Intelligence requires dialogue. Intellectualism requires even more dialogue.
It’s childish to use definitions to prove points, so pardon me while I am childish.
a : a conversation between two or more persons;
Dialogue is NOT enslaved to the prefix “dia.” And that’s important. We have been tricked into believing that all dialogue has two sides – that somehow we must be a part of polarized society. This starts with Democrat and Republican, but it doesn’t end there. Combating a two party system is not the only step necessary to provoking dialogue.
Let’s use Aaron Sorkin and his loyal cult followers as an example. It isn’t the only example and Sorkin isn’t the only dangerous person in America, but he is the one I feel like over-analyzing.
Here’s a line from his new show Newsroom: “There’s nothing more important in a democracy than a well informed electorate.” This is Aaron Sorkin’s mantra and it also embodies why he sucks at making art.
1st let’s tackle the art issue. Art is not meant to be something that jams opinions down your throat, which is all that Sorkin knows how to do. He takes his shitty, shallow opinion and puts it into the voices of three to four characters and creates a dialogue that is nearly nonsensical because of its lack of realism then he takes a smarmy douchebag and makes him the enemy. It’s a formula – and it’s not a good one. It’s a formula that is starting to feel surprisingly similar to Family Guy in its repetition and inflexibility.
Now let’s tackle the bigger issue: That Aaron Sorkin’s opinions are shallow and shitty. To say “There is nothing more important in a democracy than a well informed electorate” is like saying “there’s nothing more important in French Fries than eating them.” It means nothing and refuses to answer anything interesting. How does an electorate stay informed? What information is necessary? How are we defining “important” in a democracy? These are questions that Sorkin refuses to answer because they are difficult. Saying that people should know shit is Kindergarten class material. Sorkin just masks it in fast dialogue giving the impression that it’s intellectual or “informed.”
This line of dialogue, which means nothing at all, means so much. It immediately divides the country into “well informed” and “uninformed” as though by simply replacing “democrat” and “republican” with new words he has undone a century of polarization. This is dangerous. This is dangerous because it pacifies a somewhat informed electorate into thinking that if we assume those that disagree with us are stupid then we will have a a better dialogue.
Remember I said dialogue could contain more than two voices. It also MUST contain more than two voices. We can’t replace “democrat” and “republican” with “liberal” and “conservative” or “well informed” and “uninformed” or any two buzzwords
Informed comes from the word information and information comes from people not from automatons who have been trained in synthesizing information into digestible, irrelevant and divisive bites. Sorkin creates art about his utopian present-futures, but they seem to me to be scary dystopian present-futures. i don’t want an MSNBC that pushes the narrative of a divided public, but tries to change what we’re divided over to a different but similarly simplistic binary. The problem with a two party system is the same problem with shitty art. Instead of asking questions for us to discuss in public, it forces us into “solutions” that solve nothing. Shitty art is art that pretends it has the ability to provide solutions. It can only provide one opinion on the truth. Providing two opinions is not that much better, and what inevitably happens is that the two perspectives of the truth meld into one. Because Aaron Sorkin is uninformed he does not realize that by dividing a country over uninformed and well-informed will only resulting uniting them over truth from one perspectives and neither are useful.
The thing that when happens when you have too many issues to tackle is that you get overwhelmed trying attack all the things that are wrong. Let’s try to boil them down to digestible bites that are neither divisive or irrelevant. Remember when Sarah Palin kept on saying “real America?” What she was really trying to do was present the image of her Ideal American.
-Joe the Plumber
-Blue Collar, stay out of my way, outdoors, heterosexual families who have jobs but hate newcomers.
Sorkin has a “very” different Ideal American.
-Sarcastic, mean, jaded, liberal heterosexual single people who like expensive things and refuse to apologize for their love of having expensive things.
We can’t have only two options. We can’t have a BIlogue, we need a DIAlogue.
In the first episode of The Newsroom a skinny British woman with an agenda to make “news good again” demands that her anchor wear a sexy dolce and gobana suit (Which I refuse to look up how to spell) because she wants to “make [elitism] sexy again.” Are these really our choices? Are our options rich asshole or rich moron? I hope not.
Sometimes it’s best to just end with a Noam Chomsky quote (because I’m an elitist).
“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.”