Maggie Alarcón

Posts Tagged ‘Aaron Sorkin’

Aaron Sorkin to his Girls

In Politics, Social Justice, US on November 10, 2016 at 11:42 am

Sorkin Girls,

Well the world changed late last night in a way I couldn’t protect us from. That’s a terrible feeling for a father. I won’t sugarcoat it—this is truly horrible. It’s hardly the first time my candidate didn’t win (in fact it’s the sixth time) but it is the first time that a thoroughly incompetent pig with dangerous ideas, a serious psychiatric disorder, no knowledge of the world and no curiosity to learn has.

And it wasn’t just Donald Trump who won last night—it was his supporters too. The Klan won last night. White nationalists. Sexists, racists and buffoons. Angry young white men who think rap music and Cinco de Mayo are a threat to their way of life (or are the reason for their way of life) have been given cause to celebrate. Men who have no right to call themselves that and who think that women who aspire to more than looking hot are shrill, ugly, and otherwise worthy of our scorn rather than our admiration struck a blow for misogynistic shitheads everywhere. Hate was given hope. Abject dumbness was glamorized as being “the fresh voice of an outsider” who’s going to “shake things up.” (Did anyone bother to ask how? Is he going to re-arrange the chairs in the Roosevelt Room?) For the next four years, the President of the United States, the same office held by Washington and Jefferson, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, F.D.R., J.F.K. and Barack Obama, will be held by a man-boy who’ll spend his hours exacting Twitter vengeance against all who criticize him (and those numbers will be legion). We’ve embarrassed ourselves in front of our children and the world.

And the world took no time to react. The Dow futures dropped 7,000 points overnight. Economists are predicting a deep and prolonged recession. Our NATO allies are in a state of legitimate fear. And speaking of fear, Muslim-Americans, Mexican-Americans and African-Americans are shaking in their shoes. And we’d be right to note that many of Donald Trump’s fans are not fans of Jews. On the other hand, there is a party going on at ISIS headquarters. What wouldn’t we give to trade this small fraction of a man for Richard Nixon right now?

So what do we do?

First of all, we remember that we’re not alone. A hundred million people in America and a billion more around the world feel exactly the same way we do.

Second, we get out of bed. The Trumpsters want to see people like us (Jewish, “coastal elites,” educated, socially progressive, Hollywood…) sobbing and wailing and talking about moving to Canada. I won’t give them that and neither will you. Here’s what we’ll do…

…we’ll fucking fight. (Roxy, there’s a time for this kind of language and it’s now.) We’re not powerless and we’re not voiceless. We don’t have majorities in the House or Senate but we do have representatives there. It’s also good to remember that most members of Trump’s own party feel exactly the same way about him that we do. We make sure that the people we sent to Washington—including Kamala Harris—take our strength with them and never take a day off.

We get involved. We do what we can to fight injustice anywhere we see it—whether it’s writing a check or rolling up our sleeves. Our family is fairly insulated from the effects of a Trump presidency so we fight for the families that aren’t. We fight for a woman to keep her right to choose. We fight for the First Amendment and we fight mostly for equality—not for a guarantee of equal outcomes but for equal opportunities. We stand up.

America didn’t stop being America last night and we didn’t stop being Americans and here’s the thing about Americans: Our darkest days have always—always—been followed by our finest hours.

Roxy, I know my predictions have let you down in the past, but personally, I don’t think this guy can make it a year without committing an impeachable crime. If he does manage to be a douche nozzle without breaking the law for four years, we’ll make it through those four years. And three years from now we’ll fight like hell for our candidate and we’ll win and they’ll lose and this time they’ll lose for good. Honey, it’ll be your first vote.

The battle isn’t over, it’s just begun. Grandpa fought in World War II and when he came home this country handed him an opportunity to make a great life for his family. I will not hand his granddaughter a country shaped by hateful and stupid men. Your tears last night woke me up, and I’ll never go to sleep on you again.

