06 April 2010

Mad Prophet of the Airwaves

Carl Paladino, the Buffalo businessman, officially threw his hat into the ring and announced his candidacy for the Republican gubernatorial nomination yesterday. Appealing to Tea Party types, he presents himself as an angry populist railing against the "parasitical" ruling class of Albany. He rails in archetypal language, proclaiming that he's "mad as hell" and "not going to take it anymore."

Quoting Paddy Chayefsky's screenplay for Sidney Lumet's Network is kind of like singing "Born in the U.S.A." at a patriotic rally. It doesn't quite mean what you think it means. While anyone may agree with the literal sentiment expressed on air by Howard Beale, it should be remembered that, in the film, these were the words of a man who was losing his mind. When he exhorts his viewers to go to their windows and repeat his slogan, the fact that so many do so is not shown as a Capra-esque uprising of the common people, but as the rapid viral spread of a mass psychosis, accompanied by scary lightning flashes in the night sky. It should also be remembered that Beale's sermons inspire no rebellion or reform movement that the film notices. He only inspires more people to watch his news program, which degenerates from a dry news summary to a prophetic vision of today's rantfests from O'Reilly to Olbermann. According to Network, Howard Beale's ranting is not a remedy for the ills of American society, but a symptom. Carl Paladino offers himself as a remedy with the same sort of rhetoric about running government on business principles that politicians have used for more than a century. But the fact that he commends himself to us by declaring himself mad, in the language of a fictional madman, suggests a different diagnosis.

8 comments:

d.eris said...

ha. Reading this post I couldn't help but think of that famous line from the Princess Bride: "I do not think this means what you think it means."

marry said...

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Crhymethinc said...

Government is NOT a business. It is not meant to be run like a business. What is the purpose of a business? To make a profit by selling a product or service for pay. How does the government make a profit? Raising taxes? And take a good look at businesses like JRC. Should the government be run like that? Frikkin right-wing morons really need to get a clue as to the purpose and function of "gubmint".

hobbyfan said...

What is in the water in Buffalo that has millionaires thinking they can be governor? First, there was Tom Golisano, now this Paladino fella, whom I've never heard of. Didn't hear of Golisano, either, until his first run, and then I find he was a owner of the Sabres of the NHL. Where did Paladino make his millions? Buffalo Hot Wings? Folks gotta know!

Crhymethinc said...

He made his millions the same way they all do - by exploiting the working class.

Crhymethinc said...

So not only is this guy an unabashedly unapologetic racist, but he's also a pervert - check out this blog with info on what kind of emails this sicko has been sending to friends & business associates:
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/postpartisan/2010/04/carl_paladino_is_out_of_his_ne.html

And this is the best the teabaggers can come up with?

Samuel Wilson said...

In their defense, I should remind you that Paladino so far is no more than a self-appointed representative of the Tea Party movement. The most you can claim is that his picture file may resemble those in the hard drives of other like-minded people. There's no way to prove that but it wouldn't surprise me if it were so.

dissertation said...

Mad Prophet of the Airwaves <-- that's what i was looking for History