“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”
What is the premise of the film Network (1976)?
Satire sits in your lap, it sinks and weighs on you. And it only goes away when you forget it. The point of Network is, in my humble opinion, that when you watch it it will make you “mad as hell” until you forget about it, because there’s always something far more exciting going on. To me, that is the point, it’s a sharp tipped arrow, but its poison is the poison of mass media in the first place. It makes you sick, until you get some more.
Radicalism is only as radical as its next paycheck.
Qualifying statements are for dupes, statistics are for idiots.
Did you notice that there’s no premise given, only the point? That’s all that Network can offer, little jabs—that’s all that television can offer. Inundated with these little wounds, watching television (on the internet no less) is a special kind of masochism. It is state sanctioned, culturally sanctioned, socially sanctioned, and even religiously sanctioned (so long as the message gels appropriately). It is totally neutral and therefore it has become the platform for any and every opinion, both the factual and factual ones. Am I still discussing the film?
The internet is predicted by this film in the sense that the prophet, your prophet, is out there, you just have to look hard enough—but wait, what about that cute little kitten falling into a piano? Do you see the picture; that you’re in the picture because you’re not mad as hell, you’re just laughing your ass off.
And pray tell, the cynics arrive, have you been cynicalized by cyanide flavored candies? Once a certain distance is achieved, and the full breadth of disbelief grinds its gears, there is either total removal (not likely) or cynical appraisal*that’s where the candy comes in*and to the cynic anything is permissible so long as it achieves the proper level of entertainment value. It’s a loop of infinite regression as content becomes increasingly ubiquitous—and the people that feed the content only need to feed that regression/progression.
To break the cycle: to get “mad as hell” and scream it, for real, start screaming, it’s positively cathartic, we’re so shut up watching TV that tells us to shut up and listen, that we forget where our voices are, the primal YAWP. The problem, of course, is that getting “mad as hell” becomes a catch phrase, until shouting it becomes another yawning silence.
Watch Network and start screaming (nothing, anything).
Cheers Ming, 23 skidoo.