Acknowledging Howard Beale
Was I real? Did Paddy Chayefsky create me or am I that pre-eternal spark that exists in the human heart?
Consider the words the actor Peter Finch emitted when he played me in Network, the 1976 film directed by Sidney Lumet;
“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 two hundred odd million transistorized, deodorized, whiter-than-white, steel-belted bodies, totally unnecessary as human beings and as replaceable as piston rods.”
See me. Feel me;
Hear the song that Whitman drew out of me;
“I CELEBRATE myself, and sing myself/And what I assume you shall assume/For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you/I loafe and invite my soul/I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass/…Creeds and schools in abeyance…I will go to the bank by the wood and become undisguised and naked…The smoke of my own breath/Echoes, ripples, buzz’d whispers, love-root, silk-thread, crotch and vine…The delight alone or in the rush of the streets, or along the fields and hill-sides/The feeling of health, the full-noon trill, the song of me rising from bed and meeting the sun.” — Walt Whitman, Song of Myself, I, II, VI & LII
And now, I fade. I become less. I become system. I am xxx’d out. I am deleted.
In my rest, I am feared.
~ Stephen J. Bergstrom