There is no America. There is no democracy.

23 May 2009 by Mike Gogulski
Posted in art | 5 Comments »

There is no America.
There is no democracy.
There is only IBM and ITT, and AT&T, and Du Pont, Dow, Union Carbide and Exxon.
Those are the nations of the world today.

From Network, 1976:

You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale… and I won’t have it!
Is that clear?
You think you merely stopped a business deal.
That is not the case.
The Arabs have taken billions of dollars out of this country… and now they must put it back!
It is ebb and flow, tidal gravity. It is ecological balance!
You are an old man… who thinks in terms of nations and peoples.
There are no nations. There are no peoples.
There are no Russians. There are no Arabs.
There are no Third Worlds. There is no West.
There is only one holistic system of systems!
One vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multi-variant, multinational dominion of dollars!
Petrol dollars, electro dollars, multi-dollars.
Reichsmarks, rins, rubles, pounds and shekels!
It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet.
That is the natural order of things today.
That is the atomic, and subatomic, and galactic structure of things today.
And you have meddled with the primal forces of nature!
And you will atone!
Am I getting through to you?
You get up on your little 21-inch screen and howl about America and democracy.
There is no America.
There is no democracy.
There is only IBM and ITT, and AT&T, and Du Pont, Dow, Union Carbide and Exxon.
Those are the nations of the world today.
What do you think the Russians talk about in their councils of state? Karl Marx?
They get out their linear programming charts, statistical decision theories, minimax solutions and compute price-cost probabilities of their transactions and investments, like we do.
We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale.
The world is a college of corporations… inexorably determined by the… immutable bylaws of business.
The world is a business, Mr. Beale.

  1. 5 Responses to “There is no America. There is no democracy.”

  2. By Marcel Votlucka on 23 May 2009

    One of my favourite scenes in that movie…..very prophetic indeed. You can just imagine Dick Cheney reciting that soliloquy with one of those shit-eating grins of his.

  3. By Libby Snipp on 23 May 2009

    What a great movie… and from the clip above, another amazing quote from the Howard Beale show:

    …at the bottom of all our terrified souls we know that democracy is a dying giant, a sick, sick, dying, decaying political concept writhing in its final pain.

    …what is finished is the idea that this great country is dedicated to the freedom and flourishing of every individual in it. It’s the individual that’s finished. It’s the single, solitary human being that’s finished. It’s every single one of you out there that’s finished.

    Because this is no longer a nation of independent individuals. It’s a nation of some 200-odd million transistorized, deodorized, whiter-than-white, steel-belted bodies totally unnecessary as human beings and as replaceable as piston rods.

    Well, the time has come to say, “Is dehumanization such a bad word?” Because good or bad, that’s what is so. The whole world is becoming humanoid, creatures that look human but aren’t.

    This is a great scene, but my favorite is another one that fuels my hope that we can overcome the dehumanization going on all around us.

    Max Schumacher: You need me. You need me badly. Because I’m your last contact with human reality. I love you. And that painful, decaying love is the only thing between you and the shrieking nothingness you live the rest of the day.

    Diana Christensen: Then, don’t leave me.

    Max Schumacher: It’s too late, Diana. There’s nothing left in you that I can live with. You’re one of Howard’s humanoids. If I stay with you, I’ll be destroyed. Like Howard Beale was destroyed. Like Laureen Hobbs was destroyed. Like everything you and the institution of television touch is destroyed.

    You’re television incarnate, Diana: Indifferent to suffering; insensitive to joy. All of life is reduced to the common rubble of banality. War, murder, death are all the same to you as bottles of beer. And the daily business of life is a corrupt comedy. You even shatter the sensations of time and space into split seconds and instant replays. You’re madness, Diana. Virulent madness. And everything you touch dies with you.

    But not me. Not as long as I can feel pleasure, and pain… and love.

    Not me either. Here’s to being in touch with our humanity and our feelings, pleasure, pain and love.


  4. By Seth on 23 May 2009

    Friggin love this movie, and that scene is one of the best. Right up there with the Alec Baldwin’s tour de force is Glengarry Glen Ross

  5. By Mike Gogulski on 23 May 2009

    @Libby: What you said! Such a great film.

    @Seth: Damn that was brutal. Guess I’ll put this one in the download queue too. Thanks for that!

  6. By Seth on 27 May 2009

    @Mike, you haven’t seen Glengarry Glen Ross?! Let me know how you like it, one of my favorite movies. David Mamet writes some great dialogue. Plus the powerhouse cast in that movie is incredible.

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