erik lundegaard

The Real Howard Beale

Throughout his book, “The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan,” author Rick Perlstein talks about how all elements of the culture, including movies, were influencing other elements, but he is more reticent in drawing lines (or bridges, invisible or otherwise) between specific political acts and subsequent films. Thus the way Nixon talked about POWs led to the notion that we still had MIA over there, which led, 10 years later, to the awfulness of “Rambo: First Blood Part II.”

Then there was this cultural tidbit about Christine Chubbuck that I don't remember ever hearing about:

Two weeks before the impeachment hearings, the perky hostess of the chat show Suncoast Digest, who incorporated homemade puppets into the program, was angry that the station owner had told the staff to concentrate on “blood and guts,” and had cut away from her show to cover a shoot-out at a local restaurant. She began her broadcast with an uncharacteristic hard-news segment, with film from the restaurant shooting—which jammed in the projector, at which point she announced, “In keeping with Channel 40’s policy of bringing the latest in blood and guts, and in living color, you are going to see another first—attempted suicide.” She then shot herself in the head and died, leaving behind the script she had been reading from, which included a postscript: a third-person account of the breaking news story, to be read by whomever took over the news desk next.

Yes, Virginia (or Florida), there really is (or was) a Howard Beale.

Christine Chubbuck: inspiration for Network?


Posted at 02:30 PM on Sat. Aug 23, 2014 in category Books  
Tags: , ,

COMMENTS

Mister B wrote:

Is anyone else beside me at least somewhat put off by the note that Chris was “attractive”? Was that mentioned as if to say, “She's attractive. Why would she do such a thing?”

Did it really add anything to the news story? Did it have to be said? Is she attractive to everyone? She was 38 to everyone that knew her — and a woman — and an anchorwoman.

*grumble* *sigh*

Comment posted on Mon. Aug 25, 2014 at 10:12 AM

Erik wrote:

I appreciate the passion, but ... it is 40-year-old journalism.

Comment posted on Mon. Aug 25, 2014 at 11:13 AM

Reed wrote:

Wow.

Comment posted on Tue. Aug 26, 2014 at 12:58 AM

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