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Journey to Irony II: The Lands of Gamma and Delta

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There is a second sound coming from a nearby apartment window that opens out onto the street. From this window comes a song conveying a quite different sentiment. The song is “Black and White” from the Broadway (and originally French) musical, Les Miserable. This song is sung by the young, idealistic men (and women) who are preparing for battle. They are finding the courage to mount the hastily constructed barricades and fight an oppressive French regime during the 19th Century. Based on a novel by Victor Hugo, we know how the story ends: the rebellion is squashed (in the novel, play and real life). Hope is obliterated. Love prevails, but at a major cost. Maybe the heavy metalists are right.

Having heard both of these contrasting musical themes, I turn left onto a somewhat more spacious avenue. I discover a large movie theater. This seems to be a land that needs escape (through movies)—except the movie that is playing offers very little escape. It is Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver. Is Robert DeNiro an anti-hero in the land of Gamma? I doubt they have any actual heroes or positive role models. DeNiro would seem to be in the running along with other “bad boys” like Humphrey Bogart and Robert Mitchem (from the old Film Noir era) and Joe Pesci or even Jack Nicholson (from our more contemporary era).

Perhaps even the humorous and painfully insightful movies (and real life) of Woody Allen qualifies him as an anti-hero in the land of Gamma. There are also movie posters for a coming attraction. They are announcing the arrival soon of another film classic: Paddy Chayefsky’s Network. The poster displays the now-famous declaration made by the film’s anti-hero protagonist, Howard Beale, who screams out” “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”. This declaration seems appropriate to and aligned with the contentious perspectives that saturate the land of Gamma.,

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