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Saturday, October 19, 2013

I have a question for you.

Don't you get tired? Tired of posting the same songs, the same memes, the same pics, the same movie clips? The same everything, day after day after day?
Don't you realize that you bore people when you do that?
That they tune you out?
How could you not?
Are you so comfortable with doing that that you can't see how uninteresting that makes you look?
I guess not.
Never mind.

I wrote that last night about one particular person, but really, I could write it about many. Myself included at times. I am not throwing stones here that I am not worthy of being stoned with myself.

That was the blog I wrote last night, in frustration with what I see. It's my problem. It really is. People do what is comfortable. I get that. It isn't me. I hate being that way and I do everything I can not to be. But I know I do it as well. Even the most creative and successful people do it.

 Like Aaron Sorkin.

This weekend, I had slotted in that I was going to watch The Newsroom. I have seen clips of it, but I wanted to watch it marathon style and as I write this blog, I am halfway through the first season.
The Newsroom is the brainchild of Aaron Sorkin. The same Aaron Sorkin who is responsible for The West Wing, and also for other great shows like Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and Sports Night. As well, he is also the man behind great films like A Few Good Men, The American President, Moneyball and The Social Network.
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip didn't make it past one season. I really enjoyed it, but it somehow failed. The Newsroom has seemed to pick up where Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip left off. An inside look at a very familiar setting that most of us will never get a true look inside of. 
Just, in this case, it is about a newsroom instead of a nighttime Saturday Night Live kind of show. The concept is exactly the same and he has used the same types of characters.
In the pilot episodes of both, Sorkin actually employed the same plot device with differing results.
Here is the one from Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

Now, the one from The Newsroom.

In each case, it is a guy who was the top of the heap, who now views himself as a sellout and can't stop himself from telling it like it is, even though he knows it will likely be the death of his career. In Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip it is, and that is okay because he is done anyway. He wants out. In The Newsroom, he wants to change how things are done, but he doesn't want out.
They both reach the point where they start to BS and do what they have been told to do, but their conscience gets the better of them and they just let their true thoughts out. 
We all want to do that many times in a day, but we don't. Even though we don't do it because we don't have the guts to do it, Sorkin knows we love to watch someone else do it. Live vicariously through them. It is a great way to start any show. It grabs the audience attention and makes for a great clip to get people to watch the pilot. Sorkin is no dummy. He knows that. He relies on it. That is why he is very successful. He knows what works. He knows to go for hot button issues and create conflicts that make it easy for him to hit the homerun on most episodes. That is his thing.
In any event, Sorkin, as talented as he is, is like all the rest of us. He goes back to what he knows and what he thinks he does well. It is easier and more comfortable. Most of us will choose this path when given a potential fork in the road.  

So, I started this blog with a question for you. But really, it is a question for myself. Why does it bother me? It shouldn't. People are people and they do whatever it is they do that feels good to them and comfortable. 
In both pilots, Sorkin was making the exact same point. TV has been controlled by the fringe right who just wants to use it to sell stuff and will not say anything offensive to those people if there is a hint of a chance they will be offended enough to complain and not buy the sponsors products. So, the shows are censored and crafted, not for art or information sake, but to please those who will buy products. 
In short, it has become all about the money. 
But isn't Sorkin doing the very thing he mocked in his shows? Pandering and giving the viewers exactly what they want because he doesn't want to go out on a limb and do something new or different? 
Of course he is. Because when it comes right down to it, that is what we all do. No matter what we say or how high a moral standard we claim to have, when we set out to create it is always in the back of our minds that we have to do A,B and C so that we can get and keep an audience.
I guess the answer to my question is that it doesn't bother me as much anymore because I realize we are human and we are always going to gravitate towards this type of thing. It's too bad, but being human means we will always try to please others at the expense of doing what we really would like to do. In some cases, we don't even realize that we are doing it.
I don't know if Sorkin realizes it and doesn't care, or doesn't realize it and wouldn't change even if he did. It doesn't matter.

It's what he does. It is the stamp he puts on his work. The big speech. The poignant moment that ties together an episode that otherwise might be a bit weak without that 3 minute speech. Why would he change that? He wouldn't. It works. We do what is comfortable and what works. 
It is a rare person that goes against the grain. Even me. I fall back on what works for me. I am driven to do new things and not keep leaning on the two or three things I always do exceptionally well. But even so, I still know I have that blanky in my room and I can clutch onto it when I need to.
We all do.
Sorkin made his name on his first great speech in a movie, and of course it is relevant to this blog. Which is where I will conclude.
Sometimes, the truth is not something you want to find out because you can't handle it. The thing you complain about is the thing you are yourself and it only bugs you because you do it as well and have no right to slag others for it.

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Daily profile about a specific artist,their life, their work and their impact