Wednesday, December 08, 2010

In which my love/hate relationship with Aaron Sorkin continues

Okay. You all know how good a writer I think Aaron Sorkin is, how thankful I am for his work, how much I prize my West Wing and Sports Nights DVDs. Also, I saw The Social Network this week, and thought it was the best film made from one of his scripts since The American President.

Sorkin has a piece on the Huffpo this morning attacking Sarah Palin for, in so many words, torturing and killing and slicing up animals for pleasure.

Now, lord knows I hold no brief for Sarah Palin. I think she makes Pamela Anderson look like a genius, I honestly don't get the whole "It girl" thing, and I hope that on his death bed--far away may that be--John McCain dies knowing exactly what he inflicted upon his country.

And though like Sorkin, I eat meat, I don't want animals tortured (not even John "Jigsaw" Kramer did that). So given all of the foregoing, why do I have any problem with Sorkin's new piece? Two reasons. First, this sentence:

Like 95% of the people I know, I don't have a visceral (look it up) problem eating meat or wearing a belt.

"Look it up?" Geez, Aaron, condescending much?

And second, the whole rest of the piece just isn't as well written as it could've been...or as I've seen such statements made before. For example:

Now, the trick in shooting deer is you gotta get 'em out in the open. And it's tough with deer, 'cause these are clever, cagey animals with an intuitive sense of danger. You know what you have to do to get a deer out in the open? You hold out a Twinkie.

That animal clopped up to me like we were at a party. She seemed to be pretty interested in the Twinkie, so I gave it to her. Looking back, she'd have been better off if I'd given her the damn vest. And Bob kind of screamed at me in whisper, "Move away!" The camera had been re-loaded and it looked like the day wasn't gonna be a washout after all. So I backed away, a couple of steps at a time, and closed my eyes when I heard the shot. Look, I know these are animals, and they don't play bridge and go to the prom, but you can't tell me that the little one didn't know who his mother was.

That's gotta mean something. And later, at the hospital, Bob Shoemaker was telling me about the nobility and tradition of hunting and how it related to the native American Indians. And I nodded and I said that was interesting while I was thinking about what a load of crap it was. Hunting was part of Indian culture. It was food and it was clothes and it was shelter. They sang and danced and offered prayers to the gods for a successful hunt so that they could survive just one more unimaginably brutal winter. The things they had to kill held the highest place of respect for them, and to kill for fun was a sin.

And they knew the gods wouldn't be so generous next time. What we did wasn't food and it wasn't shelter and it sure wasn't sports. It was just mean.

That speech, as if you're not already all way ahead of me, is from a television episode called "The Hungry and the Hunted," of the TV series Sports Night, and was written by...Aaron Sorkin.

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