The “Newsroom” speech that went viral and my take…
The “speech”… I never saw it when it was originally on HBO but I have viewed the scene on Facebook and I have read the transcript… and … it’s an interesting and somewhat powerful indictment against those who want to say that America is great for mostly very wrong reasons.
It’s from HBO’s show, The Newsroom which stars Jeff Daniels. The scene that I saw and got the transcript for is from an episode called “We Just Decided To“, which is from year 1, episode 1 of the show.
The scene: A moderated town hall panel of three somewhat influential news people (Daniels’ character is a network anchor) are answering questions before a group of college students on various topics. One student asks all three members of the panel to answer this question… “Can you say why America is the greatest country in the world?”
After the usual de jour, and maybe somewhat jaded and by rote answers, one member of the panel is “badgered (nailed down) by the moderator of the Q&A session to elaborate on his opinion… “Well, our Constitution is a masterpiece. James Madison was a genius. The Declaration of Independence is for me the single greatest piece of American writing.”
The mod says… “One’s a set of laws and the other is a declaration of war. I want a human moment from you.”
He says… “IT’S NOT.”
The mod ties to rebut that comment but the Daniels character cuts him off and says… “It’s NOT the greatest country in the world, Professor. That’s my answer.”
There is this sorta pregnant moment and the mod says lets talk about it… and the Daniels’ dude goes into fallout attack mode… and… he turns to one member of the panel and says… “Fine. Sharon, the NEA is a loser. Yeah, it accounts for a penny out of our paycheck, but, he gets to hit you with it anytime he wants. It doesn’t cost money. It costs votes. It costs airtime. And column inches. You know why people don’t like liberals? Because they lose. If liberals are so fuckin’ smart then how come they lose so goddamn always?”
Then turning to the other panel member… “And with a straight face, you’re gonna sit there and tell students that America is so star-spangled awesome that we’re the only ones in the world who have freedom? Canada has freedom. Japan has freedom. The U.K. France. Italy. Germany. Spain. Australia. BELGIUM has freedom. (laughs) Two hundred and seven sovereign states in the world, like, a hundred and eighty of them have freedom.
To the asker of the question… “And you, Sorority Girl, just in case you accidentally wander into a voting booth one day, there’s some things you should know. One of them is there’s absolutely no evidence to support the statement that we’re the greatest country in the world. We’re seventh in literacy. Twenty-seventh in math. Twenty-second in science. Forty-ninth in life expectancy. A hundred and seventy-eighth in infant mortality. Third in median household income. Number four in labor force and number four in exports. We lead the world in only three categories: Number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real, and defense spending, where we spend more than the next twenty-six countries combined, twenty-five of whom are allies.
Now none of this is the fault of a twenty-year-old college student, but you nonetheless are without a doubt a member of the worst, period, generation, period, ever, period. So when you ask what makes us the greatest country in the world, I dunno what the fuck you’re talkin’ about. Yosemite?”
Those are some interesting numbers… more on the numbers in a bit… but…
Then, he ruins it all… or, I should say the script of the HBO show ruins it all by going into namby pamby bullshit mode… the following is what the script has the character say with my annotated remarks in parentheses and italics…
“Sure used to be. We stood up for what was right. (When did we used to be great… by what standard? Or, by whose standard? Was it some Anglo Saxon Christian white standards or was it by the standards of the so-called minorities of this country… the Black, the Native Americans, the Hispanics, etc…)
We fought for moral reasons. (Outside of a few very extreme circumstances, WWII for example and then that also was only because we were forced into action, first, by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and, then, by the Germans finally making it impossible for the US to stay on the sidelines as an interested but non-combatant observer… again… by whose morals, or morality, did we wage wars?)
We passed laws, struck down laws, for moral reasons. (In some rare instances American government did so because if not it would have caused a veritable backlash that would quite possibly have evolved into an insurmountable insurrection by those who were most poor and the most down trodden of the population.)
We waged wars on poverty, not poor people. We sacrificed. (The poor and the working class sacrificed and sometimes so did the middle class… just like today… they are always the ones called upon to make the biggest and most sacrifice… not them that has…definitely not the 1%.)
We cared about our neighbors. (I tend to agree with this; at least from my past it seemed to be that way. I grew up in a very rural area however… there were farms and large tracts of woodlands.)
