All My Life I’ve Looked at Words as Though I Were Seeing Them for the First Time Or, Smart Girls Have More Fun

This is Max from Happy Endings (a show you should be watching).

maxbear

In the winter, Max basically hibernates to the point where he takes on the characteristics of the most frightening mammal in the animal kingdom – a bear.

Yesterday, my sister texted me to tell me that The West Wing is now on Netflix.

That being the case, I’m basically pulling a Max and spending the rest of this winter underneath the covers with the Bartlet Administration (my beard will probably be a little thicker, though…)

I love The West Wing for all sorts of reasons – the walk-and-talks, the fact that the show’s politics align pretty closely to mine, the staggering crush I have on Bradley Whitford/Josh Lyman (yes, I realize he’s 53 and that’s a little weird but watch this and tell me he’s not the coolest guy ever) as well as the rest of the cast who are pitch-perfect, but the primary reason I love this show with a fierce and intractable passion is because I love words and Aaron Sorkin writes some solid fucking oratory.

My own vernacular is wet garbage during a heatwave. Peppered with ‘ums’ and ‘uhhhhs’ and ‘dudes’ and ‘bros’ and just barely cogent asshattery that makes people wonder, “You grew up in England? Where they speak English?”

But Sorkin (and by extension, his characters) speak with the kind of bluster and bombast that no-one uses in real life.

When was the last time you heard someone quote Lincoln’s first inaugural address as trash talk during a basketball game or curse out his creator in Latin?

I’m guessing never because why would you bother with oratory when you can just hiss the word, ‘asshole’ and call it a day, right?

One of my 30 Before 30 Goals was to read Shakespeare’s comedies, tragedies and histories (so far, I’ve purchased a cheap copy of the bard’s collected works and I’ve read Hamlet).

I chose this lofty goal because I call myself a writer (which is akin to someone who subsists on a diet of instant noodles referring to themselves as a chef) and I feel as a writer, I’m obligated to be familiar with his works. Actually, I feel as a human being, I’m obligated to be familiar with his major works. Another reason I decided to do this is because I felt reading Shakespeare would give me a better insight into the human condition because let’s face it, he kinda covered the entire spectrum of humanity in his work – jealousy, lust, love, passion, madness, anger, ambition, greed, life and death.

But mostly, I wanted to read all of Shakespeare’s works because I watched CJ Cregg effortlessly quote Julius Caesar and the eloquence of that moment floored me.

I want to be that erudite and well-spoken. I want to be that well-versed in literature and most of all, I wanna be smart because as Aaron Sorkin told his daughter when he won the Oscar for The Social Network – smart girls have more fun and honey, you’re one of them.

Advertisements

Obama Needs To Take A Page From President Bartlet’s Playbook Or, Aaron Sorkin Is My Homeboy.

I’ve started watching The West Wing and in two days, I’ve ripped through about ten episodes, reignited my crush on Bradley Whitford, had a conversation with my sister about how all politicos should be like Sam Seaborn and then, been duly disappointed upon confronting the realization that real politics is rarely this optimistic, idealistic or inspiring.

But, every now and then — I see shades of it in Barack Obama.

If you’ve been following this blog in any capacity, it should be pretty evident where my political ideologies lie, so in honor of tonight’s State of the Union address — here’s part of President Jed Bartlet’s advice to then Democratic Presidential Nominee, Senator Barack Obama.

GET ANGRIER! Call them liars, because that’s what they are.

Sarah Palin didn’t say “thanks but no thanks” to the Bridge to Nowhere. She just said “Thanks.”

You were raised by a single mother on food stamps — where does a guy with eight houses who was legacied into Annapolis get off calling you an elitist? And by the way, if you do nothing else, take that word back. Elite is a good word, it means well above average. I’d ask them what their problem is with excellence.

While you’re at it, I want the word “patriot” back. McCain can say that the transcendent issue of our time is the spread of Islamic fanaticism or he can choose a running mate who doesn’t know the Bush doctrine from the Monroe Doctrine, but he can’t do both at the same time and call it patriotic.

They have to lie — the truth isn’t their friend right now. Get angry. Mock them mercilessly; they’ve earned it.

McCain decried agents of intolerance, then chose a running mate who had to ask if she was allowed to ban books from a public library. It’s not bad enough she thinks the planet Earth was created in six days 6,000 years ago complete with a man, a woman and a talking snake, she wants schools to teach the rest of our kids to deny geology, anthropology, archaeology and common sense too?

It’s not bad enough she’s forcing her own daughter into a loveless marriage to a teenage hood, she wants the rest of us to guide our daughters in that direction too? It’s not enough that a woman shouldn’t have the right to choose, it should be the law of the land that she has to carry and deliver her rapist’s baby too? I don’t know whether or not Governor Palin has the tenacity of a pit bull, but I know for sure she’s got the qualifications of one.

And you’re worried about seeming angry? You could eat their lunch, make them cry and tell their mamas about it and God himself would call it restrained. There are times when you are simply required to be impolite. There are times when condescension is called for!

The names have changed, by the song remains the same.

If you’d like to read the whole thing, check out Maureen O’Dowd’s 9/20/2008 column from the New York Times.

Enjoy tonight’s address. Break’s over.