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Erica K

Erica K
New Jersey, USA
September 26
I have a new blog: Grew up in Jackson Heights, New York, but now live in Jersey. Married and the proud owner (servant?) of 4 cats, including a little blind guy named Quincy. Jobs have included: English teacher in U.S. and abroad, cabaret performer and member of a NYC sketch comedy troupe; now a legal secretary and freelance writer. Other jobs: canvasser for NYPIRG/cannery worker in Naknek, Alaska (a fisherman told me it was "the ugliest part of Alaska")/dog kennel cleaner/member of the swine and poultry crew on a California farm. "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better." Samuel Beckett


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JANUARY 1, 2012 1:36PM

I'm as Mad as Hell and I'm Not Going to Take It Anymore

Rate: 17 Flag

Happy New Year, all!  My husband and I spent our New Year’s Eve in a most uneventful way:  eating dinner and watching a British crime drama on Apple TV.  He was asleep before the clock struck midnight, and I went upstairs to read in bed at 11:55 p.m.  It sounded like bombs going off in our sleepy New Jersey suburb, cannons maybe.  I never understood the allure of screaming and setting off fireworks on New Year’s Eve, at least not since I turned 40.  I baked lots of cookies (Pfeffernusse and chocolate chips) the past couple days.  We are going to our friends’ annual New Year’s Day party this afternoon, always a pleasure, a laid back, no stress get together.

I’m not big on resolutions, although I have hopes for a better year.  I simply don’t believe in listing all the things I hope to achieve and then feeling pressured to achieve them against all odds.  Perhaps that is lazy of me.  I feel the best I can all do is try to be a better person every day, more compassionate, kinder, more tolerant of others and accept our differences as human beings on a planet under siege by environmental raiders, corporate thieves, global warming, terrorism, all manner of brutality, war and fear.  If I can be a better person, maybe then I can help change the world.  I sound like a 20 year old now.  What’s gotten into me?  It’s a clear sunny day in New Jersey and I’m feeling good about life, ready to start anew.  Perhaps the sunshine has gone to my head.

There are times to lay low and be seemingly “passive,” and times to raise hell and fight for what is right, just and true. 

After reading Simba Russeau’s comment to my Jerry Springer post, which reads in part,

“I think that one important revolution that can and needs to take place is if the global community were to have a turn off your TV movement,”

I immediately thought of Peter Finch in the brilliant, prescient film Network, in which he plays Howard Beale, a TV anchorman who announces his intention to commit suicide on the air.  The ratings on the show catapult and the audience starts to view him as a kind of messiah.  Even though he is clearly mentally unbalanced, the producers use him for all he is worth, because he has boosted the ever-sacred ratings.

Here is the famous “Mad as Hell” clip from the film.  Peter Finch won the Academy Award for Best Actor posthumously.  He died of a heart attack in January 1977 and his widow accepted the award on his behalf.

 In 2011 I had my mad-as-hell moments, far more than I care to recall, and will have many more.  Don’t we all?  I didn’t stick my head out the window and shout, but I let out a primal scream or two indoors.

Sometimes you have to go against the grain even at the risk of being labeled a madman (or madwoman).  The Occupy Wall Street and other Occupy Movement participants have been frequently maligned and dismissed as being lazy, non-working bums who want a free ride.   I think they are mad as hell and they don’t want to take it anymore, and they have a right to be.  I’m mad too.

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Damn. I wanted to propose a shut your tv movement. Either way, we should all do it. Just shut off the damn thing! No adverstising allowed for a week? Baby steps.

There are many risks when bucking or fighting the status quo. But, there are many rewards i.e a feeling of being vital to the improvement of the universe. A feeling that you are more alive and real.

Not yet even sure if the rewards made up for the grave risks , in my case. That's a big curiosity that probably will be resolved post-mortem.

Whateva! Terrific post, Erika K. Anger and disgust can be great tools for change. They have been reviled beyond reason. One does sound "mad" when they rail against terrible things. Sad and defeating.

Happiest New Year to you and your husband and your apple Tv.
I'm not nuts about OWS...but I understand your position.

Not sure where you are from in NJ...but I am from Piscataway...and last night the fireworks were going full blast. Never remember anything like that before. Not sure who set them off...but it was definitely not a small event.

If you read or hear about them...please post here. I saw nothing in the paper.
There are times to lay low and be seemingly “passive,” and times to raise hell and fight for what is right, just and true.

Good point Erica. There's a time and place for everything; it depends on the situation. Yes I'm mad about a lot of things too and sometimes it seems overwhelming and hard to know where to channel those feelings. It can make a person feel helpless; that's why I love the OWS movement. I feel the way you do about it and the way it caught on across the country, although I haven't heard so many of the negative things you have. Most people don't want a free ride. They want to work hard for the ride but it's pretty hard to do that when the means aren't available. Now you've got me thinking about primal screams. Great post as always.
Unfortunately the folks who shut off the TV won't be the ones who ought to. Happy 2012 Erica.
Interesting how timeless the speech is. It still retains all of the emotional force of the time it was made, if not more. The world remains as idiotic, as brutal, as threatening and as meaningless as it was those many years ago and nothing meaningful seems to have been done since.
There are so many things to be "mad as hell" about it's hard to choose. I'm sure i'ts not laziness that inspires OWS-what's lazy about wanting a job so you can make a living? If the top 1% are "Job creators" I say they're doing a LOUSY job at creating jobs. Nor is wanting accountability for the Wall Street crooks who brought the country's economy to it's knees inspired by "laziness."

