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Aaron Sorkin Just Needs to Learn to Shut the F*ck Up

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | December 8, 2014 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | December 8, 2014 |

I watched a screener of this week’s Newsroom on Saturday night, and when it was over, I was enraged (and may have ultimately taken some of my frustrations out on SNL). I was enraged with what Aaron Sorkin did with Maggie and Jim, I was enraged at the goddamn Shyamalan twist, and I was enraged at the show for assassinating Charlie Skinner’s character.

As I was writing up the recap the next day, however, I felt uncomfortable writing about the rape conversations involving Don. I was baffled by the entire exchange. I talked to my wife at length in an attempt to parse out what Aaron Sorkin was trying to get across, and after writing at length about the scenes, I ultimately excised almost all of it. I was in over my head. I couldn’t articulate a coherent response.

It’s just not my place. I’m not well-versed or intelligent enough to attempt to tackle an issue outside of my experiences. I’d end up fumbling it. I’d probably end up making an ass of myself. So I deleted what I’d written and focussed, instead, on the other storylines.

That’s precisely what Aaron Sorkin should’ve done. If you can’t approach the complexities of an issue like rape with some goddamn sensitivity, then don’t do it. Because every be-dicked shart that clumsily tries to talk about this topic ends up making everyone else look bad. Aaron Sorkin is supposed to be one of the most skilled wordsmiths in television, and here he is again trying to articulate something outside of his wheelhouse, like the sketch comedy on Studio 60. It’s OK, Sorkin! You don’t have to have an opinion on every issue, and if all you can offer are tone-deaf rants, then leave it the f*ck alone. Next time you get the notion to talk about gender, don’t. Shut it down. You’re not good at it. Muzzle your fucking mouth.

Anyway, you may have heard that a woman, Alena Smith, in The Newsroom writers’ room confessed that she got kicked out for attempting to argue against Sorkin’s tone-deaf rape scenes.

Naturally, Aaron Sorkin ended up responding, because he couldn’t leave bad enough alone, and again he found more ways to present himself as a smug, patronizing prick.

From Mediatite via The Mary Sue:

Alena Smith, a staff writer who joined the show for the third season, had strong objections to the Princeton story and made those objections known to me and to the room. I heard Alena’s objections and there was some healthy back and forth. After a while I needed to move on (there’s a clock ticking) but Alena wasn’t ready to do that yet. I gave her more time but then I really needed to move on. Alena still wouldn’t let me do that so I excused her from the room.

The next day I wrote a new draft of the Princeton scenes-the draft you saw performed last night. Alena gave the new pages her enthusiastic support. So I was surprised to be told this morning that Alena had tweeted out her unhappiness with the story. But I was even more surprised that she had so casually violated the most important rule of working in a writers room which is confidentiality. It was a room in which people felt safe enough to discuss private and intimate details of their lives in the hope of bringing dimension to stories that were being pitched. That’s what happens in writers rooms and while ours was the first one Alena ever worked in, the importance of privacy was made clear to everyone on our first day of work and was reinforced constantly. I’m saddened that she’s broken that trust.

Typical Sorkin. Instead of addressing the substance of the criticism, he turns it into a demeaning conversation about something else entirely because he’s a smug, arrogant cock-peel who insists on having the last, condescending word.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.