Being mad isn’t enough
I thought of puking something on the role media is playing nowadays in the so-called free world. If change is indeed constant, then media is certainly its greatest victim. Not very long ago, the veracity of news used to be the benchmark of journalism and journalistic integrity couldn’t be compromised. No matter what happened. Such was the case when newspapers meant something more than they do today. TRP was a honourable concept, not an instrument of debauchery. What we witness today is the blatant rise of journos who either suffer from Messiah Complex or Nostradamus Complex. For some reason, their commitment to their image supersedes their commitment to their ideals (if any). Which might explain why they will either don the cape to save you or take out their crystal ball to predict your doom. Guess what? Their job description fits neither categories. Influential much? Very. When you become excessively involved with the subject, you tend to see yourself as a saviour instead of a reporter. And before you realize it, you are OK with manipulating events and incidents as long as it fits your set narrative. Once a journalist enters this ambiguous territory—there are plenty of them today if you pay attention— there is no coming back.
Furthermore, this reminds me of the most intense cinematic monologue of the 20th century. From the must-watch Network (1976), it features a news presenter at his candid best towards his audience. I guess it’s high time somebody came up with the sequel to this speech: featuring a layman pouring his heart out to the media instead of the other way around.
“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 street and there’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there’s no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
We know things are bad — worse than bad. They’re crazy. It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is: ‘Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.’
Well, I’m not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get MAD! I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot — I don’t want you to write to your congressman, because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you’ve got to get mad. (shouting) You’ve got to say: ‘I’m a human being, god-dammit! My life has value!’
So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell: ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore!’
I want you to get up right now. Sit up. Go to your windows. Open them and stick your head out and yell — ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not gonna take this anymore!’ Things have got to change. But first, you’ve gotta get mad!…You’ve got to say, ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore!’ Then we’ll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first, get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore!’”
What you just read — if you were curious enough — is the noise of truth.