Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The response to Aaron Sorkin's response

A million thanks again to Aaron Sorkin for responding to a commenter and causing my blog to go viral for the first time ever. And yes, it really was Aaron Sorkin. THE WRAP confirmed it with his publicist.

This is all very unexpected – this viral thing. Like I said, it never happens to me – even when I give insightful writing advice or review Pornstar Karaoke. I guess I could address the misogyny charges on VOLUNTEERS but a) there weren’t any and b) no one gives a crap about VOLUNTEERS.

Meanwhile, quite a few websites and blogs alerted their readers to Aaron’s Sunday essay.  My thanks to all of them.  One couldn’t believe that Sorkin would respond on “some little guy’s blog”.  Oh be still my heart!

Most sites graciously linked back to me but a few like MSN just cheerfully reprinted the entire post with no link, which is a real breach of cyber etiquette. At first I was quite angry but then I saw that their film critic hated the new Katherine Heigl movie so I’m cool.

This experience has illustrated the power of Twitter. I’ve been re-tweeted numerous times. And some have been very complimentary. Here’s my favorite:

But anyway, my traffic has skyrocketed and I just hope of the many thousands of new readers that six of you will come back maybe once.

Seriously though, I’m thrilled to provide the forum for this provocative discussion on the treatment of women in SOCIAL NETWORK. I must admit that when I saw the film I was not bothered by this issue. Hey, it’s not like the guys come off as saints either. For the most part they’re misogynistic, conniving, insensitive, disloyal, narcissistic assholes. They’re the LORD OF THE FLIES with hoodies or the CAA mailroom. And as for the infamous “Fuck Bus”, I saw that as merely reason 4,573,572 to hate those preppy scumbag bastards.

Also, in none of Aaron Sorkin’s other projects have I felt he had an axe to grind against women. To the contrary, characters on WEST WING like C.J. Cregg, Donna Moss, Amy Gardner, Ainsley Hayes, and Abigail Bartlett were depicted as smart, even gifted, and worthy of enormous respect. Compare Sorkin’s treatment of women to say Judd Apatow’s.  It's the difference between N.O.W. and the "He-Man Woman Hater's Club".

That said, I found a lot of the comments in response to Sorkin’s explanation quite illuminating and as compelling to read as the original piece. (of course I also had to weed through all the anonymous asshole idiots.) It’s a thorny issue. And you’ve come at it from all directions.

Are your arguments enough to make me change my mind? No. But they are enough for me to want to go back and see the movie a second time. So if nothing else, Mr. Sorkin, your responding on “a little guy’s blog” will add another $12 to your boxoffice gross (okay… $10. I go to matinees). And maybe after seeing SOCIAL NETWORK again in this new light I will feel differently. I’ll let you all know. But you’ll have to check back here. Nothing I say is ever going to go viral. If Pornstar Karaoke didn’t do it I’ve got zero chance.


Jon Scott said...

This movie will win at least 7 Oscars....

Dudleys Mom said...


Not only are you my most favorite "some little guy" (in the blogosphere), but I also consider you totally viral, and I mean that in a good way.

If any newbies are reading my comment, you should definitely stick around and visit the blog all the time. I came here to get Ken's insights on writing comedy, but I stayed because of the consistently high level of entertainment (and generally civilized commenters).


Guy Nicolucci said...

If you go before noon, you only have to pay 6 dollars at City Walk

Troy said...


I've been following your blog for years, and have always been amazed by both the quantity AND quality of writing you do (a surprising rarity in the blogosphere).

However, even more amazing to me is when I see the results of any of those many Blog Awards that don't include your name.

Maybe that will change now.



P.S. Aaron Sorkin started running out of steam in the 4th season of "THE WEST WING", yet here you are in your 5th year picking up momentum. Hey, bravo to the "little guy"!

Anonymous said...

Gotta love anyone who mentions the He-man Woman Haters Club! (That's a Little Rascals reference, in case someone thinks there really is such a club.)

*tarazza said...

Ken, to me it was equally exciting to be acknowledged on your blog as by Aaron Sorkin. It's been great seeing how many outlets picked up the story and linked back here. Friends have been emailing me links since yesterday.

