Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Sorkin & Cynicism... and Sara McC
Today, I am celebrating the birth of someone I don't get emotional over enough. Her name is Sara McCleskey and on this blog, I refer to her often as McC.
I have said before I think there are very few human relationships that are actually equal. One person is normally more invested than the other one. In my life, this over-invested person has normally been me.
Even with my best friends, I always got the sense that I probably cared a little more than they did. I was, maybe a little too earnest. That's okay. I'm an alien and I don't mind giving a shit more than the average. But Sara McCleskey was probably my first genuine friendship of equality. Where I knew she would show up just as often and just as hard as I showed up. And I show up hard, people. For that, and for a couple of other things-- one I'm about to get to next-- I feel a gratitude I can actually only express to her in the form of odd humor and constant-- and I mean constant-- link-feeding to her facebook wall.
Because it hurts your (my) earnest little heart to be understood so much. To have your weirdness appreciated. To be appreciated for the very the thing that the cool and snarky prevailing sentiment of today would mock you for. That's why I'm talking about Sara McCleskey in a post about Aaron Sorkin, his new show The Newsroom, and cynicism. (Well, that and because clearly, Sorkin also has an appreciation for the Ulster Scot last names beginning with Mc.)
Critics (ugh, my least favorite people on the planet. Perhaps even more so than bankers, health insurance companies, mechanics and thugs) have almost universally panned the show. And there are some glaring faults, I admit. (All of which I think are hit on here.) But I also agree with the point made in that last paragraph that we've become so comfortable with cynicism that we can't even dream anymore.
I loathe cynicism. Which is why I'll always love Sorkin, even when he's corny. Or perhaps especially when he's corny. I just call it earnest. Which is also why it was one of the greatest compliments of my life when Sara McC quoted the following as something she thought I could have written; something I stand for:
"To casually and sloppily take down, to ironize, to sneer comes very naturally to us, we can do it in our sleep, but to care, to try, to want, are harder. And to admit that you care or are trying or are wanting, well, forget it: Those will be impossible."
Cynicism is both the thing that occasionally makes me want to not get out of bed in the morning, and the thing that gets me out of bed so I can fight it. I'm not trying to piss anyone off. I just think we can be better to each other. That we can say "Yes, And" more often. Here's my ask for today: please, let's be better to each other, in the way we talk about things. On the internet, in person, everywhere.
I haven't always made friends this way-- insisting that we be better to each other, insisting we don't ignore each other. But I like to think it pays off in the long run. It isn't a perfect process. But I think people are thankful in the long run when they can do it. Dan Rather agrees! I mean, can we talk about the fact that DAN RATHER is recapping the show for -- Queen of Snark, GAWKER?-- Surely this is a point for the good guys, right? Rather, like me, felt that the third episode was amazing. I agree with everything Dan Rather says. How can you not??
I've missed Sorkin's optimism on my television screen. I'm happy to have it back so I feel like I'm not the only out of fashion fool who wants us all to be better. Well, me and Sorkin and birthday girl Sara McCleskey-- my own personal talisman for optimism in the face of gloominess.
(At least we haven't been murdered!)
PS- Newman is doing some of his best work here. Am I right??