In his masterful Network, director Sidney Lumet clearly wanted the audience to regard Peter Finch‘s Howard Beale as half coming-apart but also half-inspired. As one who psychedelically sailed into the mystic and the Bhagavad Gita in my early 20s, I’ve always preferred to see Beale as a spiritual emissary, first and foremost:

“This is not a psychotic episode,” Beale says to William Holden‘s Max Schumacher. “This is a cleansing moment of clarity. I’m imbued, Max. I’m imbued with some special spirit. It’s not a religious feeling at all. It’s a shocking eruption of great electrical energy. I feel vivid and flashing, as if suddenly I’d been plugged into some great electromagnetic field. And even to some great, unseen, living force. What I think the Hindus call prana.”

Last night a friend conveyed an opinion of Rose McGowan‘s hyper, cranked-up behavior on Late Night with Stephen Colbert and particularly her Wednesday night meltdown at a Manhattan Barnes & Noble. McGowan is “losing her ever-loving mind. It’s basically Network. No one wants to say anything but it’s obvious.”

HE reply: “Yeah, she’s very hyper, like she’s on Ritalin. But sometimes the usual social niceties fall to the wayside when a person is really throbbing with a special spirit or current. She’s speaking her truth and seems sharp and lucid as far as that goes. On the other hand she’d like to string up a significant portion of the white male power structure, and there’s something a little Ox Bow Incident about that.”

Friend: “Is it drugs or is she just cray cray? She’s getting props tweets from Anthony Bourdain (‘In a world of timidity, compromise and bullshit , @rosemcgowan howls fearlessly at the moon‘) who clearly can’t see the problem here. Scary shit. Has to be drugs.”

HE reply: “Just as I was disinclined to see Howard Beale as raving and unstable, an instinct is telling me that however eccentric she may seem in terms of her manner and speaking style, McGowan’s anger is fed by honest experience, honest fuel. I’m not sensing a chemical imbalance as much as old-fashioned rage and rhetorical fire.”

2.2, 2:15 pm update: The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed that McGowan has called off upcoming public appearances for her book tour. She’s also demanding an apology from the manager of the Union Square Barnes & Noble over a confrontation that happened during her appearance there on the evening of Wednesday, 1.31.