Why are people getting sick of The West Wing? Because The West Wing has gotten smug. And Sorkin puts stupid things in his scripts. Like his talk about artists as just people who captivate their audiences, as opposed to, say, caring. Here is the TWoP response:
A person who cares only about captivating his audience isn’t an artist at all — he’s an entertainer. The truth is the foundation of every artist’s work. An artist captivates his audience in the way he interprets the truth, even as he bends our perceptions of it to include impossible, supernatural elements, even as he sets it to music, even as he turns it inside out, paints it with the perspectives all out of kilter, and covers it in elephant poo — even as he denies that there is even such a thing as truth. All the dead artists in the world are collectively spinning in their graves at the suggestion that, like Sorkin, they were all just telling their “little stories.” Those little stories, and paintings, and plays, and symphonies, and poems, and yes, television shows have shaped every single culture on this planet, and in some cases, are all we have left of them. If Sorkin is afraid to be a part of that because he’s afraid of getting it wrong, or afraid that people won’t understand, or if he’s just afraid to — oh, I don’t know — grow a pair and take his critical lumps just like every other artist and learn from it, then fine. We lose a talented mind with an interesting view of the truth, and he loses the right to call himself an artist. But I will not just sit here and say nothing as he tries to drag the rest of the art world down with him. Hundreds of artists throughout the world and across time have been censored, imprisoned, exiled, and executed, and it wasn’t because they were simply trying to “captivate” people. It happens because, to put it in Sorkinese, sometimes an artist stands up, too. And they accept the consequences when their perceptions of the truth get them in trouble because they were wrong, or more frequently, because they were right. And finally, nothing an artist produces is as captivating as the way he shows us his truth. Nothing.
I love Television Without Pity. They just have a way of saying things that other people could never quite say right.