A close friend (who shares my affinity for situational anonymity) sent me this video and his comments, along with a request for my take on the excerpt from the program ‘Newsroom’, which is up for Emmy nominations. I will pass along the advisory note that he issued, as to the modest profanity employed by the character, because I always want to be up front about any content that might not be personally acceptable to any of my readers. I believe I counted one ‘F’ bomb and one GD, but once the virtual monologue gets rolling, not too much else really. Pretty mundane for the typical HBO fare that is in currency. Let’s be candid here – vulgarity – that’s what puts the ‘BO’ in HBO.
Here are his comments (in bold) and questions to me, followed by the clip and afterwords, my reaction and observations:
“What do you make of this? I don’t know Jeff Daniel’s political leanings but probably donations would show he gives or gave to Democrats, so there is a skeptical side to it. On the other hand, because of the content, MUCH of it resonates with me, since I live overseas and have starkly seen my country change in so many ways, and yet the flag-waving jingoism continues, but I can list on a piece of paper in all patriotic sincerity, at least 10 areas where other nations lead the United States — I cannot believe that propaganda anymore, I know what my eyes tell me.
I only wish this “panelist” had put in something about too powerful of a central government, and being overrun by illegal aliens. Those would have been been my two touchstones, in addition to us returning to the true spirit of JFK when he said (challenged) “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” (in otherwords, no gravy train, no frikkin free handouts, as opposed to the program of this current buzzard in there.).
I wonder if there is a hidden lib agenda here to somehow criticize all of Washington, including Conservative Repubs in the Congress, when they the most get credit from trying to keep us from going over the falls and breaking into thousands of pieces. What say you? I don’t think it was necessary a conservative or liberal warning (probably both sides might claim it speaks for them), but a warning nonetheless and probably sorely needed.”
Initial impressions. First, Jeff Daniels is a better actor than I have esteemed him as – perhaps he hasn’t had the roles that would have suggested this level of ability. His character is plausible, but the other characters on that rostrum are plastic – or what Ian Fleming would have called, ‘Cardboard Boobies’. The smug, superior liberal panelist instinctively trots out the shibboleth that no progressive can avoid introducing to a conversation – ‘diversity’.
Diversity to Lefties is what the Virgin Birth is to orthodox Christians – canonical. Everything around Jeff Daniels is a little surreal. In such an event, the Jeff Daniels character would not have been afforded all those pregnant gaps with which to make his comments more ‘stagey’, dramatic and oratorical. The presumed ‘Conservative’, is so shallow and without substance, as to reveal the writer’s contempt. ‘Freedom and Freedom’? What is he referring to? A couple of ships by that name that are sailing away on the horizon?
Rarely are people ‘spellbound’ to a degree that they permit someone to go on a rant without interruptions. The plot device presented here, is a common one – that of the independent minded, crusty and salty ‘contrarian’, but I’ve seen it staged before in other dramas with more engaging and credible settings. As to the content. Yes, to some degree it is like a painting with interpretive qualities – different people with different Weltanschuung, can see different political perspectives in it.
Perhaps my filter has a dash more cynicism than it should, but I see not so subtle hints that might support the Obama narrative – with a qualification. A lot of the shortcomings Daniels’ character laments, could be said to be indictments about Americans collectively and the upper 50 percent specifically, being too stingy to fund government’s broad ambitions.
Right out of the starting gate, he grouses that Liberals (as smart as they are reputed to be) are woefully unable to force even more of their agenda on Americans. I’d argue that they have been enormously successful. If anything, this plays into the indictment of Obama from the Left. He’s not putting the pedal to the metal, from their point of view.
The War on Poverty is not a war on the poor – I don’t know where he comes up with that – unless, the subliminal argument is that social programs are destructive to the communities that they are intended to ‘benefit’. I don’t think that is what he was suggesting, though. More likely, we are demeaning aid recipients by instituting even the most modest of welfare reforms.
The Space Program. Yes, it would be wonderful to invest a lot of tax money in the next great quest of conquering the unknown in the Universe. Here’s the problem, that he doesn’t outline a sensible solution to. We have to prioritize spending along the lines of what the Constitutional prerogatives of the Federal government are. Government is funding an enormous amount of activities that the Constitution actually prohibits it from doing.
But let’s look at it from the standpoint of where we are at the present moment. The ‘Will McAvoy’ character is coughing up an entire laundry list of problems that, by implication, if we would simply all dig deeper (or agree that the government confiscate more of our income), would propel us back to the pinnacle peak of greatness.
Naturally, when I find out that Aaron Sorkin, the little Left wing creep who was busted for attempting to smuggle ‘schrooms, crack, a crack pipe and Marijuana past security at the Burbank Airport, is the creator of ‘Newsroom’, I think I know all I need to know about where the lead character is coming from in his political and societal outlook.
Ice cubes would cease to melt in Hell, before Mr. Sorkin, the creator of ‘West Wing’ (also known as ‘Left Wing’) would allow any kind of narrative that supports the Tea Party perspective in any manner, shape or form.
The problem with McAvoy’s implied premise, is twofold. Number one is that the Socialist Elitist Utopia is entirely unsustainable. It is as though they believe there is some collective ‘Grinch’ mentality that is holding America back, by dint of sheer stinginess. So, much so that it is spiteful to the society that perpetuates it. That is one of the subliminal themes.
Going back to the failure to eradicate poverty – if spending copious sums of money were the solution, it seems to me, as I’ve stated before, that 12 Trillion dollars later, we’d have some substantial results to show for our efforts. The same holds true with all the other spending that comes out of Washington D.C. Washington has wreaked devastation on Education and our ranking in the World – and not due to any shortage of tinkering and throwing money around.
Some would go so far as to say that the destruction of our educational values by the Federal government is deliberate. There is an argument to be made for that contention. But whether the demolition is sabotage or unintended consequences of unsound policy – the net effect remains the same.
Back to the unsustainability. We need to come to a consensus that government has certain roles and when it steps outside of them, it produces dreadful results, both in outcomes and in wasteful spending. That consensus isn’t due to arrive soon. Much of what government tries to wrap its ever growing tentacles around, would be much more effectively done in the private sector.
If people are puzzled at what has nearly destroyed Free Enterprise, the answer can be simply found in the fact that government has usurped economic activities that should properly be located in the open competitive arena of the private sector marketplace. That’s not the only reason that Free Enterprise as opposed to ‘Corporatism’ has floundered, but it is a big part of it.
Even if someone was looking at Will McAvoy’s lamentations from the viewpoint that it is legitimate that government is part of the machinery of national progress – is there any comprehension that there are practical limits to this? Apparently none, whatsoever.
Can you spend nearly $2 Trillion on a woefully results lacking ‘War on Terror’, spend another couple of Trillion on bailing out Bankers, and also pile on another $2 Trillion in spending to effect a hostile takeover of healthcare and not expect the economy to be teetering on the brink of a ‘Cherynobyl’ event? Is that realistic or the ultimate in foolishness?
McAvoy (and by implication), Sorkin – has no understanding of the mechanics of money other than he knows he is amassing enormous amounts of it because of you fools who pay for the subscription to HBO to watch his illogical rubbish.
You know who you are.