerry Mander and read that as well. I’m certainly not television-free myself (I mean Paris-Roubaix is on this Sunday…). But, it’s important to try to understand the media which engulfs our society.
*and I’m in no way trying to diminish his actions. He should lose his job. But, he won’t, at least not yet - see Network.