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Tara Ariano

S03.E05: Oh Shenandoah

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I read about the rape subplot before I watched the episode and wasn't nearly as outraged as I was apparently supposed to be. I do think Sorkin just tried to connect too many unrelated dots at once and started tripping over the tangled wires of too many "rape-related" side issues. I thought Don made decent points about court-of-law vs. TV vs. website as very different forums -- appropriate or disastrous, depending on the situation -- for airing and resolving grievances. Like Mackenzie with the kid who wanted to come out on-air last season, I think Don had reasonable standing to "deny" Mary based on his professional judgment, gatekeeping role and his years of experience with the medium in question, just as Mackenzie did in her case with the genders reversed. But the whole convoluted device of tracking Mary down and hoping she'd refuse his conditions, and then saying "no" when she agreed to them and then lying about being able to get her, got a little silly; it was almost as if Don were baiting Mary in order to make his lofty points, though TS didn't play it that way and I'm sure Sorkin didn't intend it that way.

 

And Don's whole false-accusations argument left me unmoved. The culture in which women can't be assured of their physical safety while walking into a downtown parking ramp after work during business hours, or while going to a big campus party without two or three sober friends constantly glued to her side, is the same culture in which an innocent guy might get falsely smeared in the court of public opinion if he offends the wrong person, and his options for healing, clearing his name and putting it all behind him are probably better than hers. Nobody gets a promise that nothing unfair will ever happen to us in our lifetime, not even high-IQ white guys with med-school plans. We just get the opportunity to try to make things right afterward if it does. 

 

To me, Sorkin's "alleged victim" rebuttal is worse than anything he put on screen. I work for a newspaper, and we've talked in the past about avoiding that phrase in unresolved rape cases because intentionally or not, it carries a skeptical tone, even in the neutral context of a crime story. And in this case, we were supposed to believe Mary (right?!), so Sorkin's thinking is apparently more muddled than I realized from watching the show.

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To me, Sorkin's "alleged victim" rebuttal is worse than anything he put on screen. I work for a newspaper, and we've talked in the past about avoiding that phrase in unresolved rape cases because intentionally or not, it carries a skeptical tone, even in the neutral context of a crime story. And in this case, we were supposed to believe Mary (right?!), so Sorkin's thinking is apparently more muddled than I realized from watching the show.

 

Yeah, we were definitely supposed to believe Mary. I can't imagine anyone thinking she was lying. But honestly, I think Sorkin was just using the lingo. Everything is "alleged" these days so no one gets sued. Of course it's silly since this was a fictional story. I mean...come on. But it's so ingrained in people's thinking that we often do it without even considering what we're saying anymore. Though I have to say, I wish someone would ask Aaron Sorkin, just for the sake of argument, "In your backstory for Mary, was she actually raped?" I can't see any circumstance under which he could believably say no.

Edited by madam magpie

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Sorkin tried. He was doing well for a few lines and then he couldn't help himself. This is part of the seemingly eternal discussion "is Sorkin sexist/can he write good female characters/can he fairly write meaningful female lines". I have a strong opinion about that, have had it forever, it has not changed and I don't think it will- since I don't think he will change. I try to focus on the pace of his writing because he does it masterfully, and he is really great at some details too (like the music he chooses). 

when it comes to things like this episode's, and even short lines that are just a "filler" in a dialogue, let me say it again

FUCK YOU, SORKIN!

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I completely agree with her take on the Alena Smith.  Regardless of whether or not I believe her, I pretty much think what she did was selfish and unnecessary.  The show wasn't about you, hun.  Take a seat.

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So, with all this talk about Sloane's subplot & Don's subplot & Will in jail hallucinating his father, I'm really surprised that there haven't been more "Holy Shit Charlie's Dead!" posts.

 

So: HOLY SHIT, CHARLIE'S DEAD!

I know there's only one more episode left, but still: HOLY SHIT, CHARLIE'S DEAD!

