Aaron Sorkin's Conservative Liberalism

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Like Drew Magary over at Gawker, I think this line is the most telling in Aaron Sorkin's deeply unpleasant, condescending and sexist interview with the Globe and Mail:


"I think I would have done very well, as a writer, in the forties," he says. "I think the last time America was a great country was then, or not long after. It was before Vietnam, before Watergate."

As Magery points out this puts us firmly in a deeply problematic era segregation and gender repression (among other things.) I don't think Sorkin's point is that those things were awesome, so much that all the "great" battles happened yesterday. You can see this sort of longing for a great past all over Sorkin's new show, and in the attendant notions that the internet that ruined everything. (The first episode of it is up on YouTube.) 

Of course this sort of thinking is easy given the clarity of hindsight. I doubt people fighting those battles in the '40s felt the sort of clarity that we now see looking back. Likely the fight was always muddy and dizzying. Likely nothing was ever clean.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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