Mr. Beck, Meet Mr. Beatty
Our favorite moment in Network is not the Mad As Hell Chorus, not the Black Nationalists arguing contract points with the network execs, not even Faye Dunaway literally having an orgasm over demographics.
No, our favorite moment is when Howard Beale is summoned to the office of Ned Beatty’s conglomerate chairman because he went too far:
You have meddled with the primal forces of nature, Mr. Beale, and I won’t have it! Is that clear?
You think you’ve 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, multivariate, multinational dominion of dollars. Petro-dollars, electro-dollars, multi-dollars, reichmarks, 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!
Another round of this, and Howard Beale relents with the best line of the movie: “I have seen the face of God.”
Glenn Beck fancies himself a real-life Howard Beale, and Thursday afternoon he took off on what should have been an unremarkable rant:
Do you remember what happened right after 9/11 with Rudy Giuliani? Do you remember Saudi Arabia came and said, we want to help.
This guy came over and said “I want to give you a $10 million dollar check.” Rudy Giuliani said, you see that over there? I don’t think we want your help. You already sent us help. And you flew that help into the plane, into the the trade centers.
The same prince later blamed the U.S. policy for the attacks. Giuliani said, take your check, we don’t want your money.
Par for the course. Except for one thing: The same prince — Alwaleed bin Talal al-Saud — also owns 7 percent of News Corporation.
We’ve been waiting months for this moment. Problem is, we’re having a hard time imagining Ned Beatty with an Australian accent.