“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”
I cringe when considering the number of written works that have utilized Howard Beale’s most famous quote. However, as a blogger it is my duty to once again regurgitate culture and hopefully provide some small new insight.
I watched Network for the first time long ago and only just today did I get around to re-watching it. To be frank, by its conclusion I found myself far more disturbed and distraught than I ever expected to be. I’m aware Network has always been praised for its incredible quality as a film, but it was on this recent viewing that I was able to grasp the rest of it’s merit as a prophetic text. Network is a film that can reduce even the most steadfast idealist into an anxious nihilist.
To foreigners, I imagine apple pie, hamburgers, cheap beer and Coca Cola are the most typically American foods. And while it would be uncommon to find apple pie in my belly, they do to some extent embody the American national identity. However, in creating their generalizations about America, outsiders often overlook a crucial culinary character: the hot dog. I find this remarkable, seeing as how the hot dog makes its way to just as many burger joints and barbecues as hamburgers do. And I’m sure many would argue that hot dogs are just as succulent as hamburgers (myself included). Yet, abroad, they aren’t quite as powerful a symbol of America as a hamburger or apple pie.
The hot dog is very a humble food indeed, to remain quiet while it’s grill-mate, the hamburger, gets international fame and glory. After all, I’d argue both are equally delicious and a staple of American cuisine. Perhaps it is this humility that prevents the hot dog from spreading across the world as a proud symbol of America. It simply doesn’t embody the arrogance of the United States like greasy burgers, SUV’s, George Bush, and the other big American symbols do. But like I mentioned above, hot dogs are everywhere in this country, and I’m sure many Americans feel that the hot dog is to some extent, as strong a symbol of national identity as the apple pie. So why does it get less recognition as an American staple? (more…)
Throughout the early 20th century, the United States’ employed a foreign policy of isolationism. It was believed that the United States could make it alone, leaving the rest of the world to make decisions regarding peace on their own. We didn’t need the rest of the world and they didn’t need us. This false idea of detachment fueled foreign policy decisions for decades, and almost kept us out of both World Wars. The United States’ non-interventionism was most visible when we created the League of Nations, an organization aiming to unite the world, but then failed to join it ourselves. Eventually it was realized that in the age of digital connectivity, global enterprise, and high-speed travel, it is absurd to believe a modern nation can remain detached from the world. Needless to say, the conflict in Iraq alone shows our foreign policy is anything but non-interventionist or isolationist today.
But the idea still lingers in our media.
Network neutrality is the current lay of the land in the United States. As a result, internet service providers (ISP) don’t charge varying rates based on what sites you visit or what you use your internet for. With net neutrality, we have access to every website at a somewhat consistent speed. Without network neutrality, we might have to pay extra to access to certain sites or pay an additional fee for access to special uses like file sharing. This kind of web discrimination would be a radical change from the free internet we know and love. Our internet, which allows us to do essentially whatever we want for a set price, would turn into a TV cable service style system, making us pay for channel (or website) packages. Abandoning net neutrality would also damage a number of the internet’s most prized characteristics that we hold dear, like the sense of a universal, global community. Fortunately for now, network neutrality is keeping the internet free.
But all that could be set to change.