American Rhetoric: Movie Speech

"Network" (1976)

 

Howard Beale Declaims the Death of Democracy

Audio mp3 delivered by Peter Finch

Beale: Last night, I got up here and asked you people to stand up and fight for your heritage and you did and it was beautiful!

6 millions telegrams were received at the White House!

The Arab takeover of CCA has been stopped!

The people spoke!

The people won!

It was a radiant eruption of democracy.

But, I think that was it, fellas. That sort of thing is not likely to happen again, because at the bottom of all our terrified souls we know that democracy is a dying giant, a sick, sick dying, decaying political concept writhing in its final pain.

I don't mean that the United States is finished as a world power. The United States is the richest, the most powerful, the most advanced country in the world -- light years ahead of any other country.

And I don't mean the communists are going to take over the world, because the communists are deader than we are.

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.

Well, the time has come to say, "Is 'de-humanization' such a bad word?" Because good or bad, that's what is so.

The whole world is becoming humanoid -- creatures that look human, but aren't. The whole world, not just us. We're just the most advanced country, so we're getting there first.

The whole world's people are becoming mass-produced, programmed, numbered, insensate things....

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HTML transcription by Michael E. Eidenmuller.