Keep on blogging; you're no "little guy" to me! :)

Mike Barer said...

As a blogger, it reminds me of the importance of thinking first, then typing. You never know who will read at what time.

lucifervandross said...

I would have thought the metafilter write-up (where i heard about you) would have made you viral.

Mister Charlie said...

Congrats on the viral thingie. More people NEED to be exposed to your excellent blog. :)

Bob and Rob Professional American Writers said...

This is the best comedy writers blog on the net...Congrats on your GOOD viral experience!

In contrast, we've been getting torn to shreds in the press this week for a recent feature we sold...(The Family Circus). It does make for good motivation, though;)

You da man, Ken!


The Most Interesting Man in the World said...

I don't read many blogs, but when I do, I read Ken Levine's.

Pat Reeder said...


Off-topic, but I just thought I'd call your attention to this article about David Hyde-Pierce and his new play. He talks about "Frasier" and compares the scripts to doing an Oscar Wilde play every week. Pretty nice testimonial:

te said...

From the above-mentioned AP feature

"One change this time around is that when Pierce was offered either the roles of the prince or of Elomire, he chose the playwright. The royal role went to Joanna Lumley ("Absolutely Fabulous") and then Hirson rewrote it for a woman."

What? She'd planned on playing the role as a man?

Alex N. said...

Okay, I don't care who knows it: I liked both "The Social Network" AND "Volunteers!"

Mary Stella said...

I feel sort of like a caterer's server at a Hollywood A-list party who sneaks a sip of water and then brags that she had drinks with (Fill in star name), or a seatfiller at the Emmy Awards.

Aaron Sorkin and I read the same blog!

James Tillery said...

So your favorite tweet said "I feel uneasy after reading this"?

I think it's funny the fuck bus caused so much apprehension. I remember stealing one of my dad's playboys about ten years ago and reading about the bus. Little surprise I considered applying to Harvard; I was deterred by their application requests. I only applied to colleges for which I could reuse my previous essays. That was three. What can I say? I'm ambitious.

Paul Duca said...

Another off-topic item...if one is interested (and I am not) one can watch Kelsey Grammar's marriage in its final spasms starting tonight, as Camillie Grammar is one of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills--along with the woman who as a child actress starred in the original version ESCAPE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN, as well as playing the daughter in NANNY AND THE PROFESSOR

Dana King said...

People too often forget that actions in a book or movie are there to depict the characters, and not represent the writer's personal attitudes. If the character is an asshole, he'll do asshole things. If he's a misogynist, he'll treat woman badly. If he's a pedophile, he'll--well, we won;t get into what he'll do. None of this means the writer is an asshole/misogynist/pedophile.

(Not unless you know this to be true from other sources, or his books/movies ALWAYS show groups in the same unflattering light.)

The Curmudgeon said...

When you write a line line this -- But anyway, my traffic has skyrocketed and I just hope of the many thousands of new readers that six of you will come back maybe once -- it reads funny.

When I write a line like that -- not that Aaron Sorkin ever commented on my blog but, for example, one time I got a big surge in traffic -- literally dozens of hits -- because I mentioned the name of the Boise State cheerleader who got proposed to on camera after a bowl game -- anyway, when I write a line like that it reads whiny and self-indulgent.

This bothers me more than perhaps it should. But it bothers me nevertheless.

Kate Coe said...

I think they're all coming from my Facebook posts. You know how popular I am.

Anonymous said...

Ken, this whole exchange is a perfect example of how your obsession with anonymous posters is ridiculous. You criticized his movie, and he responded with "who is this guy", and you responded with "well, I'm the writer of a bunch of stupid american sitcoms!", and then he went "oh well, I take that back, you must be funny!". But the CONTENT of your message was never discussed. Do any of you even remember what it was? The whole thing became an ad hominem conversation, which is completely pointless.

Joseph said...

The Japanese says "You'll be worried after you read this". Weird response, but maybe I'm misreading it and the twitter meant it would give you something to think about.

BTW, found this blog via Sorkin references, and am totally addicted. Probably going to waste my evening tonight reading the backlogs!