Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I Feel Like Such A Bad Fan

Aaron Sorkin, he of West Wing and Sports Night and The American President fame, has made (made!) a Facebook group dedicated to figuring out this whole Facebook thing in preparation for writing a movie about how Facebook came about. He did it a month ago, and I'm just finding out about it now. Which makes me feel like kind of a bad fan. Like, if Joss Whedon did this, I'd have been all over it within five minutes. At the same time, I feel a little better about my lack of knowledge (down right ignorance, actually), because out of any writer anywhere, I would expect Aaron Sorkin to be the one to never touch the internet with a sixty-foot pole -again. He did it once, and it went badly for him and ever since then he's written unflattering (but funny -and somewhat true) things about the internet in general, and bloggers and fan sites and forums specifically.

Like, The West Wing had a whole episode dedicated to how message boards, and people who visit them, are havens for the unmedicated and overly hysterical called The U.S. Poet Laureate, which contained this scene:
The Internet people have gone crazy.

You're kidding.

They're calling the GAO "General Josh's Standing Army", and saying I don't understand it's mandate and purpose. They're saying if I could get a review of anything I want, that I should start by reviewing the job of Deputy C.O.S. Then one guy compares me to a poor man's Clark Clifford, and a page and a half of posts, debating whether or not I was mocking Egyptians with the Sanskrit reference.

I told you they were hysterical.

I thought you meant they were funny.

They're not.

I know they're not! It's "Lord of the Flies" in there.
Sorkin has often called bloggers and people who populate the internet names, like saying that they are fat chain smokers blogging in mumus while waiting for their tv dinners to heat up. He's also made the point, time and time again, that the internet is a perilous spot to garner information because there are no credentials from people with only handles instead of names.
Says Tom Jeter of Studio 60:
I'm a fan of credentials. It's like we've all spent the last five years living in a Roger Corman film called "Revenge of the Hack".
 No culpability and no way of seeing if the person blogging is an eight year old or someone who actually knows something about the subject is a bad in Sorkin's world. Mine too, if we want to get right down to it.

All this boils down to the fact that if someone was going to be messing about on the internet, Aaron Sorkin is probably the last person on earth to be doing it. John McCain would be ahead of him. Apparently, I was wrong in that assessment...

Anyway, it's been about a month, and here's what Aaron says about it:
Welcome. I'm Aaron Sorkin. I understand there are a few other people using Facebook pages under my name--which I find more flattering than creepy--but this is me. I don't know how I can prove that but feel free to test me.

I've just agreed to write a movie for Sony and producer Scott Rudin about how Facebook was invented. I figured a good first step in my preparation would be finding out what Facebook is, so I've started this page. (Actually it was started by my researcher, Ian Reichbach, because my grandmother has more Internet savvy than I do and she's been dead for 33 years.)

Some of you might be familiar with some things I've written. I'm the author of two Broadway plays--A Few Good Men and The Farnsworth Invention, five feature films--A Few Good Men, The American President, Malice, Charlie Wilson's War and The Trial of the Chicago 7 which is in pre-production, and three television series--Sports Night, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and the first four seasons of The West Wing.

I honestly don't know how this works, which is why I'm here. If anyone has any questions I'd be happy to answer them as best I can. If anyone has any comments I'm glad to listen. And if anyone has any Facebook stories I think they might be helpful.

That's all. I'll try to get better at this as I get more practice.


* I feel about this introduction the way I felt about Sophie's Choice--It could have been funnier.
So go and join the group. Let's give the big lug some sort of pleasant experience in the internet world. And maybe comment in the discussion group things. I probably won't be doing that, but still. 


John said...

I think I first heard mention of this two weeks ago, when I happened to check for something unrelated. I didn't believe it at the time, but it seems to be verified now.

The thing that impressed me the most about Mr. Sorkin's introduction was its pacing. I could not help but take my time while reading it, imagining a very calm, measured voice speaking the words aloud in a quiet, yet welcoming environment. Quite the change from my usual breakneck reading pace, in part brought on by authors whose sentences run long without many punctuation-enforced pauses (and I'm as guilty of it as anyone else.) Well done, Mr. Sorkin. Perhaps I will join your group after all, while I wait for my TV dinner to heat up.

petpluto said...

Sorkin's writing continually blows me away. I'm going to have a Sports Night marathon to fully commemorate this day (I would watch Studio 60, but my DVDs have gone missing)!

MediaMaven said...

If you're having a Sports Night marathon, I'm coming. I NEED to watch that show!