We put our money where our mouths were. (The rich peeps put the poor, the working and middle classes’ money where their mouths are/were.)
And, we never beat our chest. (Bullshit!)
We built great big things, made ungodly technological advances, explored the universe, cured diseases, and we cultivated the world’s greatest artists and the world’s greatest economy. (Some of this is very true and some of it is very debatable at best.)
We reached for the stars. Acted like men. (But, not ever like a woman?)
We aspired to intelligence. We didn’t belittle it… it didn’t make us feel inferior. (We were given the illusion that we could aspire to intelligence, and, yes, some of us were actually able to do it but only to the point where it didn’t affect the reality of the status quo… or their huge profits… the .01% of the 1%.)
We didn’t identify ourselves by who we voted for in the last election (Bullshit), and we didn’t, oh, we didn’t scare so easy. Ha. We were able to be all these things and do all these things because we were informed. By great men. Men who were revered. First step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. (True dat…and that is one of America’s biggest problems. Not that they don’t recognize there are problems but that they identify either the wrong issues as being problems or use the wrong rationale (It’s the poor, it’s the illegal immigrants, it’s the Black people doing wrong stuff that makes cops shoot them, etc.…) America is not the greatest country in the world anymore. [pause] Enough?”
Me again… Jeff Daniels’ character is done… at least his speech is done…
And, sorry to say, that, if, the truth is to be told, we hardly were ever the greatest country in the world… most powerful at various points in our history, including possibly and arguable today? Yes, but great is a different idea and uses different criteria…
We murdered and stole our way into existence… an existence primarily created by one rich European class who wanted to be rid of another rich European class who was overseeing how the wealth in the “new world” was distributed…
We enslaved at least two ethnic groups… the indigenous people who were here when the Europeans first arrived and Black people, who were brought to America from slavers from Africa…
We almost murdered the indigenous people… or Native Americans… out of existence and when that was deemed kinda, sorta impossible, we decided they could live but that they had to have the crappiest, the poorest of the poor tracts of land that there was, to try and scratch out a subsistence upon…
The Black folks, we enslaved them and then after we eventually “freed” them from being enslaved, we perpetuated their enslavement in other ways… by manipulating laws… by waging a guerrilla warfare upon their existence, upon them and their families… their wives and children… essentially by for shit groups like the KKK… and by relegating them to second or third class citizenshipery.
Although some shit has changed… in the present analysis of American history to this point… it has not been near enough.
Racism and injustice still thrives and is directed upon these two ethnic groups. It is still a reality. American government still tries to steal the Native American lands by granting large corporations (oil or logging companies, for example) access to their treaty lands… once again breaking their word, their bond to these people…
And Black men and women and, yes, children, too, are still being lynched, albeit, now, it’s by the police forces, and other concerned citizens (renegade neighborhood watch group peeps for example), of the cities and towns all across America, who usually shoot them in “self defense.”
Greatest nation… country? Hardly.
Now… about Daniels’ character’s claims…
He says we are 7th in literacy…
According to the CIA World Factbook… yep… that’s CIA as in Central Intelligence Agency… our very own intelligence agency… we are about 7th in the world in literacy… although, it is pretty damn close between the top countries. Still, there are countries in the world that have better literacy rates than we all does. If, America is supposed to be so damn great, then why can’t everybody in America already read and write on at least a grade school level… if, not higher?
He says America is 27th in math and 22nd in science…
The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), collects test results from 65 countries for its rankings, which come out every three years. Using those rankings, Education Week says, “In mathematics, 29 nations and other jurisdictions outperformed the United States by a statistically significant margin, up from 23 three years ago… (and) (in) science, 22 education systems scored above the U.S. average, up from 18 in 2009.”
Pretty damn right on the mark I’d say…
And, America is 49th in life expectancy?
America is actually 50th in life expectancy according to the CIA World Factbook. However, the chart from the CIA that I read (circa 2015) said we used to have a life expectancy… which by the way is… or was… a tad over 79 years… that was 43rd…
That 178th in infant mortality? That’s wrong.
But, the U.S. is 47th in infant survival. And, that’s true, according to the CIA World Factbook. However, their info must have been updated because, once again the CIA chart that I read said we were 57th. Regardless, there are at least 47 countries where a child, under the age of one, has a better chance of making it to two. Considering we are supposed to be the greatest country in the world, that’s a pretty piss poor statistic. Our healthcare system… regardless of any so-called improvements that have been made… is for shit in some regard or the other.
