Sunday, January 20, 2008

Culture War

Lenny Bruce once said, "I always wonder about the anonymous giver. Cause the anonymous giver is truly an egomaniac: 'I'm so good -- I'm not going to tell anybody.' That's sick, man. I'm going to leave you with this, that the only anonymous giver you'll ever have to worry about is the guy that knocks up your daughter."

I've been watching Aaron Sorkin's TV show Studio 60, and though I continue to admire Sorkin's talent as a writer, I'm about fed up with his arrogant, self-righteous sanctimony. Every episode of Studio 60 is lopsided and disfigured with sermons and pontificating -- as was the endlessly nauseating West Wing with all its white-guilt do-gooders getting those smarmy smirks on their faces in the final two minutes of each episode when they were able to do right. The sketch comedy show within Studio 60 is a completely artificial petri dish in which Sorkin coaxes and prods cloned cells of the Culture War going on in America today. Every character is a cipher; one-dimensional Sorkin puppets spouting cliched inanities with more schmaltz per episode than the entire Brady Bunch series and every After School Special. I honestly don't know who I find more sickening: the big city liberal sharpies with their pitying, sensitive comments in support of gay marriage, marijuana use, and slamming everything the right-wing holds dear, or the right-wing one-dimensionals with their surprisingly well-articulated prejudices that are nuanced with actual, subtle reasoning and heart-warming small-town stories (Sorkin showing off how broad-minded he is by lending his quill equally to the ciphers of people he hates).

Studio 60 reminds me is that I would be no more happy with people like Aaron Sorkin, than I would be with Pat Robertson, Bill O'Reilly or George W. Bush.

I'm sure that I'm very slow waking to this fact, but the two sides of the culture war are mirror images of one another, with slightly different window dressing. The Left believes itself so righteously enlightened, the Right believes itself righteously moral. The Right has its penned in yard of sacred cows and the Left has its penned in yard of sacred cows. Each group spends its time and energy lobbing stones into each other's pen.

The loudest of the loud on each side, who mount their garbage trucks, are the anonymous givers Lenny Bruce was talking about.

While these two lazy, myopic groups pick their feet in Poughkeepsie, I think more attention should be paid to the real Seven Deadly sins: Hypocrisy, Arrogance, Hubris, Deceit, Violence, Thievery and Self-righteousness.

I'm as pissed off to hear about Bill O'Reilly's hypocrisy as I am hearing about Hillary Clinton's. Sides don't matter, actions do. Who's doing what. That's what we should be reacting to. Rudy Giulliani's pornographic use of 9/11 in his presidential campaign is abhorrent to me. Rich Democrats pretending to give a shit about "ordinary" Americans is abhorrent to me.

There's no answer to any of this except to lampoon the true Seven Deadly sins wherever they arise. But that's only for people who are serious about this kind of thing, something Aaron Sorkin and Fox News definitely are not. They're both just filling time in between commercials.

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4 comments:

Ascendantlive said...

I think it used to be easier to tell who was lying...now the candidates, lobbyists, and various psychotic Washington sewer dwellers are educated about their ignorance. They spout falsehoods in such a way that I'd need to spend a year educating myself on every subject they spin in order to figure out how I'm being lied to...it's just not enough anymore to know that you are being lied to...

Matt St. Amand said...

Seeing how Bill Clinton will literally say anything to see that Shrillary gets elected is utterly sickening to me. I had liked Clinton when he was in office. Sure, all politicians lie, but Bill is so conniving, so utterly insulting to even the most rudimentary level of intelligence.

Ascendantlive said...

yeah, the way we're going I think if we can just keep from starting any more wars or crossing out parts of the Constitution with a sharpie we'll be doing good...or at least better..

Matt St. Amand said...

Right now, the mayor of Detroit is weathering embarrassing revelations that he had an extramarital affair. I couldn't care less about that, but it was among the charges made by a former Detroit police officer who was investigating the mayor for abusing city funds and resources -- a cop who lost his job and was labeled a liar by the mayor (but won a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the mayor and the city). Now we see o-so-clearly that the mayor, himself, is the fucking liar.