Revolution is tricky business…
A powerful meme has been going around lately in the form of a video clip. It involves a scene from Sidney Lumet’s famous movie Network where the exasperated news anchor, Howard Beale, sits in front of the camera with his raincoat still on and delivers a rant that lists everything that’s wrong in life, urging people to get mad.
‘I’m not going to take this anymore,’ he yells, telling his audience to go to their windows and scream their dissatisfaction for everyone to hear, so that others may know they’re not alone.
Powerful stuff. The scene has been doing the rounds on blogs and websites for years, encapsulating the need for individuals of all creeds and calibers to rise up to the status quo, shed our apathy, get involved, get mad, and act against whatever keeps life captive.
Call it a pop cry for freedom, which many people embrace, if not verbatim, then symbolically — actions that exemplifies our wish to be independent, active, and free.
Why am I re-posting it here, now? Well, it has occurred to me that it’s easy to identify with a movie scene, or any soundbite, that urges people to fight apathy and injustice. Citing its message, turning it into a modern-day call to arms that spreads through the web, is easy.
Acting on it, on the other hand, is a whole other issue.
Let’s see what happens when someone acts on the above … I’m thinking someone who gets mad, opens the window and shouts the very words, ‘I am mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.’ What happens then? Do we go to the window and join him? Or do we lean back, thinking, ‘This guy crazy or what? Should I? Is this for real? Isn’t this just a little too much?’
Is this a brave individual with the courage of his convictions? Or a kook, a dangerous conspiracy nut? I mean, no one this mad can be sane. Angry people don’t have anything of value to say. They’re irrational and unhinged. Deranged.
Alex Jones has made his choice, going for the window. He tells us he’s not going to take this anymore. He sounds mad. The question is, is he insane? Or is he on to something?
Whatever he is, one thing’s for sure. Jones has stood up to say what he thinks, raising hell. If anything, it creates a debate. Hopefully the right kind of hell will be raised. It may get a few more people to act on their convictions, even if their beliefs fly in the face of propriety.
The problem is that Alex Jones is a maniac, which kind of sucks, not only because he spews poison, but also because he spoils the romantic notion of getting mad and shouting at the camera, out the window, into the air. ‘I am mad as hell…’ is beginning to sound like, ‘I need to be locked up before I hurt others.’
Moving on to a more manageable kind of madness, here’s another citizen who decided not to accept things as they are, calling things as he sees them. He isn’t angry, just determined to make a change. He took a stand by running for president on the premise that he’d put an end to the vicious circle.
He was marginalized, ridiculed , made irrelevant.
Truth is a tricky thing to attain. We shoot the messenger, unwilling to deal with bad news. To paraphrase a great saying, ‘It is like a finger that points to a volcano. Don’t look at the finger or you’ll miss the clouds of smoke.’
We look at the finger to our detriment.