When I was around 17, I went to a movie with a buddy. The movie was NETWORK, and it remains one of my all time favorites...if not my absolute favorite. (This top spot always waffles between DR. STRANGELOVE, 2001, & MY FAVORITE YEAR.)
As I sat in that darkened theater as a bright-eyed youth, I became creeped out as NETWORK unspooled before me. It wasn't the movie I thought it was going to be. It was worse...and better. It made me super uncomfortable. A movie had never done that to me. NETWORK was a horror movie. I saw most of the people in it as monsters. Unreal monsters.
Now in middle age, I have met and worked with most of the archetypes. They are quite real, I assure you. And if I haven't most of my friends have.
NETWORK tells the tale of television gone awry. More to the point, it tells the tale of popular culture gone awry. As a teenager I took comfort in my perception that it was pure fantasy.
I am now convinced that screenwriter, Paddy Chayefsky, was a prophet. Not only have we arrived at his television nightmare, we have surpassed it.
In the story, a stodgy network news program is turned into pop culture entertainment. I remember thinking that would never happen. Boy, was I wrong.
Paddy Chayefsky imagined a world in which most of the television shows were reality based. Boy, was he right.
Chayefsky portrayed a world in which popular culture had become nothing more than collective, creepy voyeurism.
He wrote about a world filled with TV Psychologists, Psychics, Advice Experts and Geeks. I'm telling ya, the man knew.
If you haven't seen NETWORK in a while...or have never seen it at all...get it. Watch it.
Maybe it's time to be mad as hell...and not take it anymore.
The family and I will be driving up the coast of California for the next 8 days. I shall return with the special 9PM (pdt) blog on Sunday, April 19th so ya'll can provide your Youtube links for the big contest.
Peace and Happy Easter