What we need to do this year is funnel that righteous anger into real power at the ballott box, make sure that candidates only ignore our wishes and views at their electoral peril.
(Hides bottle rockets behind her back.)
TV is the apple of the tree of knowledge, or whatever Satan (or somebody, God?) told Eve it was called. So is the Internet, but TV is worse because watching it is passive. It's the passivity, allowing the poisons to slip in with the good stuff - and there is good stuff on TV - that saps our precious bodily fluids. Soon we will be cast out of the garden. Well, more accurately, we're casting ourselves out of the garden, have been for decades. We have little spurts of being mad as hell and pledging not to take it anymore, but that's all they are, impotent little pfffts. The reality is we just don't give that much of a damn anymore. We're whipped and we know it. This makes me mad as hell, but I try not to let it show.
To care for the "other" or to help the weak should be the primary goal for humans in resolutions or revolutions. Unfortunately, it is very hard to even hope for hope with 70 million right wing Evangelicals and a bigger number who watch FOX News, and many others who care what Kardashian has to say. Happy New Year, Erica, you have a fine soul. R
Hello, my many "extra special" OS friends. Good to "find you here", this Jan. 1, 2011 early here) in the evening. Erica, I "couldn't agree more" about turning off the tv ... except (are you ready for this, anyone?:) I don't even HAVE one. [Gasp. Scratch your heads. etc.] For all the reasons you site for wanting to turn yours off. Me and my anti-tv-ism (?) = much too long a story for a single comment on someone's blog, but yes, Matt (was it you who made this point? ... had to go back for a moment to be sure), the difference (crucial, for me) between the Internet and TV is that here -- via Open Salon -- in the Internet we can TALK BACK AND FORTH.


Here we don't have to be passive "sheeple"; thank "the whatever"!

And as to fireworks in New Jersey -- My commiserations to all of you. Why do you think I moved to podunkville? I was all set up to barricade myself against the noise deluge, and guess what?

There warn't none.

Explain that to me, any of you????

"love you all" ;-)
Yep. That about sums it up. Happy New Year!
Excellent and I agree with Jan and Thoth. Cheers...
Sounds like a fairly peaceful, un-angry New Year's Eve.

As it is said: channel your anger into doing good.

Thanks for this piece.
fernsy, I admit that I still watch TV, but try to be discerning about what I watch. I know you have had your own personal battles fighting the system and I admire you for it. I know it has not been an easy road for you. Speaking of post-mortem, I think the role of Howard Beale was partly responsible for Peter Finch's death: he immersed himself so fully into that part. Happy New Year, my dear!

Frank, we live in Rochelle Park. What is it about NJ and fireworks? I haven't read the paper so I don't know.

Margaret, yes there is a time and place for everything. We have to choose our battles. Thank you for reading, as always.

Abra, good point. Happy New Year!

Jan, yes, I think this is the most powerful (or one of the most) speeches in the history of cinema, that still rings true.

Amen to that, Shiral!

Matt, ha ha, sapping the precious bodily fluids--Sterling Hayden as General Ripper in Dr. Strangelove. Priceless.

Thoth, thank you. Wishing you a wonderful New Year!

Podunkmarte, Good for you for not owning a TV. I didn't have one for years, but it wasn't by choice. I still watch it, but try not to watch mindless crap if I can.

Trudge, Happy New Year to you too!

Algis, Thank you, and Happy New Year!

Mary, it was a peaceful New Year's Eve. Hope yours was too.
If ONLY that damn propaganda/idiot box went off and everyone read more and decided for themselves Erika.
It's too much to hope for, but sounds great.
My only question is where is all the energy going to end up from all the righteous anger??
for it will take American blood on the streets to bring change....
You might be right, Mission. I wish I knew. Happy New Year to you!
Bread and circuses have subdued much of the anger for a long time. As the bread runs out and the circuses become more ridiculous, it makes me wonder if the sense of outrage will spread.

Whether we are angry or sad, concerned or energized, I hope that more of our positive and constructive impulses affect others and move us all in a more positive direction.

A thoughful and meaningful post, as always.
Paul, here's hoping the energy will spread and we will see some real "change we can believe in."

Jane, thanks. We can always hope.
I will never forget that moment. Even if I wasn't mad when I went into the theater - I was when I left.
I wish the water dragon well in figuring this one out.
rated with love
Yes, the water dragon will help us. My husband and I celebrate Chinese New Year for years now, since he is a kung fu practitioner. I am hoping the dragon will be kinder than the rabbit was. xo
I am voting for you this election. You "get" it. Hooray for the Wall Street occupiers, who are trying to publicize that this problem of the rich taking everything at the expense of the entire country's well-being is real, that in fact it's wonderful to be wealthy - good for those who are - but NOT when they are shutting down opportunities for everyone else to prosper - this is what naysayers don't understand. This is why people are unemployed (big companies laying workers off to protect profits, huge companies not paying taxes for the well-being of the whole. (General Electric:

If GE paid its taxes, can you imagine how many firemen, policemen, teachers and other public servants might still have their jobs? And yet, the very people who are suffering, so many in the Tea Party ironically, just don't get that they are protecting the very things that are killing this country.

GE did no

You go girl.
Thanks, Deb. Will you help me raise campaign funds? LOL.
Thank you for another good post, Erica! I'm ready to open the window and scream!!
I know, Joanne. I heard about the flood at K&S. Be careful!
L thought it was dangerous and we should have left sooner. I said I was mad as hell and I wasn't going to take it anymore!
Thanks for resurrecting the memory of one of my favourite movies. It's amazing how valid Finch's character's speech still is today. Turning off the TV is an act of courage in this day and age. So is stepping away from the computer screen occasionally!
Yes, the Peter Finch speech stands alone as a timeless cinematic moment. Yes, and turning off the TV and computer can be a challenge. I confess to being an addict of both myself. Thanks for reading.