Yes, I’m Asking… I’m Asking All Of You

Is anyone else tired of newscasters making themselves part of the story… Tired of entertainment news being considered news with celebrity gossip making headlines… Tired of seeing what some idiot bigot or zealot writes on a receipt in order to stiff a waiter? Does anyone else find social media postings about how stupid humans are more depressing than funny… Pictures of people using things so incorrectly, or posting things publicly so clueless, it’s mind-blowing… Is any one else ready to scream at the top of their lungs when in a room of people all looking at their smart phones… Avoiding any potential actual conversation and connection?

Videos like this one, where a tiger cub “plays” with a child are super cute, but does anyone else look at this and see a tiger cub desperately seeking an actual physical connection?

You’ve by now heard of this horrific thing teens in some cities around the country are doing, where they try to knock out unsuspecting innocent people… Grandparents, homeless people, women… And these thug-morons claim that it’s a game they play because they’re bored. All I see are cowards trying to reenact video games, where characters run around acting without consequences, hurting others, as if they are a pebble in a puddle with no ripple effect. (I’m not posting a link to this, because I find it so disgusting.)

I distinctly remember the public’s reaction to… “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” from the movie “Network” when it came out in the 70s… And how revolutionary it all seemed… Where people in cities around the country would stick their heads out windows and scream, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

Well… Now with all the bullshit social media, it’s like that’s ALL we do now… We all just stick our heads out windows and scream. When Twitter first hit the scene, one of my younger brothers described the new site to me as being some sort of virtual city where hundreds of people just stand on soap boxes, screaming for attention. We have all become so self-important, myself included.

Some of you read the novel, Sympathy For The Devil, where the main character, Mitch, has enormous disdain for gossip columnist and tabloids… Well, his actions and attitude mirror my own… If a TV station makes the news about the reporters, I turn the channel. If a network airs a gossip show or hosts on a radio station start to gossip… I turn it off.

I haven’t yet figured what to do about people’s public stupidity, or the “dumbing-down” of America, however, I can control my own “idioticy” by severely limiting the amount of time I spend on my own “smart phone” in public places. Keeping my eyes and mind open for actual experiences… And for the safety of myself and others, vow not to use it while my truck is in motion. I can promise myself to take an extra second to spell check before I hit send, or look something up quickly, and if I chose to use a word like “idioticy,” at least be aware that it doesn’t exist but in the urban dictionary… I can take a breath instead of hitting my car’s horn if someone isn’t moving on my time-table… I can pick up a piece of trash on the ground that I didn’t put there… And if a company, shop or state does something I don’t agree with I can stop putting dollars in their pockets…

I can’t stop horrific crime all over the world, or even in my own city, but I can keep my eyes and ears open to what’s around me… I can be ready to pull people off the track if they need it, or possibly offer a hand when I see one could be used… And not take it personality when my help is not accepted or appreciated. (Last week I saw a guy angrily bitch out a woman, for not thanking him for holding the door for her… And watched her try to justify her lack of appreciation… They both ended up looking extremely petty and both walked away angry.) And if I don’t feel I’m not able to help or it isn’t safe, I can offer assistance by finding help.

I don’t have answers, and if you read the monologue from “Network” below many of the issues we deal with now, humans probably have always dealt with… And may always deal with. But let me ask you… Besides posting something to social media… What can or what do you do? What actions do or can you take? What promises will you make to yourself and others right now? What, besides opening a virtual window and screaming at the top of your lungs, can you do, or at least make an attempt to do, more and more often?

And yes, I’m asking… I’m asking all of you.

– Quiche Out

Network (1976)

Howard Beale: 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 TV’s 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. You’ve got to say, ‘I’m a HUMAN BEING, God damn it! 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 GOING TO 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 going to 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 going to 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 GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!”

7 Comments »

  1. This is perfect. I agree with your words 100%. Although I, too, am guilty of screaming out of my window to express my feelings, but because of music I am able to pay a bit of kindness forward on a regular basis. Like giving a music education to children & teens because the ARTS can counteract negativity. Or singing to the elderly, which can bring some incredible nourishment to a depleted soul living in a terribly isolated facility. Thank you, Tom, for your intelligent and thoughtful provoking words, and for reminding us to apply common courtesy and consideration to our daily routine. Leaving gossip in the trash where it belongs. Don’t reward other human beings for their disgusting behavior, but do acknowledge those who step up to give of themselves and expect nothing in return.

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  2. I came up with a rule in the Desktop Publishing days (remember THOSE? No computers!!!). When designing layouts for ads or whatever you have to decide what gets the most attention. My rule was, “If EVERYTHING stands out… NOTHING stands out.”. In the case of DP, if everything is all caps, bold, underlined, etc.. then nothing stands out, the reader gets bored and you’ve not gotten your point across.

    Similarly, this applies to radio, TV, in somewhat different ways. Facebook, as well.

    You can only watch so many cute kittens, see so many atrocities, be warned of Gov’t take over of our lives, chain mail so many ‘god will bless you if only you like this’ posts before burn out sets in.

    I groan when I see people in public glued to their smart phones or tablets when there is a real person sitting right across from them.

    Once again you make salient points and raise important questions. I’m tied up in social media and I’m probably guilty of a lot of this. Stirring up sentiments and sending out things to evoke a laugh. I try not to take what I do (or anyone else) too seriously. People are online, I might as well participate, entertain them, and hopefully, make a buck or two.

    That sounds horrible and probably is. But I figure people can easily ignore me if they wish — and some do. I wish them well and go on my way.

    What do I do?

    I joined a local group of citizens and tried to get more involved in things than just casting a vote… then I was labeled an extremist for participating in the process.

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  3. Excellent, excellent post. Amen, brother!

    What I can do is be an angel to someone if they need it. If they look like they’re in a hurry, let them go ahead of me at the bank. If they have that exhausted, overwhelmed look, share a smile and commiserate. When my kids want to play outside with me or talk, get off the computer and hang out with them. I know I’m not going to change the course of the world in any big way, but in small ways.

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  4. You are channeling me. I have never liked devices between me and what is going on in the world around me. If you keep your circle of awareness to tight you will limit the expansion of your knowledge and experience.
    I remember fondly the days when Who, What, When and How were the news media’s basics and the Why was few words and always announced as editorial – personal opinion.
    But about the kid and the tiger cub. Am I the only one who concluded that the tiger cub just might be looking for lunch?
    G

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