stagefright 2

Donald Margulies

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Jamie Moses

Jamie Moses founded Artvoice in 1990


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  • Well, this type of speech by a Sorkin character was impressive the first time I heard one, in “The American President”. And they were nice when I heard them quite often on “The West Wing”, although they got less impressive the more of them I heard, usually with the exact same cadence and structure of the argument (and worse, the exact same cadence no matter who gave the speech, because in a Sorkin script, there are no distinctive-sounding characters). By the time of “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip”, this type of Sorkin speech was getting really old. By the time of “The Social Network”, this type of Sorkin speech was a tired cliche. And now it’s being rolled out as yet more Sorkin ‘genius’. Well, to quote the guy giving the speech, ‘What the fuck are you talking about?!’

    (And I say this as a former huge fan of Sorkin’s and a member of the choir he’s theoretically preaching to. But I’ve thought for years that all Sorkin is doing is writing the same script, over and over, with the names and places changed, and I’ve seen nothing from this show to make me think otherwise. Aaron Sorkin can write dialog with a nice rhythm. Doesn’t change the fact that he’s a one-trick hack.)

  •  We didn’t do so well in that past either – think slavery and then racism and pollution.  Think support of petty dictators and wars that had no real reason other than an irrational fear of communism.  It is hard to be the greatest of anything and perhaps some of those countries who are currently beating us in health care and math are actually standing on our backs to do those things. But ultimately a country can only be great and remain great if it is willing to evaluate itself in a critical way and make hard choices which result in a better way of doing things.  Blind boosterism an patriotism is the opposite of that.  Unfortunately too many in the USA to have no patience for the hard choices and self critique

    • Right you are. For instance, my Boomer generation (and Jeff Daniels’s) and Andrew Cuomo’s has just sold out a younger generation by agreeing to cut benefits to NYS employees who are hired in the future, while refusing to even think about taxing wealthy New Yorkers (frequently themselves) at a reasonable rate. But better than this internecine generational warfare, why not just eat the rich?

  • Classic Aaron Sorkin maudlin nostalgia for the good old days. My God, when was that dreamy era we’ve lost?  The forties (Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo firestorm, Jim Crow, Taft-Hartley)? the fifties (Korea, Jim Crow, McCarthy, subversion of Guatemala, Iran)? the sixties (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Jim Crow)? the seventies (Vietnam, Cambodia, Chile subverted)?  “We acted like men”–add “patriarchy” to all the above. Since it’s Aaron Sorkin, the good old days are probably the Clinton era (Welfare reform bill of 1996, Waco, war on Iraqi children via sanctions), and we should probably prepare for some Muslim-bashing, too.

    Oh, thanks, Aaron, for the gentle major chords in the conclusion–otherwise, I wouldn’t have known to turn my brain off.