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Government / Economics

Carlisle, Ronica (916) 375-7800 Social Science Teacher
Leffler, M. (916) 375-7800 ex.2855 Social Science Teacher
Shriver, Mr. (916) 375-7800 Social Science

"I'm as mad as hell...!"

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In his Wall Street Journal column "Gloom Widespread as College Grads Face New Math," David Wessel suggests that the current lack of confidence and "widespread sense that the US economy isn't working any longer for the bulk of Americans" might lead one of the presidential candidates to steal a line from the character Howard Beale in the 1976 film "Network." A gloom-and-doom outlook isn't a new phenomena; things were looking pretty bad 35 years ago. 

In Sidney Lumet's "Network", writer Paddy Chayefsky satirized the post-Vietnam, post-Watergate pessimism and economic downturn of the mid-1970s. When longtime UBS news anchor Howard Beale (Peter Finch) learns that he is being fired "because of lousy ratings", he threatens to kill himself on the air. Given a chance to apologize, Beale instead launches into an on-air diatribe, lamenting that life is "BS". Suddenly, his ratings rise, and a young network programmer seeks to exploit his popularity by keeping him on the air. In this famous scene, Beale arrives at the studio just in time to deliver the film's most famous anti-establishment rant: "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"