Grantland logo

Sorkinisms II: Welcome to the NFL

As a reluctant Aaron Sorkin apologist (when he says “elite” he’s talking about a meritocracy, you guuuuyssss), I was totally with our own Amos Barshad when he defended our foremost hot speechifier against certain YouTube artists who sought to pull him down from his throne of truth. I mean, a lot of Hollywood types get accused of ripping off, deriving, and rebooting other people’s work; if they can only accuse you of self-plagiarizing, that’s probably a sign of a really awesome career, right? It’s like, why would you lift from Orson Welles or Sophocles when you’ve got a Mac Performa in a storage unit in Culver City with every Sports Night script ever on the hard drive? But then I got to the “Gather ye rosebuds” section of “Sorkinisms II,” and now, well, if the quote that FINALLY inspired Jim to go after Maggie in The Newsroom was merely freezer-burned leftovers from The West Wing, I don’t know what to believe in anymore. I need a computer screen to punch — this laptop isn’t shattering properly.

For the record, this supercut also comes from alleged Sorkin Superfan (and former Tommy Schlamme intern!) Kevin T. Porter, who wrote a lengthy disclaimer today on his blog (your blog? How old are you?).

In the last 12 years I’ve internalized the rhythms and patterns of Sorkin’s language, like a vocabulary of linguistic heartbeats. When I started seeing connections throughout his works I thought it might be a fun editing exercise to put them together as a cohesive whole, not as a critique or takedown but as a tribute, a conversation-starter, a piece of fan-art that the die-hards would appreciate. Needless to say I was pretty surprised at how negatively many people took it, and even more surprised by how many bothered to watch it at all.

Knowing this is why I’ve put this lengthy of a disclaimer on Sorkinisms II. I want people to know that none of this flows out of bitterness or resentment, hatred or the desire to take someone down. Rather this all started with love. I’ll always remember watching Sports Night for the first time and thinking “I didn’t know TV could do that”

The wordy statement of good intent, the moral quest to uncover the truth, the public backlash against a misunderstood figure who just wants what’s best for us? I take back that “alleged,” Porter.