I almost scrolled over this post.  You mean there is actual talk about the show on this thread?  Gasp.  It is this reporters opinon that TWOP was too tight with OT post and maybe perhaps, just a little bit, PTV is a little lax.  JMO. {this post would be deleted on TWOP}  Ironic, no?  

Edited by TV Diva Queen
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I almost scrolled over this post.  You mean there is actual talk about the show on this thread?  Gasp.  It is this reporters opinon that TWOP was too tight with OT post and maybe perhaps, just a little bit, PTV is a little lax.  JMO. {this post would be deleted on TWOP}  Ironic, no?  

 

It's this non-reporters opinion that this is slightly unfair given the content of the show and the fact that it's a hot button issue right now.  One which illicits fiery reactions.  I think the discussion is important and necessary and hasn't veered away from the show.  People have kept their views to how they think Don handled it and what they think of Mary's situation in the context of the show.  Which seems to me what this forum was designed for.  

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I almost scrolled over this post.  You mean there is actual talk about the show on this thread?  Gasp.  It is this reporters opinon that TWOP was too tight with OT post and maybe perhaps, just a little bit, PTV is a little lax.  JMO. {this post would be deleted on TWOP}  Ironic, no?  

 

 

Special dispensation given the content of the episode. It's exactly what makes this place better IMO.

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Thank you, TV Diva Queen! I cannot believe that more discussion hasn't been about Charlie's death. I've re-watched this episode 3 times and each time I'm in tears at the end, just as I was at the initial airing. With only one more episode to go (which astounds me. With all the drivel on TV everywhere else, we get only 6 shows ?!) I'm thinking maybe now that Charlie is gone, Pruitt will be free to fire everyone and this last show will be about all the staff moving on. Anyway, I thought Charlie's death was huge and was kind of surprised that it was getting so little attention. I probably should have jumped in but I don't usually post, preferring to read and ponder everyone else's thoughts and theories. But your post nudged me to make my stand about Charlie, who I have loved since the beginning. And now he - and the show - are gone.

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I completely agree with her take on the Alena Smith.  Regardless of whether or not I believe her, I pretty much think what she did was selfish and unnecessary.  The show wasn't about you, hun.  Take a seat.

Why isn't it about her? If Sorkin was the main writer, and 99% of people here and everywhere are talking about him in regards to this episode, and Alena Smith was one of the writers, why isn't she part of the story? I would argue she's an even more important part of the story than Olivia Munn, whose opinion you read about and then praised. I can't help but point out that telling her to "take a seat, hun" is similar to the criticism of dismissiveness and condascention that Sorkin is receiving for how he wrote the rape storyline, as well as how he responded to Smith's tweet.

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Why isn't it about her? If Sorkin was the main writer, and 99% of people here and everywhere are talking about him in regards to this episode, and Alena Smith was one of the writers, why isn't she part of the story? I would argue she's an even more important part of the story than Olivia Munn, whose opinion you read about and then praised. I can't help but point out that telling her to "take a seat, hun" is similar to the criticism of dismissiveness and condascention that Sorkin is receiving for how he wrote the rape storyline, as well as how he responded to Smith's tweet.

I think it's because she's got a serious "too big for her britches" vibe about her. Clearly this incident was minor at the time, or at least not major, because as far as we know she didn't file a complaint. As of today, she still lists The Newsroom as her "where she writes" credit on her website. She wasn't fired as far as I can tell. And Aaron Sorkin didn't bash her at all. Then, when the episode airs, she takes to Twitter in an effort to...do what? What is her goal? To shame Sorkin for being an egomaniac boss? Not to mention that her Twitter scolding mirrors the theme of the episode she's talking about, making it look like she saved up the story for maximum dramatic impact. I don't get the sense that this is a person who felt scared or harassed or even really mistreated. She comes across as someone who fought with her boss, lost, and is being petty about it. Whether Sorkin actually screamed at her, I don't know. But she looks like she's trying to slander him, and if this were any business but Hollywood, I'd say she'd have trouble finding a job because bashing your boss on social media is a huge no-no.

