On May 9th, 2013, I decided to troll the New Hampshire Senate Finance Committee during this year’s HB 1 Budget Hearing.
I wanted to break the fourth wall of government, and show those in the seat of power and these hearings for what they are: political theatre. And, to be honest, as I had originally intended to punk the New Hampshire House of Representatives instead, it was far more gratifying to perform in front of the Senators, as they are a much smaller consolidation of power, and thus more dangerous, arrogant, and elitist than the House could ever be to the cause of freedom.
Below, Adam Sutler and Edgar Friendly give an anti- and pro- liberty speech, respectively, completely written in movie quotes. In retrospect, I should’ve used Labyrinth’s “You have no power over me” somewhere.
Mr. Chairman and members of this distinguished Committee,
You and I both know how important this budget is because … [Network] I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s worth, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street. There’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there’s no end to it.
[The Verdict] I mean there is no justice. The rich win; the poor are powerless. We become tired of hearing people lie. And after a time we become dead. We think of ourselves as victims — and we become victims. We become, we become weak; we doubt ourselves; we doubt our beliefs; we doubt our institutions; and we doubt the law.
[The Contender] Now, I may be an atheist, but that does not mean I do not go to church. I do go to church. The church I go to is the one that emancipated the slaves and gave women the right to vote. It gave us every freedom that we hold dear. My church is this very Chapel of Democracy that we sit in together.
And you. You are the stewards of this Church. [The Verdict] Today, you are the law. You are the law, not some book, not the lawyers, not a marble statue, or the trappings of the court. See, those are just symbols of our desire to be just. They are, in fact, a prayer, a fervent and frightened prayer.
In my religion, they say, “Act as if you had faith; faith will be given to you.”
[V for Vendetta] Ladies and Gentleman, <this budiget> is a test. Moments such as these are matters of faith. To fail is to invite doubt into everything we believe, everything we have fought for. Doubt will plunge this country back into chaos, and I will not let that happen.
What we need right now is a clear message to the people of <New Hampshire>! This message must be read in every newspaper, heard on every radio, seen on every television. This message must resound throughout the ENTIRE INTERLINK! I want this <state> to realize that we stand on the edge of oblivion! I want every man, woman, and child to understand how close we are to chaos! I WANT EVERYONE to remember WHY THEY NEED US!
This budget. [V for Vendetta] I want more than arrests. I want results. [Tombstone] Tell all the other curs the LAW’S coming! You tell ‘em I’M coming… and Hell’s coming with me, you hear?! Hell’s coming with me!
Mr Chairman and members of this distinguished Committee,
[The Fountainhead] I came here to say that I do not recognize anyone’s right to one minute of my life, nor to any part of my energy, nor to any achievement of mine — no matter who makes the claim! It had to be said: The world is perishing from an orgy of self-sacrificing. I came here to be heard in the name of every man of independence still left in the world. I wanted to state my terms. I do not care to work or live on any others.
After reading this budget, I realized that [Network] 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 <terroists> are gonna take over the world because the <terrorists> 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 200 odd million transistorized, deodorized, whiter-than-white, steel-belted bodies, totally unnecessary as human beings and as replaceable as piston rods.
[V for Vendetta] How did this happen? Who’s to blame? Well certainly there are those who are more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn’t be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense.
That’s right. You see, [Demolition Man] according to <this budget>, I’m the enemy. Because I like to think, I like to read. I’m into freedom of speech, freedom of choice. I’m the kind of guy who would sit in the greasy spoon and wonder “Gee, should I have the T-bone steak or the jumbo rack of Barbecued ribs with the side order of gravy fries?” I want high cholesterol. I want to eat bacon, and butter and buckets of cheese ok? I want to smoke a Cuban cigar the size of Cincinnati in a non-smoking section. I wanna run through the streets naked with green jell-o all over my body reading Playboy magazine. Why? Because I suddenly might feel the need to, ok pal? I’ve *seen* the future, you know what it is? It’s a 47 year-old virgin, sitting around in his beige pajamas drinking a banana-broccoli shake, singing “I’m an Oscar-Meyer Wiener”.
That’s freedom. That’s what we should be striving for, and this bill knows no such thing. Thank you.
If you’d like to see the original filmed scenes overdubbed over our performances, you can see Adam Sutler’s here and Edgar Friendly’s here.