Saturday, October 10, 2015

Mad as Hell

The "mad as hell" monologue from the film Network. I'm thinking about translating it into Chamorro this week. This past week I was having my students write letters in Chamorro to politicians and someone mentioned how "mad" they should be in their letter. As mad as you want to be. Na'chilong i siniente-mu yan i tinige'-mu.

Sometimes, as the monologue makes very clear, sometimes the fury, the catharsis can be the cleansing of the soul, the clearing of the mind that can allow strategic action. Other times it can be something which ends up being enjoyed as the action itself, rather than the first step to political action. That dangerous step of boldly and angrily declaring yourself out of agency or activity.

I remember last year when the elected officials at Adelup and at the Legislature quietly passed for themselves a pay increase. The amount of anger that appeared was significant. For a few days it was everywhere. People would randomly speak out it. People would randomly rant about it on social media. It was even in the papers and on the radio. Some politicians felt the pressure while others knew that it would go away. For the most part it did. It got subsumed into the general distrust that people have about their elected leaders and feeling that they are inept or corrupt. The anger became nothing, didn't inspire much new vigilance, didn't create a large amount of change (although there were a few quiet protests and a few voices on social media who are still trying to remind everyone). But this is always the task of the activist, the activator, the community organizer of whatever political persuasion. Gaige huyong gi kumunidat i binibu. Guaha na biahi i manannok pat ti manoppan. Lao gigon na humongga pat mali'e', debi di un hakot, sa' ayu i amot para i prublema yan chetnot gi taotao-mu.

Here below is the tirade from the movie Network, it was performed by Peter Finch, playing the role of 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 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!'

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