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Whether Sorkin actually screamed at her, I don't know. But she looks like she's trying to slander him

 

The truth is an absolute defense against slander.  Sorkin didn't deny (and actually confirmed) the basic facts she reported:  she argued about the plot, he kicked her out of the room.  So, no slander here.

 

Was this a good career move for her?  I'm guessing no as well.

Edited by pennben
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I didn't say she slandered him. I don't know if she did or didn't. I don't know if her friend did or didn't. None of us knows that. Just because someone doesn't fight back doesn't make an allegation true or false. Someone on the side of a rape victim should know that fact better than anyone. What I said was that it looks like she's trying to slander him; that's why the reaction isn't overwhelmingly in her favor. That's also why Olivia Munn said she shouldn't make it all about her, and why CaughtOnTape said she should take a seat. And the thing is, it doesn't actually matter to the court of public opinion if what she's saying is true or not. What matters is what it looks like, which frankly was a point Don was making in the episode and why the coincidence and irony of this are almost too great for me to believe.

Edited by madam magpie
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What matters is what it looks like, which frankly was a point Don was making in the episode and why the coincidence and irony of this are almost too great for me to believe.

I agree about perception, but what's interesting to me is that our perceptions of the irony of the post-episode fall-out are so different. To me, it's so obvious it's almost comical how Aaron Sorkin (a powerful man) tells Ms Smith (a female subordinate) to stay in her place, to "take a seat," to not fight the system (kicking her out of the writer's room when she objected to the direction of the plot, publicly shaming her for breaking confidentiality). She responded in an unconventional way. Was it the "proper" thing to do? Professional? Mature? Maybe not. But she didn't get justice in the writer's room, and I'm sure she didn't feel the rape victim got justice in the script, so she tried it her way via social media. Which Aaron Sorkin hates. Oh the irony! Again!

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I'm thinking maybe now that Charlie is gone, Pruitt will be free to fire everyone and this last show will be about all the staff moving on. Anyway, I thought Charlie's death was huge and was kind of surprised that it was getting so little attention. I probably should have jumped in but I don't usually post, preferring to read and ponder everyone else's thoughts and theories. But your post nudged me to make my stand about Charlie, who I have loved since the beginning. And now he - and the show - are gone.

I can see Pruitt firing everyonw now that Charlie's gone (sniff!).  I can also see the finale being about everyone moving on.  I hope what we see is (whether by firing or the  full staff quitting) for all our 'heroes' to get back to the ethos of the first episode: do a really well thought out new program that covers the news.  I want to see a thorough EFF OFF! being thrown at Pruitt.  (Yep, I blame him for Charlie (sniff!).)

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Thank you, TV Diva Queen! I cannot believe that more discussion hasn't been about Charlie's death. I've re-watched this episode 3 times and each time I'm in tears at the end, just as I was at the initial airing. With only one more episode to go (which astounds me. With all the drivel on TV everywhere else, we get only 6 shows ?!) I'm thinking maybe now that Charlie is gone, Pruitt will be free to fire everyone and this last show will be about all the staff moving on. Anyway, I thought Charlie's death was huge and was kind of surprised that it was getting so little attention. I probably should have jumped in but I don't usually post, preferring to read and ponder everyone else's thoughts and theories. But your post nudged me to make my stand about Charlie, who I have loved since the beginning. And now he - and the show - are gone.

In all fairness..it wasn't I - I simply quoted FASTILLER.

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There is a thread for discussing Sorkin's dismissal of the writer and a media thread. Take those comments there. Some of you are being dismissive and disrespectful of other posters, posts continuing on that will be deleted without notice. I realize this is a hot button issue but please take a breath before posting.

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I know it was supposed to take place a year ago, but it was interesting that Sorkin prophecized both the Rolling Stone (talked to death everywhere else and here) mess and the New Republic rebellion.

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All things considered, I'm glad this show is ending before Aaron Sorkin could get around to giving us his Rich White Man's Views on the rash of police killings of unarmed black men. That would have been even more of an utter disaster.

