Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Newsroom ~ Aaron Sorkin. & UPDATE on Health Care/Insurance Result

TV and radio newsrooms, or newspaper offices, have been favourite settings for movies and TV series over the years, some famous ones: Network, All the President's Men, Broadcast News, Goodnight and Good Luck, and others, too many to name. A zany take on a TV newsroom, possibly unknown to US audiences, was one of my favouirtes from the 1990s in the UK: channel 4's Drop the Dead Donkey . Some enterprising US producer might profitably look into that series and come up with a modern US version. Newest in the newsroom genre is HBO's series created by Aaron Sorkin, The Newsroom. Its pilot episode aired this week. I'd seen a couple of scathing articles by critics, so wasn't expecting too much. We were pleasantly surprised! We're unfamiliar with Aaron Sorkin's other work, apart from Social Network - which was hmmm: just about okay (my post on it HERE); but his West Wing sounds interesting, as a possible future DVD rental.

Newsroom is being panned by many critics and others in the media because, basically, it aims to point out their faults, show them a mirror image of themselves, warts an' all. The warts are more noticeable than ever these days.

Chief character in The Newsroom is news anchor Will McAvoy played by Jeff Daniels (whose work in Good Night and Good Luck might have suggested him for the part). We are led to believe that he once had the reputation of being a first-class news hound, incisive insightful, but has, in order to keep his job and programme ratings, dumbed-down his style to bland and boring in order for his target audience to relate to him more easily, thus causing the show to pull in better audience figures, and thus sell more advertising. It's always all about the money.

It seems the thrust of the series to come will highlight a near disappearance of decent investigative TV journalism and consequent rise of dumbed-down partisan-style "infotainment". The pilot episode kicked off leaving us in no doubt as to McAvoy's opinions.

Female lead, McAvoy's producer, is British actress Emily Mortimer playing the rather awkwardly named MacKenzie McHale. Inclusion of a Brit leads me to suspect that it's hoped to sell the TV series in Britain. All about money! Surely there are hundreds of competent, even brilliant, actresses in the USA who'd have jumped at the chance of such a part? I didn't feel Ms Mortimer was quite right, or quite comfortable, in the part - but perhaps future episodes will change my mind on that.

Critics slam the dialogue, and Sorkin's work in general, as "preachy". I like preachy, preachy is sorely needed here!

In this first episode we go back in time to 2010 and the unfolding of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Sorkin gives us some idea what could have happened had someone with the right attitude, the right contacts, the right will to find the truth from the start of it all, been around at that time.

I look forward to finding out how the series will unfold and how coming episodes will be received. Will Newsroom survive for more than a season?

A look at the natal chart of Aaron Sorkin:

Born in New York City on 9 June 1961. No time of birth is known, so chart is set for 12 noon.

His natal Sun in Gemini, ruled by Mercury the communications planet is classic for a professional writer.
Mercury itself was in Cancer and making a close harmonious trine to Neptune (creativity) in Scorpio - another classic for a writer. The Watery input from Cancer and Scorpio reflects his sensitivity and passion for the subjects of which he writes.

I'll pinpoint one more thing which stands out for me: a Yod (Finger of Fate)which links Mercury and Pluto in helpful sextile, then both planets to Jupiter in Aquarius by two 150 degree aspects known as quincunxes. Astrologers find that such configurations signify the "energies" attributed to the sextiled planets are channeled through the planet/sign at the apex of the Yod. Being translated in this case as Mercury (his writing) and Pluto (his passion for his subject) are channeled through Jupiter (publication to masses)via Aquarius (social consciousness). That works for me!

NEWS UPDATE - on another topic - from yours truly:

Trust a triple (Sun, Mercury, Chiron) Aquarian, Chief Justice John Roberts to do the unexpected (sometimes). The usually conservative Chief Justice joined four liberal justices to uphold the Affordable Care Act almost intact (with one adjustment regarding Medicaid).

Some pundits will assume that Chief Justice Roberts was feeling sensitive about increasingly adverse public opinion of SCOTUS, so because ACA was constitutional anyway - or could be deemed to be so by declaring the individual mandate as a tax - he saved SCOTUS face, and the President's reputation - for now.

In any case the ACA is nothing but a supporting document for the insurance corporations - why wouldn't it be upheld? I've always thought it would, for that reason, but am surprised that Roberts upheld it with a deciding vote.

Here's what I wrote about him in a post about other individuals who share my birthday (27 January)
Hard to be Humble Birthdays ~~~
US Chief Justice John Roberts has Sun and Mercury in Aquarius, with Aquarius' modern ruler Uranus conjunct Jupiter in Cancer. Jupiter is traditionally connected with law, and government. Incidentally, with his natal Moon almost certainly in Pisces, Sun in humanitarian Aquarius, and that conjunction in sensitive Cancer , I'd say Chief Justice Roberts is a compassionate man, it's good to see such a person occupying that lofty position.(27 Jan. 1955, Buffalo, New York ).
I'm happy for the people the ACA will help - and it will certainly help some people, as well as making extra profits for the insurance corporations, come 2014 when most of its provisions kick in. The people are most important though......always.


Wisewebwoman said...

I anxiously await your ongoing take on Newsroom. Sorkin's work on West Wing remains one of my faves of all time.
Watch out if you rent it, T, just shove aside your life for a while. A few small segments are weak but most really holds up. And if only the USA were run with this basic decency, a long lost quality.
Money is all now and the pathetic so called Health Care Teform is scandulous in this world. Cuba does better.

Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~~ We intend to rent the series, but to make absolutely sure whether it's our cup o' tea I've ordered a used first season set as a trial. If a thumbs up it'll mean trips to the rental store - frequently. Looking forward to sampling the show!

Health Care system is a travesty here, yes. The Afforable Care Act isn't anywhere near adequate and only serves to enrich insurance corporations even more - but it will , if it survives the next administration, offer some relief to some people who are currently struggling with pre-existing conditions, and allows young people under 26 to remain on parents' insurance policies.

It's almost funny to read around the comment boards today and see the different spins being put on the SCOTUS decision - and at least one conspiracy theory.

R J Adams said...

Loved 'Drop the Dead Donkey'...the vision of Damien and a nymphomaniac weather girl hanging naked from a bungee cord will stay with me forever!

"Some pundits will assume that Chief Justice Roberts was feeling sensitive about increasingly adverse public opinion of SCOTUS, so because ACA was constitutional anyway - or could be deemed to be so by declaring the individual mandate as a tax - he saved SCOTUS face, and the President's reputation - for now."

That's my take.

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~~ LOL! Those were the days! I bought a DVD of some Drop the Dead Donkey episodes - still very funny but unfortunately so dated by the events they covered, most of which I could hardly recall. I wish someone would resurrect the show for a modern take.

Yes, that seems most likely. Whether the surprise decision of SCOTUS will more aid one side or t'other is now the source of debate. Good to keep the Great Unwashed chattering while "they" behind the curtain get on with their nefarious doings.