Projection: In Aaron Sorkin’s world, liberals face government persecution for bashing Tea Party
posted at 10:11 pm on June 11, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham
Mm-hmm. Somehow, the boob-tube bard of the reality-based community missed out on the irony that actual reality lends the storyline of “Newsroom’s” second season.
Ace flagged the trailer today. If I’m not mistaken (non-“Newsroom” watcher, here), the storyline turns on an incident in Season 1 when noble newsman Will McAvoy dubbed the Tea Party the “American Taliban.” Now, he is facing consequences, you see. Because, as we all know, people who are insufficiently kind to the Tea Party in Washington, D.C. never work in this town again, buddy!
I’ve never been a huge Sorkin fan. “Sports Night” was most enjoyable, as it was not singularly focused on liberal wish fulfillment. It did, however, have plenty of moments of heavy-handed, self-righteous position declaring in unrelated social and work situations, in which Dan Rydell became to predictable, populist liberalism what Julia Sugarbaker was to predictable, populist feminism, without the charming accent. “And, that is why you nevah cross a Sugahbakah woman or a smug, Northeastern sportscastah!”
“The West Wing,” probably Sorkin’s most popular work, encapsulates perfectly a self-satisfied and somewhat sunny liberal view of Washington, in which pragmatic, do-gooders are thwarted only by circumstance and mean opposition from making the wheels of government turn to the good of the people. I do not hold this worldview. Mine is more “House of Cards,” in which a bunch of basically corrupt people work within a basically corrupt system to satisfy self-serving ends, thwarted rarely by decent people and do-gooders. The only quibble I have with “House of Cards” is its portrayal of Washington evil as competent evil, when real Washington is more often filled with a bunch of incompetent, sloppy, and even accidental evil. Maybe “Veep” takes care of that quibble.
Two things strike me. First, the main character, the Aaron Sorkin Mary Sue (his ventriloquist doll, his idealized version of himself), says the Tea Party is the “American Taliban,” but then another character, aligned with the Aaron Sorkin Mary Sue, calls Occupy Wall Street the “American version of the Arab Spring.”
So much about Sorkin’s childishly demagogic worldview is summed up in that. Sorkin’s TV show is apparently — if you can imagine such a thing — a soap opera about a fictionalized, idealized version of MSNBC, for people so addicted to political pornography they can’t just watch MSNBC itself, but also crave a fictitious show about the behind-the-scenes workings of MSNBC.
Now that is Sorkin’s target audience. And yet he calls other people an American Taliban?
But more important to me is the clear implication that due to his calling the Tea Party the American Taliban, the Aaron Sorkin Mary Sue is now facing Official Government Consequences for the exercise of his speech rights — apparently some kind of Official Censure from Congress (as if such a thing existed for citizens).
The contrast with reality is striking— so striking I could walk-and-talk about it in true Sorkin style. Read the whole thing, in which Ace connects Sorkin’s delusion to the preemptive strike liberal lifetime civil servants were forced to impose upon Tea Partiers destroying the fabric of democracy, post-Citizens United. And, enjoy Season 2, everyone. I’m thinking of live-tweeting or recapping it, but I’m not sure a “House of Cards” person can handle extended exposure to “Newsroom.”