Getting to a few comments before another shiny new post that will probably be called The Anubis Gates for no reason.
Little Miss Nomad:
I think you're maybe taking it the wrong way. I loved West Wing and Sports Night and A Few Good Men and even watched the entire season of Studio 60 more than once, and I kind of liked The Social Network, so I think I have every right to not love The Newsroom and criticize it intelligently without it being "making fun," just like I can dislike Girls without it being some kind of gut, unreasoning backlash. I think that's diminishing many people's opinions in the vein of sticking your fingers in your ears and refusing to listen because you don't want to. Isn't it better to agree to disagree? Also, the video of repeated lines or phrasings, if you watch it, though it does make some cheap shots, does at-large make a point. If you're going to put your stamp on the shows your run, at least have someone around to make sure you're not recycling old stuff, because having a voice and self-plagiarism, accidental or otherwise, as Jonah Lehrer should also note, are two different things.Of course you have every right to not like The Newsroom! I thought I went out of my way to say that I was focusing on the media critics who appear to just have piled on Sorkin. So no, I don't think I'm taking anything the wrong way. Again, my post wasn't about the quality of the show (you don't even know if I like it!), but more directed at my growing suspicion of media critics and how churlishly out of touch they seem to have become. They really do think they're a part of the story, that they are the voices of their generation, and I don't agree with that. Unfortunately, this has now driven me to (partially, because COME ON) agree with David Denby on Voice.
It sounds pretentious (IT'S DAVID DENBY) but dude's got a point. We are conditioned now to have a tin ear towards dialogue. People don't read books for the writing anymore. They rush through everything, because God forbid you miss something the world is talking about. You need to cut through all of that and get to the fucking story right away. JUST TELL ME WHAT'S HAPPENING. DON'T PAINT A PICTURE. And for God's sake, don't make your characters vulnerable in DIALOGUE. Don't make them step out onto a limb that you may not agree with. Make sure everything is safe and in that little box of cool that is apparently how we're going to live until the Earth burns up. Don't let Michelle on Bunheads have a monologue about layaway at Contempo Casuals. Cut to the fucking chase. Read Fifty Shades of Gray because it's sexy and forbidden, but fuck the fact that the writer has no facility with the Queen's English. Or anyone else's English, for that matter. "She's a good writer" isn't even a phrase anyone uses anymore because the CRAFT of writing has become irrelevant.
And that is what pisses me off about the Sorkin haters, the people who've piled on The Newsroom like gleeful bullies. They don't have to love the show, of course. But by dismissing Sorkin's facility with words, they're just making things worse. If, as a critic, you liked The West Wing or Sports Night but hate The Newsroom because you find it trite, or obvious, or you hate how Sorkin writes women, or that it's just not up to the standards you feel Sorkin has set for himself, then there's a way to write an article about that that doesn't include being an asshole. Just siding with the haters is lazy. But actually being a journalist and analyzing why The Newsroom doesn't work could be time-consuming, and as we all know these media critics need to shit out stuff pretty regularly. Sometimes I think I spend more time on these posts than they do on their analyses, and holy crap that's depressing if true. If, as a critic, you have hated everything Sorkin's ever done, then I don't know how to deal with you. Because if you are a media critic and you can't recognize craft, or voice, then you should probably become something else.
But notice that I'm complaining about critics here, and not about viewers. Totally different. And really, Bobo here nails what I was trying to say:
Two fresh posts in a single week? I hope this is a trend!
I could not agree more with your assessment of the Sorkin-bashing going on in the media and on the internet, even though I happen to agree with some of the criticisms. There's just a weird lip-smacking quality to it... as if Sorkin were somehow due for a flogging. I think a corollary of Sorkin's "passion"--or maybe just another word for it--is "audacity." The Newsroom tackles--and to some extent, rewrites-- our very recent history. That's a BOLD move, and it makes the show, and Sorkin himself, a target for some very legitimate criticisms. But to not qualify said criticisms with an acknowledgment and commendation of the show's sheer audacity is churlish and petty. IMO, the flaws of "The Newsroom" are a result of the risks Sorkin has taken, and, as you suggest, we should be applauding risk-taking, not dousing it with our reflexive, internet-bred cynicism.
Not quite a trend, but perhaps a trend-let. And also, QED, Bobo!