a unique perspective on this crazy world

Posts tagged ‘civilization’

I’m civilizing you :)

What a concept! 🙂  I have been thinking of plenty of posts but still catching up from my time in Manitoba so not quite sure when they will hit the internet but I just watched episode 4 of “The Newsroom” and it has already inspired one unwritten post before this one so I decided it was time…

I’ve never been much of a TV watcher.  It’s almost always “background” to me… and the sophistication of the plot and dialogue of most TV shows doesn’t require much real attention… but it’s nice to have the comforting noise so I often have the TV on even though I am not officially watching and can always catch more of the details in future re-runs.

But sometimes you stumble across something that arrests your attention and you can’t even just google stuff while watching and actually follow the entire show…  That would be “The Newsroom”, Aaron Sorkin’s newest baby.  I happened to stumble across the pilot in the last week or so.  I was planning to write about it with a heading, “america is not the greatest country in the world.”

I have been in love with Jeff Daniels for a couple of decades… and Emily Mortimer is one of those actresses who should be described as “one of the leading lights of her generation”.  And it has Sam Waterson and even Jane Fonda, for god’s sake.  For those who appreciate great acting and actors who can deliver great writing… well, it just restores your faith in humanity.  It really is trying to civilize us 🙂

The speech that Jeff Daniels (aka Will McAvoy) delivers in the pilot is one of the most intelligent, introspective, inspiring descriptions of the current state of the American nation and the American mindset I’ve encountered.  Both the dialogue and the delivery are astonishing.  At first Will is trying to avoid saying anything because he has become a meaningless rich celebrity without a point of view.  The question is why is America the greatest country in the world.  Not “is.”  Then he thinks he sees his old girlfriend in the audience, a journalist who he thinks is in Iraq dodging bullets.  She is holding up a sign that says, “it’s not.”  It inspires him.  Unlike his fellow pundits who cite something stupid like “freedom” he cites facts (remember those little nuggets, Fox News???), trying to explain to the underliterate audience just what America IS good at…  We lead the world in only three categories: number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real, and defense spending, where we spend more than the next twenty-six countries combined, twenty-five of whom are allies. 

I am sure there will be more to be said.  As I type this, I am trying to follow Jon Stewart skewering Mitt Romney.  It is pretty sad that all the best news in the United States of America is not really “the news”.  That’s the message of “The Newsroom.”  Pundits and infotainment replacing actual facts and analysis that made us all smarter and better world citizens… Will McAvoy-aka Jeff Daniels-channelling Aaron Sorkin really IS trying to civilize us.  We need it.

Once upon a time I was in an elevator with Rupert Murdoch… back when he was just famous in Australia and there was no Fox News.  I shoulda slugged him.  But that would have been bad for my career 🙂  I made a lot of statements about my dad at his funeral but the one that fits tonight…

He watched Lloyd Robertson every night.  (I actually saw Lloyd in the CTV cafeteria but was never brave enough to talk to him.  I wanted to tell him about my dad.)  He knew way more about the world than George W. Bush ever will and he would have made a far better President.  You would think there should be an IQ test for the leader of the free world.  At least a few skill testing questions… and no calculators!

My dad was the one who taught me about the importance of civilization – and my role in keeping it alive.  Let’s hope “The Newsroom” is a hit – and we all learn how to be more civilized.  America can be great.  Will talks about that too – and it’s worth hearing.  America is your promising child who turned into a drug dealer when you weren’t paying attention.  Maybe the big mistake was giving Murdoch American citizenship?  Apparently points for character are not a big part of the criteria…

http://www.hbo.com/the-newsroom/index.html

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