Sad… the greatest country in the world can’t keep its babies alive or its old people happy and healthy in their retirement.
When he says the America’s median income is 3rd he’s wrong again. We are really… according to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)… 4th. Close enough for government work (or fake news anchors), however.
But, he hits the nail on the head when he says… America is number four in labor force and number four in exports. Photius.com (an information website that claims to presage Wikipedia, Yahoo and Google), shows the U.S. at No. 4 in labor force for 2010, showing that it uses… ta da… the CIA World Factbook from 2010 as its source.
Ya wanna know some other stuff he United states ain’t so great in? Try these on for size…
America is ranked 39th in income inequality according to the CIA World Factbook.
Income inequality (or equality?) means the ability to live across the socioeconomic strata in relatively equal ability. In other words, we don’t rate so well. In our great American society many… way too many… struggle in being able to buy necessary goods and services.
America’s unemployment percentage is worse than 102 of the 200 countries listed by the CIA World Factbook. That’s the percentage of the work force, or job force, that is out of work… these are people who are job able and actually looking. There are others in America who are out of work but have quit looking… plus the folks on welfare or just plain living the best they can on the streets or in homeless shelters. But, the unemployment percentage is only concerned with those still looking for work… And… once again we got worse rather than better. In 2015, the CIA had us as at 56 out of 208 countries. But, I’ll give us a pass on this one, because maybe the rest of the world is just getting their economies straightened out faster and more efficiently than America. But, still, for a country who is supposed to be the greatest, or at least among the greatest… 102nd or 56th… ain’t making it, in my opinion.
America ranks 13th in starting a business, according to the Doing Business rankings compiled by The World Bank. In 13 other countries it’s a damn sight easier to start a business than it is in America. So much for helping the enterprising business man, or woman, get a leg up so they can be pulling their selves up by their boot straps and making it in America, the land of opportunity. living the so-called dream. Not so damn good for the greatest, huh?
I’ll stop here.
I think maybe at least some of ya’ll may be getting the drift of my words… and Jeff Daniels’ words, albeit he is just spouting words as a figment of someone’s imagination. America wasn’t so damn great before, even though most folks would like to think it was… that’s how they usually teach and program when we are children supposedly learning in grade and high school… and… it ain’t so damn great, now.
Sounds like I hate America, don’t it? I really don’t. Its where I was born and raised. It’s where I want to be.
All I really want for America to do is to aspire to live up to the ideals upon which it was supposed to have been founded upon. I want everyone… every single damn person regardless of anything anyone can think of… to have the exact same chance to have what the declaration of independence said that all men… and women… are supposed to have….
That all of us are created equally… no discrimination what so ever… regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or no religion at all, or sex… all of us have certain inherent and inalienable rights… life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness… and that the government must use the powers endowed into it by the people to effect the peoples’ safety and happiness.
I just want America to work its ass off trying to be what it said it was… for everyone… for all of us… each and every one… no racism… no discrimination of any type at all. Justice and freedom for all….
I want to live in a country where all people have equal chances to be the best whatever they choose to be.
A country that has economic stability…
I want to live in country where no one is ever hungry… ever poor, ever without a job… never struggling to buy the good and services needed…where a family can live in humane and decent housing.
I want to live in a country where health care is truly universal… no one should ever want for the care they need to live… or to die humanely and in peace… no one should ever to not be able to get the medicines, or other medical necessities, they need to live happy and full lives…
I want to live in a country where cops actually do protect and serve the community…
One more time… I just want what the country was supposedly founded upon… I just want a country with a responsible justice and freedom for all. All of us…. no person left out for any reason whatsoever.
Is that so damn much to ask for?
Main stream media (brought and owned by the .01% of the 1%) doing what it does best… “… and today’s news… oh look a Black athlete not standing for the Star Spangled Banner…”
These are some of the things/issues mainstream media spent either no time reporting or less time reporting because of all the bullshit surrounding people being upset that Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for a racist song… not that it his rationale for doing it is a small or non-important issue… but…
1) Shaun King, an op-ed writer for the New York Daily News makes this point… “Last year set records for police violence. With at least 1,200 people killed by American police officers in 2015, it demolished the previous high by 90 fatalities.
