The Howard Beale Memorial Society ?
Whatís going on here. What's with this Howard Beale business?
Itís about the practical effectiveness of free
speech and the free exchange of ideas and what has been happening to America over the past half century and the mess we are in today and why matters have come to this sorry pass.
Itís about the propaganda that passes itself off as news but is really 90% chemically pure "bull-shit," to quote Howard Beale. Itís about how the politicians and extremists and their masters, the financial elites, are raping us with their greed and the nonsense their media pour on us 24/7.
Itís about what we can do about it.
Itís about NETWORKING.
What is NETWORK?
Some folks of failing memories or tender years may ask this question, but many of us still remember. We remember that in 1976, while our nation was still writhing from the agonies of the Vietnam War disaster and our mega corporations were launching themselves upon the global scene, a strange phenomenon appeared in our neighborhoods. People were going around screaming
I'm mad as hell and I'm not
going to take it anymore!
The 1976 Oscar-winning movie NETWORK is what happened.
NETWORK was a biting, hilarious, prophetic satire of empty minded entertainment mills masquerading as news programs chaired by pontificating talking heads, a biting indictment of an America heedlessly, destructively rushing to global dominance, recklessly driven by a totally out of control financial sector that
cares about nothing except about its bottom line and special privileges.
Look around you, dummy.
It's still happening.
Yeah, that's the point. And NETWORK is still with us to remind us. It's available in every Blockbuster outlet, from Amazon, just about anywhere you rent or buy movie tapes and CDs. Why, recently it was reported that George Clooney is reprising NETWORK, making a movie for CBS TV to be released in the fall of 2006, in time for the election madness. (George, we do hope you don't take the sting out of Network just to spare the media. This knife cuts in many directions; CBS is one of our major offenders, now, even as it was then when Paddy Chayefsky wrote.)
Back in the late 1970s teachers were using NETWORK in their political science classes,
and may be doing so again because the passion of NETWORK is still alive and kicking. And every day more and more stories appear referring to people having a "Howard Beale experience."
Who was Howard Beale?
Howard Beale, played by Oscar-winning Peter Finch, was the fading network TV news anchor who, in his final appearance before compulsory retirement because of declining ratings, promised to blow out his brains on prime time TV, but instead -- his audience vastly swollen by such an intriguing promise -- when his moment came, pulled out all the stops and told them the simple truth --
(From Scene 99 - delivered with passion.)
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 streets, and
there's nobody anywhere who seems to
know what to do, and there's no end to it.
We know the air's unfit to breathe and our
food is unfit to eat, and we sit and watch
our tee-vees while some local newscaster
tells us today we had fifteen homicides and
sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the
way it's supposed to be. We all know things
are bad. Worse than bad. They're crazy.
It's like everything's going crazy. So we
don't go out any more. We sit in the house,
and slowly the world we live in gets smaller,
and all we ask is please, at least leave us
alone in our own living rooms. Let me
have my toaster and my tee-vee and my
hair-dryer and my steel-belted radials,
and I won't say anything, just leave us alone.
Well, I'm not going to leave you alone. I
I don't want you to riot. I don't want you to
protest. I don't want you to write your
congressmen. Because I wouldn't now what
to tell you to write. I don't know what to do
about the depression and the inflation and
the defense budget and the Russians and
crime in the street. All I know is first you
got to get mad. You've got to say: "I'm
mad as hell and I'm not going to take this
any more. I'm a human being, goddammit.
So I want you to get up now. I want you to
get out of your chairs and go to the window.
Right now. I want you to go to the window,
open it, and stick your head out and yell. I
want you to yell: "I'm mad as hell and I'm
not going to take this any more!"
-- and keep yelling
And the people did just that -- in the movie and in our homes and streets. But then -- alas, the public's attention is so short -- came the shocking ending , and tomorrow and yesterday became today.
Hey, honestly folks. Have things gotten better in the thirty years since 1976? Let me count the days; you count the ways:
8 years of Ronald Reagan, 4 of Jimmy Carter, 4 of George Bush I, 8 of Bill Clinton, and 6 of George Bush II. It looks to me like there's plenty of blame to go around. How about you?
So what's the answer?
Clean house, clear the attic, scrape out the basement, and call the pest exterminator.
TURN ALL THE RASCALS OUT
THINGS HAVE REALLY GONE TO HELL?
Well, that's something we will seriously consider.
Whatever . . .
Howard, you did not die in vain. We remember you and we celebrate you. Your life did have value. You asked the right questions and you pointed the way:
FIRST WE HAVE TO GET MAD.
And we want to thank Paddy Chayefsky, who put his heart into writing this great screen-play, and Peter Finch and William Holden and Faye Dunnaway and Robert Duvall and Ned Beatty and all the other great actors, and director Sidney Lumet and the whole pro-duction company and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, for giving us the most accurate prophecy of the 20th Century, surpassing even George Orwell's most highly acclaimed 1984.
There is much to be learned by studying this
production and other movies, and from radio,
TV and the print media on how they stir human
emotions and shape public opinion. Together
we will learn just how we are manipulated and
driven to do their masters' bidding. Together
we can stop this nonsense and really make a
Sure, America is in Bad Shape.
