The most overpraised science fiction writer in America today is Aaron Sorkin, the creator of the alternate-history TV show The West Wing and author of the social network, a fear dot com-style cyber-horror film about a website that sucks out people's souls. (The latter was directed by David Fincher, an old genre hand who cut his teeth on the Alien series.) For some reason, The Atlantic asked Sorkin to describe his media diet. He replied with the same absence of imagination that characterizes his scripts. For example:
When I read the Times or The Wall Street Journal, I know those reporters had to have cleared a very high bar to get the jobs they have. When I read a blog piece from "BobsThoughts.com," Bob could be the most qualified guy in the world but I have no way of knowing that because all he had to do to get his job was set up a website--something my 10-year-old daughter has been doing for 3 years.
Yes, he said this: "I have no way of knowing that." Because it's not as though BobsThoughts.com is embedded in a vast network of data, feedback, and reputation that just might serve as a guide. If you want to know Bob's qualifications for sharing his thoughts, the only metric that matters is who hired him. With a job at The New York Times, he's bound to be at least as reliable as Judith Miller and at least as thoughtful as Thomas Friedman.
More Sorkin pensées:
"The homepage on my web browser is Yahoo, which I'm told it shouldn't be, but I've just been too lazy to change it."
"As the saying goes, the problem with free speech is that you get what you pay for."
"I've been just as proud when my friend, Peggy Noonan, puts country before party and journalism before everything."
And then there's this unselfconscious moment:
Not to be unoriginal but Beck and Limbaugh are eye-poppingly awful. It would be easier to buy their love of America if they didn't have such hate for Americans.
I hate to break this to you, Aaron, but you aren't exactly overflowing with affection yourself.