Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Aarron Sorkin rips apart Occupy Wall Street (The Newsroom Season 2: Episode #4 Clip "Shelly On OWS" (HBO))

So, Aaron Sorkin has been sucking me into The Newsroom, against some of my better judgment. There are things he does very well and things that he does in a ridiculous manner (namely, having every character be utterly glib 100% of the time). One of the things he does well is have people talk about politics.

In the clip below, Jeff Daniels (one of the best actors in Hollywood and that's been true for decades) rips an Occupy Wall Street representative to shreds. Except that she's not really a "representative" in any formal since OWS doesn't have "leaders" because they wanted "everybody to have a voice."

While I don't agree with every single position Daniels takes here (most notably the too-glib assertion that his salary is justified "because that's what the market bears"), I do share his exasperation with the ludicrously idealistic organizational views taken by OWS. And, yes, the show is accurate here. Having read some OWS diaries, I think it would be fair to say that the typical teenager Dungeon & Dragons adventuring party has more focus and is more goal-oriented. And that things like goals, leadership, and focus matter.

I'm contemplating a post on the issue of idealism and how it needs to be redefined to something that's not utterly worthless in the manner that this OWS leader displays it to be. Idealism and realism should not be in tension in the way that so many people think that they must necessarily be.

Ideally, idealism should be very realistic. One problem with the word "realistic" is that it is too often used as a synonym for "pessimistic" while "idealistic" is "optimistic". But the way I think about "idealism" is more along the lines of "abstract".

One more Newsroom clip I'm looking for is the Romney bus scene from last week. Maybe HBO has it.


Landru said...

I respectfully disagree with your optimistic view of realism.

But you knew that when you wrote it.

Whispers said...

Do you mean my optimistic view of idealism? I'm confused. I think idealism has been improperly defined to be equated with optimism.

Was Socrates or Plato an optimist? They were the original idealists. As opposed to, say, Rousseau. I think J-J would be improperly classified as an "idealist." Wishful thinking is not the same as idealism.

Sasha said...

I watched and enjoyed last season. After the first episode this season I nearly gave up on it but I'm glad I didn't. The dialogue, always glib, is still excellent. Better even than the West Wing. Also never forget that Jeff Daniels character is a self-designated Republican, a wise choice I think.