Sidney Lumet’s 1975 film Dog Day Afternoon is worth watching, if just for one reason. That would be the total fascination by many in the public for the media. In the film, based on a real incident at a neighborhood savings bank in Brooklyn, NYC (incidentally, where my late grandmother banked) when two men held up the bank in a Keystone Cops manner. They become trapped before they can escape, and take the staff hostage. All concerned, except one of the robbers (played by the late and great character actor John Cazale) and the bank’s manager, are aware and excited by this instant media attention. Even the main character, played by Al Pacino, is caught up in this media obsession when he is on the phone with a newsman and sees his conversation being televised live. Then, later in the film when he goes out onto the street to talk to the police captain, Pacino begins hamming it up by continually shouting ‘Attica Attica’ after the recent hostage crisis at the upstate prison in Attica NY that spiraled into a police massacre. The piece de resistance is when a pizza delivery boy, now center stage of the myriad of news cameras, begins shouting ‘I’m a star’ as he dances about in front of the bank’s entrance. All the many onlookers also perform for the media as if part of the whole
What was always the case in our Amerika is the total disconnect between the mainstream media, professional sports, politicians and the public. Many of us, this writer included, looked upon those on the other side of the camera as so distant from us. They were almost like Gods to we regular working stiffs. Once upon a time, a time when things were much more ‘even Steven’, sports figures, media journalists/broadcasters, and even some politicians were closer in class to we working stiffs. In baseball, I can remember when most of the players on my favorite team, the Brooklyn Dodgers, had to find jobs during the offseason to pay the bills. Really! Carl Furillo, nicknamed The Skoonge, worked with the American Indians doing skyscraper construction work, way up high. Media journalists, excepting the Walter Winchells of the world, had the same type of 9 to 5 jobs that our parents had. As we all know, all that has changed. Mega millionaires fill the ranks of professional sports and the mainstream media. Most of them have lost the vision of what we 99+ % of us see the world outside (and inside) our doors.
What about those we elect to run our nation? Well, this is from 2015, so imagine what it is now:
The net worth of a typical member of Congress has grown 20% since 2007. During those same years, the net worth of the typical American household dropped 35%.
In 2007 the typical senator or representative had a net worth of $803,000. By 2010 that number had grown to $1 million. At the same time, the net worth of U.S. families dropped from $126,000 to $77,000.
So, the 99+% of us literally have NO connection with those in politics, mainstream media and professional sports. The time for celebrating these people should be over!