Tempus Fugit, Tempers Figit

Look. All I want is to be able to support my family. I don’t claim to be perfect. I don’t claim to have made a lifetime of sensible (or even reasonable) decisions. But looking around at the wealth squandered in this state, trying to squeeze bare-chested between the barbed stucco dams by which others have redirected all of the native opportunities to their own private ponds, I find that invectives that might otherwise seem outrageous are entirely applicable. Furthermore, damn it, I find it downright offensive when corruptive evil is cloaked under a silken gauze stained red from bleeding hearts.
I’ve little doubt that I’m working myself to an early grave and not a little fear that I won’t manage to work that long. In order that public employees can retire to Florida at an age at which I fully expect to be desperate to figure out how to continue laboring despite a deteriorating body, in order that Charlene Lima can wear this smug smile on her plump face while cradling that atrocity of a state budget across the Senate floor, others must live with the knowledge that all of the bogus promises of a safety net will be an ephemeral currency should that heavy fiberboard shelf do more damage than just a bruise when it slips. So that trust-funded downy-bottoms might convince themselves that they are compassionate, others must watch as their representatives debate how long a dog may be left outside without access to a doghouse, rather than how long taxpayers can afford budget balancing by legerdemain.
Sometimes heated rhetoric can be counterproductive, and sometimes even considered writers can take a step too far — especially in the immediate medium of the Internet. In a place of such low indulgences and high corruption, however, we who object have quite a bit of leash before we’ve reason to feel ashamed of our biting commentary. In a land where dreams are born to die, those who lay awake listening to their children’s fitful sleep as the household teeters in tenuous solvency must dispense with the fantasy that soft words are some kind of a talisman against hard times.
ADDENDUM:
A translation… perhaps.

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SusanD
SusanD
13 years ago

” when corruptive evil is cloaked under a silken gauze stained red from bleeding hearts.”
Very good, Justin.
And it applies to not one but several abuses of official power that have been taking place in this state – from the over-diagnosis of special ed students to the unhealthy dependancy created by maxed out social programs to the obscenity that is our school budgets to the new laws you brought up yesterday and today.
Rank money and power grubbing thinly disguised by an easily pierced veneer of doing good.

Pat
Pat
13 years ago

That was a rant against conservatism, Justin.

Justin Katz
13 years ago

Well, Pat, modern liberals (especially in this state) are the true reactionaries.

mikeinRI
mikeinRI
13 years ago

“I’m as mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore!”

Andrew
13 years ago

Pat,
Howard Beale’s rant is not against conservatism. It’s a rant against elitism. How much different is Beale’s soliloquy from something that Lou Dobbs might say today, in slightly calmer fashion, under better hair?
Beale is also ranting against accepting the decline of society as somehow natural and against allowing government to view its citizens (not members of some politically-favored special interest group) as resources to be exploited in pursuit of some grand social-engineering scheme, rather than as individuals.
Given many of the themes that Beale strikes, for instance…

Shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street…Today we have 15 homicides and 63 violent crimes, as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be

…and when the movie was produced (1976), the rant is in large part a rant against the excesses of Great Society liberalism, against a lot of the ideas that liberals picked up during the 60’s and 70’s and have never shaken.

rhody
rhody
13 years ago

“Charlene Lima can wear this smug smile on her plump face”
Thank you, Justin. Now I no longer have to feel guilty about taking shots at the looks of people with whom I have disagreements.
Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter jokes may commence.

Justin Katz
13 years ago

I long ago learned that it is a habit of liberal argumentation to seek out any phrase or word that justifies objection and thereby dismiss entire arguments. One descriptive adjective among a few hundred words is treated as if it constitutes the entirety of the point being made.
Yet another indication that they are less interested in understanding what others are saying and digging down to the essentials on which compromise can be built. Instead, it’s all about winning political points.

jmcdaid
13 years ago

Hi, Justin, Andrew…
As a card-carrying liberal, I will not attempt to dig down to essentials, neither, however, am I interested in winning political points.
But I do have a quibble your appropriation of “Network,” and with Andrew’s observation that “Howard Beale’s rant is not against conservatism. It’s a rant against elitism. …and when the movie was produced (1976), the rant is in large part a rant against the excesses of Great Society liberalism.”
I respectfully suggest that a close reading of the entire film does not support this interpretation. It is fundamentally a critique of the deregulation of the news industry and the concentration of media into monopolies. Howard is, not to put too fine a point on it, *crazy*, not the sort of person you’d really want as a spokesman. Max Schumacher is meant to be our vision of sanity (literally kicking the remains of print culture around the room to lament the decline of books at one point.)
Paddy Chayefsky was clearly _not_ talking about elitism or the Great Society; the “villains” in the movie are the “All I want out of life is a a 30 share and a 20 rating” businesspeople and the shadowy transnational speculators driving them.
Other than that, rant on, dude.
Cheers.
-j

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