But What are We Doing About it?
Join with us and really make a difference. Help find reasonable solutions to the many pressing problems of our time, solutions the politicians don't want to hear about. Make the rascals sit up and take notice. Together we will study how the media shape and maneuver public opinion, much as the shepherd's dog, responding to his master's unseen and unheard signals, moves a flock of sheep hither and yon, driving them into a pen, to be shorn of their wool or slaughtered for their flesh. So don't be a sheep; join with us.
Be an Angry Prophet.
Denounce the Hypocrisies of Our Times!
Whether we, as individuals, are making it or not, we can plainly see that the country is in terrible shape and so badly divided on so many fronts. But unless we really shake the poli-ticians up, things are not going to get any better. They'll just go from terrible to much, much worse.
So, are we just going to sit around wringing our hands and blaming each other, or are we going to get off our butts and do something about it?
Join us in examining those problems we can
agree are the most important and pressing, and consider what constructive measures can be taken to resolve them. Help us agree on reasonable, practical solutions and then set about pressing those solutions on the politicians, convincing them that they had better start putting their sorry shoulders to the wheel or look for other employment.
Let The Politicians Know
We're On To Them!
It does no good to just rail against the mega
corporations and the financial elites because
the politicians and the media shelter them
against reprisal. But the politicians are
vulnerable to the same weapons they and the
media have used to mislead, confuse, and
seduce us. So join with us in learning how to
use the media and turn the tables on the
politicians and their masters.
Harass them mercilessly!
Join us in encouraging aroused citizens all
across America to form NETWORKS so that
your messages can be passed on to their friends and neighbors and to the media and sent to the politicians loud and clear.
Although all politicians claim they want to hear from us, you know this isn't so. They only want to hear that we agree with them and remember us when they want our money so they can buy glitzy media campaigns in which they deluge us with the same old sound bites we've had to listen to for a half-century. And then we never hear from them again until another election comes around.
I ask you, when is the last time you heard any politician come up with a new answer? Hell, the best we can hope for is that they will give lip service to a popular proposal.
Look at the way they are ducking and running around wringing their hands on this terrible illegal immigration problem.
The last thing the politicians want to hear from you is what you think about the problems that concern most of us, problems they themselves had such a large hand in creating.
Well, we can change all that. That's why we're going --
We are going to write and publish stories about the things you personally worry about. We're going to talk about what you can do in your own homes and neighborhoods to get the politiciansí attention. We're going to laugh at them, to ridicule them, and to expose their pretensions, weaknesses, and sub rosa activities. And we're going to let them know that you really mean business, that --
YOU'RE MAD AS HELL AND ARENíT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE.
Thatís what weíre about, NETWORKING.
So, to paraphrase Howard Beale, get up out of your chair, go down to Blockbusters and rent NETWORK -- on the way home pick up a couple f bottles of California wine, some Wisconsin cheese, and a box of New York crackers -- call a few friends, and have a fun evening.
The Howard Beale Memorial Society
We hope you will enjoy and participate in making this web site a success. And join the Howard Beale Memorial Society. Our aims are high, but our dues are modest, and your con-tributions ó subject to the approval of the ever beady-eyed IRS ó will be tax deductible because we are organized as a non-profit public benefit corporation.
But if youíre Mad as Hell and Donít Want to Take This Anymore , donít let a shortage of the green stuff stop you from submitting your ideas for publication. This is a free-for-all, whether you choose to help us with contributions and membership dues or not.
What the hell, most of the signers of our Declaration of Independence died broke, so weíll be in the very best company. And given the love the radical Muslims and their sympathizers have for the agonizingly slow and surgically precise cutting off of American captives' heads and holding them up to Aljazeera's camera so that their Muslim TV audiences can savor the curtain of blood cascading over the pitiful victim's head and the last light of life fading from his dying eyes while the monsters chant their praises to Allah and their followers for joy while screaming
Death to Americans ! Death!
It certainly is peculiar how our media and certain segments of our society just can't seem to bring themselves to condemn these acts of unspeakable cruelty, to let our people know what insane monsters our enemies are.
And so we might reflect upon Ben Franklin's advice given on the signing of our Declaration of Independence --
We Must All Hang Together,
Or Assuredly We Shall All Hang Separately
DON'T BE A SHEEP OR A GOAT,
AN ELEPHANT OR A JACKASS !
Remember Maverick and Jim Garner's famous line quoting his grandpappy?
MAN IS THE ONLY ANIMAL YOU CAN SKIN TWICE.
How many times have the politicians skinned you? Like at least once a year or every payday? And after just about every election you voted in.
Well, you say, that was because of the politicians of the other party. And the folks in the other party say, that was because of the politicians in your party.
I've got news for you, folks. No, it isn't news to you. You know it's true. The politicians of both major parties lie to all of us.
In truth they all are owned lock, stock and barrel, body and soul by the big money boys, their lawyers and lobbyists, who provide their campaign money, their perks and privileges, and the fat jobs they get on corporate pay-rolls when they leave office.
Like they really need it, after the lush pay and benefits packages they voted for themselves even as they were raising your taxes and figuring out ways to cut your retirement benefits.
Did you ever hear of a politician leaving office poorer than when he first got in?