The Newsroom

As a member of the media elite and a genius, I felt it was my duty to watch Aaron Sorkin’s new show, The Newsroom, and then to shout into a yawning abyss in order to hear my own desperate voice echoing forlornly through the vast, indifferent caverns of the internet.  In other words, blog about it.  Aaron[1] has written a sophisticated, compelling drama with an adolescent’s voice.  That is to say, it’s preachy, the characters don’t talk the way real human beings speak to each other (not that characters on television ever do that unless we’re talking about The Six Million Dollar Man), and the relationships are about as deep and believable as sitcom relationships, only with more rumpled shirts.  And still, the show is totally riveting.  I’m not sure, exactly, how Mr. Sorkin and company manages this, but since I’m clearly an expert on all matters related to the media, I will attempt to figure it out. 
After re-watching an episode I took a quick jog and then a shower and drank a cup of tea and then ate a bowl of cherries and had a massage and then took a quick trip to Tibet to meditate, and then sat down to examine my own inner state.  Call me Un-American, but I had to know how and why this show was affecting me.  Don’t get me wrong:  I prefer, typically, to avoid rifling the contents of my interior on any regular, or even semi-regular, basis since I know lurking there are demons, but looking just this once, I figured, couldn’t hurt.  So where was I?  Yes, looking inward.  And there I discovered that my synapses, which are usually dormant unless reading (ha ha) or composing some meandering blog entry like this one, had fired to life as if stimulated by snappy dialogue and populist, anti-corporate rhetoric spoken by attractive, charming actors wearing too much cologne (I’m guessing).  Seeking more evidence, I cut to the particulars of the show.  It’s smart.  Quite smart.  No, not about people or emotion, but about ideas.  It gets right to the core of a problem – dumb people running things and smarter, rich people running dumb people – and pokes a boner sized stick at it (the problem) and them (the smart, rich people).  And then I realized:  Aaron Sorkin has actually been paying attention to what’s been going on in this country the last ten years or so.  Was I supposed to be doing that too?  Damnit!  After a nap, I stopped reflecting and ate a peanut butter sundae. 
I don’t expect anything much of consequence to come from this show, but that’s because as a member of the media, I’m required to be cynical.  Thus, I suspect that the effect of The Newsroom isn’t going to be anything like boner-poking a sleeping bear, since no one running a major corporation with its own news/propaganda division is afraid of a drama playing on HBO and watched by as many people as attended my Bar Mitzvah back in 1979 (er, I mean 1989).  So I can’t even say the show is gutsy since it panders to the same liberally-biased, head-nodding, latte-drinking crowd that watches all of HBO (though I wonder what fans of Entourage make of The Newsroom.  Sample thought:  “That felt good” (thought after turning the channel to SportsCenter)).  In fact, I very much doubt the producers of The Newsroom face the same upstairs pressure to cave to special interests that the characters on the show do.  HBO itself must be run by liberal, media elitists who hate America.
Side note:  I just woke from a dream in which I couldn’t remember the lines to Oklahoma, my pants were down and I was ice fishing for minnow in Alaska.  This self-reflection is a tough business. 
Oh yes:  The Newsroom.  You may find that it causes you to think about things.  I know, I know:  that’s bad.  But if it happens, do what I did:  get it all out on the internet, drink a vodka martini and watch back to back episodes of Two and a Half Men.  Your brain, if you can find it, will thank you. 

[1] Ever since our kids attended the same camp in Israel we’ve been on a first name basis, and even though I don’t have kids and have never been to the middle east, I am sure he wouldn’t mind.