I’ve tried to start three different posts this morning, and none of them are going anywhere except into Strident Scolding territory. Part of me suspects that my diet of The Newsroom episodes from last night is churning in my gut like expired salsa.
Seriously, who buys salsa from the bargain clearance shelf at Kroger? I saw that on Saturday and thought that saving thirty-two cents was never so costly.
I did finish this first season of Sorkin’s latest venture into Edutainment last night, and I’m torn. I don’t have anything new to add to the public discourse, really. The show recycled bits we’ve seen before; if I start listing them I’ll go over 500 words before I’m half done. Upon reflection, though, I don’t know if this is a bad thing. After all, a lot of songs that sample earlier hits become extra groovy in their own right. (I’m thinking ‘Right Round’ by Flo Rida and MAYBE that Kid Rock song that mashed up Werewolves and Sweet Home Alabama.)
The stuff with the his female characters was as bothersome as it always is. I keep seeing articles and tweets and blogposts about how Sorkin can’t write women. Since most of his writing comes from his own need to work out issues with his father and brothers I don’t understand why people expect him to write women well. As good as he can be at some things, he seems fundamentally incapable of viewing women through any lens except his own gratification. In Sorkin’s world a woman has to look good on your arm or good on your resume. She doesn’t need to have personhood.
Still and all, I kept watching the show because it does what I like Sorkin to do: maintain an idealism and a sense of striving toward that idealism. He and I are polar opposites on many political issues, we don’t share a religion and we obviously don’t share a gender or an outlook on human sexuality. But we do have that quixotic view of the world that makes me a libertarian and him a multimillionaire script writer. We believe in always working toward the best our society can be.
That’s specifically why one short moment in the middle of the episode 5/1 had me in tears.
That episode was about the Newsroom’s handling of what is–to them–an unknown Breaking News story. They have several theories about what it might be, but are waiting on confirmation. Once it is confirmed, the News Director announces to the hard-working staff that Osama bin Laden has been killed. The room breaks into cheers and applause.
News reports dancing in the streets on West Bank. Saw TV reports of some little boys whooping it up. Note to self: do not teach daughter to exult when people die
And yet here we are, a decade later, making entertainment where the execution of a war criminal is greeted with applause, cheering, handshakes, pats on the back, and wide grins. Happy happy happy! We’ve KILLED SOMEONE! ISN’T IT GREAT?!?
Maybe I’m too old. Maybe I’m too out of step. But the idealistic part of me would like to think that we’d realise that death–no matter who it has come for–is a serious responsibility. Deciding to take someone’s life should never be easy. It should definitely never be cheered on like a touchdown.