Let Howard Beale Be Your Guide

29 Apr

I am addicted to Twitter. It is where I get all of my information about news, sports and entertainment. It is also where I keep up with the thoughts of friends and coworkers. However, there is something about Twitter that I have noticed.

A lot of people are mad.

Democrats are mad at Republicans for ruining the country. Republicans are mad at Democrats for ruining the country. People are mad because someone is wanting to take away their rights. People are mad and want other people’s rights taken away.

A Twitter timeline can quickly turn into a stream of rage.

A few months ago, a woman followed me, and, since we had some common relations, I followed her. Before long, I realized that she is one of those mad people who thinks Republicans are the spawn of Satan. Every tweet was filled with anger toward the people who she blamed for all of the ills of the world. There were no tweets about anything else.

After a while, I began to feel sorry for her. Is her whole life focused on political hate? I could not stand it for long and stopped following her. A few weeks later, she stopped following me.

She is just one example, and I can find plenty that come from the other side of the aisle. My point is not to disparage political ideals. It is to come to grips with the fact that the world is full of anger.

When it comes to politics, people have always gotten upset. Heck, politics is all about winners and losers, and losers usually do not walk away happily. However, in the social media world in which we live the anger has been ramped up.

Simply, people say things on Twitter that they would never say to someone’s face. It is like they are behind a protective wall and cannot be held accountable for the hateful things they say about others.

This also spills over into the world of sports. You have not seen anything until you have seen the messages that grown men send to high school kids who did not choose to play football for their favorite schools. They call them losers. They hope that they will get hurt.

The anger on social media is over the top, and I have not even mentioned Facebook, a domain in which I refuse to enter. On Twitter people only have 150 characters to spew their madness. On Facebook, they can write paragraph after paragraph. I cannot imagine what people say on that platform.

All of this brings Howard Beale to my mind. If you do not know Howard Beale, then I bet you know what he said. Howard is a character in Network, a 1970s movie about the television industry. Howard is a news anchor who becomes unhinged, and the network gives him his own show to spout his ramblings.Howard Beale

He becomes popular when he talks about the problems of the world and the frustrations they cause. He asks his audience to go to their windows and yell, “I’M MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!!

Soon, people all over the country are yelling out of their windows. I wish more people would do that. Instead of getting on social media and talking about other people, they should just go outside and yell. Then, they are relieved of their frustrations without filling my timeline with senseless anger.

I say senseless because we can get on Twitter or Facebook or a blog and talk about how terrible other people are making our world, but it is not going to stop anything. If you are really mad then get off social media and do something to fix what you think is wrong.

Of course, you could just do what Howard Beale said 40 years ago. Yell out a window.

16 Responses to “Let Howard Beale Be Your Guide”

  1. Marilyn Armstrong April 29, 2015 at 02:33 #

    I think I wrote about this recently too. There seem to be an awful lot of angry people. In congress. On Facebook, Twitter, blogging. In the streets. It’s worrisome. Rage is contagious. If you’re exposed to it for long enough, you find yourself getting mad too. I don’t spend much time on social media and I don’t let people rant on my site. I know I can’t control the world, but I can keep a lid on my own little corner of it. It doesn’t bode well for our country.

    The thing that bothers me most is that the anger is IS coming from ALL sides. As a nation, we aren’t going anywhere good if everyone hates everyone else.

    • Rick April 29, 2015 at 04:00 #

      Nobody wants to listen to other ideas. On all kinds of issues, people on all sides are close minded.

      • Marilyn Armstrong April 29, 2015 at 04:02 #

        Closed because many people have defined anyone who disagrees with their position — whatever it is — as evil. You can’t talk to people if you hate them on “principle.”

  2. Andrew Petcher April 29, 2015 at 05:14 #

    Twitter is dangerous. I stopped using it. People say outrageous things because they didn’t believe that they will be held accountable. I’d prefer not to know people’s thoughts that should really be kept to themselves.

    • Rick April 29, 2015 at 12:09 #

      People think they can get away with anything. I guess they can. No one is stopping them.

  3. sittingpugs April 29, 2015 at 13:07 #

    Simply, people say things on Twitter that they would never say to someone’s face. It is like they are behind a protective wall and cannot be held accountable for the hateful things they say about others.

    Moreover, the hateful or even kind words a person may actually say to a person’s face would otherwise just be heard by that person or anyone else within eavesdropping distance. The perceived “safety” of expressing positive or negative emotions via digital platform is accessible to a much larger audience. (Even controlling for privacy settings and “only followers, account holders, or ‘friends'” can view or engage with the full content).

    Oddly, there are things I convey in my blog and my tumblr because I’m convinced nobody is going to read it. Not because it will be hidden or camouflaged by all the other posts, but because it’s not earth-shattering or memorable enough.

    • Rick April 29, 2015 at 14:17 #

      I fell into the same problem with my blog. I wrote things without thinking that somebody would actually read them. We all must remember that when the Send button is hit the entire world can see.

      • sittingpugs April 29, 2015 at 18:04 #

        Do you then get anxious about proper use of comma vs. semi-colon? ^_^

      • Rick April 29, 2015 at 19:04 #


  4. jcalberta April 29, 2015 at 14:31 #

    I resisted Facebook for a long time. Finally people talked me into it. I reluctantly went there. But it shortly proved to be too much … way tooo much. I tried to get out and found they had made it difficult to do so. Finally succeeded. Then I found that if i responded to any email from Facebook (friends?) it automatically re-activated my page. (Does it still doesn’t do that???) Ultimately I was forced to re-open my page for reasons that I now forget?? I never look at it. The most annoying thing is that every place you go it it’s expected you are to have a Facebook page – as if it;’s mandatory – or that there’s something wrong with you if you don’t have one. Incredible.
    I never Twitter. Never will. I think Twitter is essentially a vanity trap – that my opinion on anything is important. It’s not. I better stop now … this is turning into a massive vanity rant … and I’m getting angry … Grrrrrr rr.. r.r.r rr ……LoLLLLLL ….

    • Rick April 29, 2015 at 15:03 #

      Facebook has taken over the world. A ton of websites will not let you comment unless you have Facebook. It is a ridiculous creation.

      • Marilyn Armstrong April 29, 2015 at 15:27 #

        It’s laziness. Facebook exists, so other sites piggyback on it. It is easier than building their own interface. If I didn’t use both Twitter and Facebook to publicize Serendipity, I would probably never go to Twitter and rarely to Facebook. It was more fun before the ranters took over. The world was more fun and it wasn’t all that long ago.

  5. Bantering Ram May 1, 2015 at 05:04 #

    It’s actually worked well for me. I discovered and got connected with cycling and music communities, people doing lovely work on sustainable development, people going against the grain…essentially interesting people. The rest, I deal with it like my morning newspaper – summarily dismiss it 🙂

    • Rick May 1, 2015 at 14:19 #

      Social media can be an awesome thing. Like a lot of good things, it can be ruined quickly by certain people.

  6. John S May 1, 2015 at 23:34 #

    Twitter is brilliant, but it also gives all those sad, angry people a chance to sit in their bedrooms and abuse people anonymously. Before social media their only outlet was toilet walls.

    • Rick May 2, 2015 at 04:01 #

      I like the toilet reference. There’s a bunch of graffiti on Twitter.

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