Thursday, October 22, 2009

Howard Beale from the movie, Network

Below is one of my favorite movie quotes of all-time. It's from the movie, Network, and I recently came across it and thought it was very befitting of our times. I also found a video of it on YouTube if you would rather watch it.

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 work, 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, Goddamnit! 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!"

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Pop Culture: Your Weapon When Disaster Strikes

Yeah, this pretty much sums it up.

I'm waiting for the time I can save my own life or the lives of others with my knowledge of pop culture. I am positive this will one day happen and I have been studying vigorously my whole life so that when it comes, I will not fail. Sure, it seems implausible that Al-Qaida will one day threaten the world unless I can name the villain in the 1986 movie, Labyrinth, played by David Bowie (the answer is Jareth) but honestly, I rest all my hopes on this. Otherwise, I've wasted a large portion of my life learning random, little facts for no apparent reason.

Jareth, the Goblin King. Fear him. Or you could just tell him that he has no power over you. It's your call.

Sadly, this is what pop culture expects from us. It wants us to care about it so much that we sit around and memorize every little minutiae till it's seared in our brains. When we've done that, then we have to go out and tell every other poor bastard about how Morgan Freeman didn't really catch his big break until he was the age of 50 or how Anthony Hopkins supposedly reads all of his scripts 250 times before he performs them (two facts I find fascinating, by the way). We use this knowledge to jockey our position in the world, sure that if we prove to our friends and colleagues that we know more than them about the Star Wars films or all the places those important numbers pop up in the show Lost, that we are somehow smarter than them or at least more observant. Our power is our knowledge. But after we've bored them with all of our facts about how many times Anthony Kiedis has fallen off of the sober wagon or our fascinating insights into the deeper meanings of Lil Wayne's "Lollipop", where do we go from there?

No one is more lonely than the man on top. The only logical way to find purpose then is to save the world with your knowledge. Yeah, you could become a journalist (Chuck Klosterman is the owner of my heart), or a film maker (Quentin Tarantino loves to bore show us his knowledge) or a hundred other careers that find a use for that knowledge. They would make you happy. But you would ignore your higher calling of being a Pop Culture Warrior. We do not do it for money (although if we entered the World Series of Pop Culture, we would surely win it without a struggle). We do not do it for fame (although being known as the Master Samurai of Pop Culture would be totally awesome). We do not do it because pop culture controls our lives (.....hopefully). We do it because we love it. We love every stupid, little fact about how all of the great rappers in history have had an album cover of theirs adorned with a baby picture, or how many great legends of rock have perished at the age of 27 (Jimi, Janis, Jim, Kurt and others). We love it because we love to see little snippets of coincidence, miracle, happiness or tragedy. We love it because it is our lives through a filter of unadulterated rock n' roll, graffiti art, wardrobe malfunctions, celebrity weddings, celebrity breakups, celebrity deaths and the people who profit off of them (::cough:: Joe Jackson ::cough::), cooking shows, the making of cooking shows, the making of the making of cooking shows, violent video games, comeback roles, and all the other different colors, coincidences, and ironies that make up the gamut of popular culture.

Yeah, this pretty much sums it up.

We love it so much that eventually we become a part of it and that is really what it is all about. Except of course, when we have to save the world with it. You are laughing now. But when Al-Qaida calls you and threatens to blow up your toilet unless you can name the rock star who had a brief cameo appearance in Back to the Future 2, you better be ready.

Learn it. Know it.

Monday, October 5, 2009

2 Years And Counting...

Today is my two-year wedding anniversary. I am so happy that I've been married to this wonderful woman for that long. This year has definitely not been easy but we have worked through it and become closer because of it. In all this time, however, I have always felt inadequate. Inadequate to be with her, inadequate to be around her, inadequate to cook for her, inadequate to see her sleep, inadequate to see her dance, inadequate, inadequate, inadequate. I will always feel inadequate which is why I'm the luckiest man on earth. 2 years and counting...

Now I will destroy everything I just said by embarrassing her with all of these pictures. Enjoy!