(America) averages at least one person killed by police a little less than every eight hours. On some days, 10 people are killed by police and on others it may be one, but rarely do we go a single day in the United States without at least one person being shot and killed by police… Of the 1,200 people killed by American police in 2015, only seven cases resulted in charges — a ridiculously tiny number. Six other officers were charged this year for deaths that happened as far back as early 2013… as police investigations into their own wrongdoing have a dubious way of dragging on not weeks or months, but years…”
“Not one single police officer was convicted for an on-duty death in 2015. Indeed, if it’s exceedingly rare to see an officer charged with murder, seeing one actually convicted is the Loch Ness monster of law enforcement.”
2) A major banking lender warned of collapse saying the big banks are preparing for a nuclear winter.
3) Heard about a major oil company trying to build a pipeline through sacred Native American land in North Dakota? Probably did but not because of anything mainstream media told ya’ll, but, rather from social media outlets and WTF mentioning it… Well now it seems the company constructing the Dakota Access pipeline does not have the proper authorization to build it. Shortly after this news leaked out the protesters were attacked by guard dogs let loose on them by the oil company’s private security firm.
4) The George Soros hacks seem to be saying that he is funding various socially minded groups demonstrations in an effort to cause dissension and then a discussion on creating a federalized police force.
5) A new FBI report says then SecState Hillary had deleted 30 emails relating to Benghazi. The same report also says her staff destroyed Blackberries inside the state department with hammers. CNN which is usually “kind” to Hillary Billary seems to have verified the report as being reputable and probably true.
6)Kratom, “an herbal supplement”, is being touted by some quarters as being a cure for opioid addiction. It was recently banned by the FDA. While the ban is said to be “temporary”, if the claims are true about its curative capabilities, then it kinda, sorta benefits big Pharm.
7) A study by the UK government says that up to half of cancer patients are dying not from cancer but from the treatment… chemo.
And that’s just some of the news for the past week… the news that is not being reported by mainstream media… or at least made as big a deal out of as some other news that it used to distract us and used to foment dissension among populous…
Lets all stand up and cheer for hypocrisy and insanity…
Down in Alabama, just before McKenzie High School’s Friday night football game, Pastor Allen Joyner of Sweet Home Baptist Church, announced to all within hearing distance, and later to the world via social media, … “If you don’t want to stand for the national anthem, you can line up over there by the fence and let our military personnel take a few shots at you since they’re taking shots for you.”
And unfortunately his damn inane and insane announcement was met with loud and boisterous cheering… And unfortunately many later posted on social media forums what a great thing the pastor done did… promoting hate and potential murder against citizens because of a disagreement in values. A disagreement on what free speech is supposed to actually be all about.
An exception… not the only one but maybe the most poignant and the one who said it best… to those peeps who so blindly followed their so-called religious leader’s words as good little sheeple are wont to do came from 22-year Air Force veteran Mark Bender who said…
“We fight so that all Americans retain their rights and freedoms to protest. I would never turn a weapon on my own countryman simply because they protest by remaining seated during the national anthem, by refusing to recite the pledge of allegiance, refusing to stand or pledge during any act. These things we do, these pledges, these songs, these are not compulsory acts. They are acts that we are all free to join or not.
“… You, on the other hand are promoting extremist violence by way of state sanctioned executions. You are obviously standing for the compulsory actions by way of preaching hatred, jingoism, American exceptionalism… all because people do not believe or think as you do.
“I am grateful that the majority of Americans do not thirst for their brother’s blood as you do. You are a disgrace, those who agree with you are a disgrace, and you are a black mark upon this great nation.”
Of course, a message from the pastor, or at least his minions, was soon posted that essentially said his words were taken out of context….
Butler County Schools Superintendent Amy Bryan issue a statement that said “Patriotism should be a part of school events but threats of shooting people who aren’t patriotic, even in jest, have no place at a school. Threats of violence are a violation of school policy and certainly not condoned by the school board.”
And is also an arrestable offence… or has that reality slipped by everyone else mind?
People are not supposed to go around advocating other people’s deaths… or saying words that could possibly incite actions to be taken that could bring serious harm to other people… or… cause social unrest…
These are all crimes. Crimes that a person could, and maybe should be, busted for and eventually, if warranted, given a legal punishment that might include some damn jail time.
Another thousand words…
This week’s gratuitous pictures…
Taylor Marie Hill (20) is an american model…
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