A defense of Aaron Sorkin's 'The Newsroom'
In defense of 'The Newsroom.'
Editor’s Note: We’ll be running the article recommendations of our friends at TNR Reader each afternoon on The Plank, just in time to print out or save for your commute home. Enjoy! Aaron Sorkin does not think he is an ideologue. But his smug style is an ideology in itself. The Globe and Mail | 7 min (1,706 words) The history of sex is also a literary history. Erotic fantasy, like reading, is a game of trying to understand someone else’s mind. And nothing illustrates this better than Fifty Shades of Grey. Los Angeles Review of Books | 11 min (2,795 words) Is the U.S.
We think we know what an “anchor” is—that quaint tri-form hunk of heavy metal that vessels throw overboard when they want to stop. That action and the word promise stability and security. So “anchor” has passed into the collected metaphors of our survival: A sentence is anchored to its main verb; a country is kept steady by its constitution; Citizen Kane holds the cause of film history in place. Your family is what keeps you where you should be in the rising swell and cross-currents of life. Aaron Sorkin is a mainstay of old-fashioned adult optimism.
THE RIVETING DRAMA and moral risks that are part of TV journalism offer a fertile field for artists. Paddy Chayefsky in Network told us the story of “the first known instance of a man who was killed because he had lousy ratings.” In Broadcast News, James L. Brooks showed us the real dangers to the soul of journalism when vacuous flash is valued over substance.
From the moment we meet news anchor Will McAvoy in the opening scene of Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom,” there are signs that a Sorkin monologue is brewing: a flicker of anger in the eyes, a twitch of facial muscles, a cloud of moral indignation settling in. McAvoy, played by Jeff Daniels, is sitting on a panel at Northwestern, and two talking heads are firing partisan flak at each other from the chairs to his left and his right.
Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live By Jeff Jarvis (Simon & Schuster, 263 pp., $26.99) In 1975, Malcolm Bradbury published The History Man, a piercing satire of the narcissistic pseudo-intellectualism of modern academia. The novel recounts a year in the life of the young radical sociologist Howard Kirk—“a theoretician of sociability”—who is working on a book called The Defeat of Privacy.
There are some strong criticisms to be made of the Obama administration from the left, especially concerning Obama's passive response to the debt ceiling hostage crisis, and his frightening willingness to give away the store to John Boehner. I've made many of these criticisms myself. But Drew Westen's lengthy, attention-grabbing Sunday New York Times op-ed is not a strong criticism. It's a parody of liberal fantasizing. Westen is a figure, like George Lakoff, who arose during the darkest moments of the Bush years to sell liberals on an irresistible delusion.
In 2004, a Harvard undergraduate got an idea (yes, that is ambiguous) for a new kind of social network. Here’s the important point: He built it. He had a bunch of extremely clever clues for opening up a social space that every kid (anyone younger than I am) would love. He architected that social space around the social life of the kids he knew. And he worked ferociously hard to make sure the system was stable and functioning at all times. The undergraduate then spread it to other schools, then other communities, and now to anyone.
[Guest post by Isaac Chotiner] It feels silly to give more publicity to the new Facebook movie, The Social Network, which hardly anyone has seen, but which has received lengthy write-ups in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and now New York magazine. The New York piece, written by Mark Harris, is basically an excellent profile of Aaron Sorkin, who wrote the movie, and is well known for creating The West Wing and A Few Good Men.