Thursday, September 25, 2003

The West Wing

Ran across this post on today, about the show "The West Wing." I haven't watched the show, other than passing by for a few minutes on the way to something else, but the article seems a good summation of the history and problems of the show. Mostly. This passage from the post caught my eye:
To conservatives, "West Wing" has always had a left-wing taint, and they're not about to start watching again just because the show added a temporary Republican president. James Lileks has said that Phil Donahue's MSNBC talk show failed because liberal viewers would rather hear the same words come out of Martin Sheen's mouth on "West Wing"; by the same token, a GOP president on "West Wing" will fail because Republican viewers would rather hear the same words from Bill O'Reilly's mouth.
Note he says "to conservatives...." Well, I think most anyone who watches the show, regardless of political persuasion or lack thereof, will agree that the show is strongly biased to liberalism, if not quite to Leftism. What few conservatives I've heard of appearing on the show are almost always portrayed as wrong or villainous. Reread the whole article and you'll notice the author says things that refute that statement:
Yes it came from a blatantly liberal perspective, but it was always fair and never turned into propaganda.
...the third and fourth seasons consisted largely of the president's re-election campaign, weakly imagined by Sorkin as a fantasy in which the Clinton/Gore surrogate (Martin Sheen's President Bartlet) easily vanquished the dem-witted Bush stand-in (Josh Brolin's Bob Ritchie).
But let's go back to the Lileks quote. He's right when he talks about Dems. They do have a romantic, dreamy streak that the show panders to. Bartlett is the Clinton they wished he had been. It's the essence of liberalism to see the idealistic world that ought to be and to get passionate about making it happen.

I don't think the construction is reversible. I think Republicans would love a President who actually stood up and said the things many Republicans would like to hear, rather than temper his words and turn the other cheek as Bush does. Besides, I can't see some Republican mouthing Sorkin's words. The show is so stacked against Republicans it can't work anyway. Nor could any network mount a "West Wing"-style show with a Republican cast. There simply aren't enough folks willing to act, write and direct it. It would fail. Republicans tend to be more concrete. They are more concerned with the here-and-now, the real.

And Libertarians would want you to turn off the television, pick up a good history book and read it! Americans are woefully ignorant of real history and the true origins of this country. It's how our government can have strayed so far from its roots and purposes.

It's an interesting article in that you get a view into a liberal mind. It's confused and contradictory, longing for the unreal, as you'd expect.

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