One of the funniest parts about writers like Paddy Chayevsky, who wrote “Network’s” great “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” line, is that their schtick is self-fulfilling prophecy. That line is still parroted by millions as some kind of rallying cry, even as he clearly intended it as the primal scream of a mentally-deranged and hallucinating man.
(For those of a younger generation, it’s similar to teenagers beating the crap out of one another after seeing Fight Club 15 years ago – completely disregarding the parable of fascism it really is).
So much has been written and talked about Chayevsky being a kind of prophet of doom, in that he predicted reality television like Fear Factor and other dehumanizing horseshit. In fact, too much has been written about this. You just have to realize – this guy was following the logical progression of his 20th century experience. He was wounded fighting the Nazis in Europe, came home to write for TV, got chewed up and spit out by the industry – and did indeed become “mad as hell” at what humanity could muster against itself.
Along the way, he isolated the lowest-common denominator – and dissected it.
“Let’s face it, the public execution has been the best show in town for many, many years,” as he relates below – to a primetime television show hostess.
Anyone who doesn’t believe that should see what kind of “ratings” the journalist beheading videos got last week.