Sunday, April 10, 2011

"We're Mad as Hell and We're Not Going ToTake It Anymore!"

With the death of director Sidney Lumet last week, I recalled his 1970s hit, "Network," which I viewed for the first time last summer. I don't know how I missed it, but it was prescient about the transformation of TV News from journalism to entertainment and, in the process, the manipulation and exploitation of indivdual malaise into mass anger.

If you haven't seen the film or a while or if you missed it (maybe you were too young or out of the country or - like me - living a rural "hippie" lifestyle), the story is about a network changing from the production and dissemination of hard news to exploiting and fulfilling a perceived need for "entertainment." In addition, a newscaster who has a melt down ("Im mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore") becomes the catalyst for this change by becoming its star and leading the audience to their tribal yell.

Hmm. . . remind you of any network we've heard about?

Maybe Fox News?

Or does it remind you of any other group we've heard from since 2008?

Like maybe the Tea Baggers (aka Tea Party of the Republican Party)?

These people claim to be so angry because their rights are being taken away, but they don't mind tromping on the rights of those who disagree with them.

Rent "Network" from your favorite DVD vendor. This film is still relevant. Sidney Lumet made it and other classics that remind us of issues that continue in importance today. Ironically, it is also entertaining (which of course is the goal of the filmmaker). (A bonus: the film stars the great William Holden, playing a very "Ben Bradlee" newsman.)

See the movie and let it inspire a life sequel: a revolt to demonstrate that we want neither infotainment nor reactionary politics. Any takers? Sphere: Related Content

Friday, April 8, 2011

Hogwash Anew: Trump and "Birther" Conspiracy

Donald Trump, hoping to be the presidential nominee in 2012 for the Republicans (Tea Bag Party?), is lending his name to the birther conspiracy, and a flurry of utube pieces (including one in which the President is sarcastically talking about birthers' claims) to "prove" that the President was not born in the U.S. and thus was illegitimately elected president. I don't know why this is bugging me, maybe it's because even liberal friends are sending me this hogwash now. In that spirit I want to share a link to an Andrew Sullivan article in 2009 rebutting the birthers. Common sense asks why would Ann Obama, a 19 year old first time mother in 1961, plot to leave the country to have her first child in an undeveloped country AND keep that fact a secret in 1961? Was she plotting her son's presidency in 2008 and have all the others who have examined this issue participated in the same conspiracy? (THIS IS SARCASM, lest I be misquoted). I am disturbed that so many people still believe this hogwash. Because of this, Andrew Sullivan's piece, regrettably, is still relevant: Sphere: Related Content