Love,

Dad

Aaron Sorkin .jpgOriginally posted in Vanity Fair, November 9th, 2016

Why the Sublime Schtick of Sid Caesar Still Matters

In Arts, Education, History, US on December 20, 2011 at 11:56 am

Aaron Sorkin has to be one of the most incorrigibly brilliant writers out there. Please read below and enjoy his most recent piece published in The Huffington Post; it is not typical AjiacoMix material and he –sadly- didn’t send it in for me to post, but I’m replicating it anyway for your reading and learning pleasure. MAP

 By Aaron Sorkin

Sid Caesar is making his way to a small stage in a banquet room at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Pasadena. The occasion is the annual Television Critics Association Awards and a few weeks ago when you heard Caesar was getting their Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to television you took a moment to wonder, if the TV critics are just getting around to giving him the award this year, who in the world did they give it to last year.

Your Show of Shows, written by a team of unknowns with names like Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Neil Simon, Imogene Coca and Allen Stewart Konigsberg — a kid from Brooklyn who signed his checks Woody Allen — was television’s first great television show. The only thing Caesar was better at than physical comedy was language. His characters, whether a world-renowned professor of nothing in particular or an incompetent waiter in a snooty restaurant, frequently spoke rapid fire languages of dubious origin. Joseph McCarthy thought Sid Caesar was very dangerous. Sid Caesar didn’t care what Joseph McCarthy thought. It was on.

You remember a story you once heard. During the height of Your Show of Shows, Caesar was shaving in his bathroom mirror when his seven-year-old daughter took up a position in the doorway.

DAUGHTER

Dad, what’s you name?

CAESAR

You know my name, sweetheart. It’s Sidney.

DAUGHTER

Sidney Caesar.

CAESAR

Yeah.

DAUGHTER

(pause)

You’re Sid Caesar?!

But right now, as he makes his way to the stage in front of a banquet room full of people dressed in “festive business attire” as instructed on their invitations, Sid Caesar isn’t looking like someone you want to be.

He’s in very poor health. He needs an escort to help him to the podium and that’s going to take a little while. You want to lean over to Allison Janney, seated next to you, and whisper, “I can’t remember, has he had a stroke?” But you don’t.

You think about whether it was hard for him to tie his necktie tonight and wonder how long it’s been since he drove himself somewhere in a car and that he probably misses that.

You worry that this entertainer — for whom language was like a baseball coming at you from Satchel Paige — you worry that he probably can’t get a clear sentence out of his mouth.
“Don’t worry,” you implore him telepathically, “all you have to do is make it to the podium and thank the TCA and then you’ll get another standing ovation like the one you’re getting now.”

And now he’s at the podium and his escort steps back out of the light and Caesar stands there wordlessly for a long, long moment, which has everyone a little nervous. Until he raises his arms and thanks the TCA.

In French.

But not really.

You can’t believe it. He’s thanking the TCA, with grand and precise gesticulation, as The Man Who Almost Speaks French. You can’t remember the last time you were with a group of people laughing this loudly and this sincerely. He goes on for a minute and a half (a lifetime on stage) and when he’s done he starts thanking the TCA all over again in Almost German.

Your table — the whole gang from The West Wing — has completely lost control, as have the rest of the five-hundred or so people in attendance. You look over to your friend, Brad Whitford, who’s looking back at you and holding an arm toward the stage — Are you seeing this? — and just in case there was anyone left in the room who was feeling sorry for him because he needed help walking to the stage or tying his tie, Caesar starts all over again in Almost Italian.

And you’re so happy that you get to work in television.

I come from a long line of people who came after Caesar. There was Playhouse 90 that brought us Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, Rod Serling and Paddy Chayefsky. James L. Brooks who wrote the best episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Taxi. Norman Lear — responsible for All in the Family — passed the baton to Larry Gelbart who created M*A*S*H and M*A*S*H paved the way for Steven Bochco, David E. Kelley, David Milch, David Chase, Larry David, Phil Rosenthal, Steve Levitan, Greg Daniels, Matt Weiner and dozens of others.

I hope as the Huffington Post launches its coverage of television they remember that at any given hour in the day, there are about 600 choices of what to watch. 599 of them will be bad — one of them will be Sid Caesar.

Which is which is entirely up to you.