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I cannot believe that more discussion hasn't been about Charlie's death. I've re-watched this episode 3 times and each time I'm in tears at the end, just as I was at the initial airing. With only one more episode to go (which astounds me. With all the drivel on TV everywhere else, we get only 6 shows ?!) I'm thinking maybe now that Charlie is gone, Pruitt will be free to fire everyone and this last show will be about all the staff moving on. Anyway, I thought Charlie's death was huge and was kind of surprised that it was getting so little attention. I probably should have jumped in but I don't usually post, preferring to read and ponder everyone else's thoughts and theories. But your post nudged me to make my stand about Charlie, who I have loved since the beginning.

 

I was surprised that they killed him off. Him having a heart attack wasn't remotely surprising considering his unchecked rage filter at work, but to actually kill him off? And off-screen as well? Didn't expect that.

 

I am interesting in seeing Sloan and Mac's reaction to this. Will they both feel that it's their fault since it was their little rebellion that set him off?

 

I do feel bad for Will that he missed spending time with his best bud Charlie (in what turned out to be his final days!) just because he wouldn't confirm that the dead woman had been the leak.

Edited by NoWillToResist

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But she didn't get justice in the writer's room, and I'm sure she didn't feel the rape victim got justice in the script, so she tried it her way via social media.

Why does a fictional rape victim have to get justice in a fictional show? That's not the story being told here, I believe. Even on Law and Order, which is more about the actual justice, rape victims don't always get their justice. 

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Why does a fictional rape victim have to get justice in a fictional show? That's not the story being told here, I believe. Even on Law and Order, which is more about the actual justice, rape victims don't always get their justice.

They don't, and certainly the fictional rape victim in this episode didn't. And of course this mirrors real life. But at least on shows like Law & Order SVU, the story is written in a way where the viewers are sympathetic when the victim doesn't get justice, whereas here it was written in a way that read, at least to many: think of the men. The plight of the falsely accused is a real one, and I don't mean that sarcastically, but it has to be put in the context of the crime of rape, where the percentage of false accusations is intestinally small compared to the percentage of rapes that don't get convicted, to understand why so many were angry at the episode's message and tone.

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But LotusFlower...weren't you as a viewer sympathetic that Mary didn't get justice? I was. I felt horrible for her. I felt like Don did too.

The plight of the falsely accused is a real one, and I don't mean that sarcastically, but it has to be put in the context of the crime of rape, where the percentage of false accusations is intestinally small compared to the percentage of rapes that don't get convicted, to understand why so many were angry at the episode's message and tone.

I think this is a big reason that people are mad. But the thing is, I don't think the plight of the falsely accused needs to be viewed in comparison to the number of women whose rapists go free. They're both horrific crimes that stand alone, and to say that one deserves more sympathy or even more attention simply because its numbers are higher doesn't sit well with me. I just place too much value on the lives and suffering of all people and don't consider rape survivors more (or less) valuable than anyone else who has been victimized.

NoWilltoResist: I wondered too if Mac and Sloan...and Don...were going to blame themselves for being too confrontational with Charlie. It's one of those situations where, in hindsight, you'd maybe rather have been kind than right.

Edited by madam magpie

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But LotusFlower...weren't you as a viewer sympathetic that Mary didn't get justice? I was. I felt horrible for her. I felt like Don did too.

Yes. But as Sorkin wrote it (he said/she said), I was also supposed to feel sympathetic to John Doe #1, who might not get into Stanford Medical School, and John Doe #2, who might not make the NFL draft. And remember, this is all under the premise that they raped her (justice denied).

I just place too much value on the lives and suffering of all people and don't consider rape survivors more (or less) valuable than anyone else who has been victimized.

So all crimes are equal? A store owner not getting justice for a shoplifting offense is on par with a rape victim's lack of justice?

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Yes. But as Sorkin wrote it (he said/she said), I was also supposed to feel sympathetic to John Doe #1, who might not get into Stanford Medical School, and John Doe #2, who might not make the NFL draft. And remember, this is all under the premise that they raped her (justice denied).

I think we were supposed to feel for Mary and the John Does who were accused but innocent, not the actual rapists. Don was trying to say that there's no way for Mary to be certain that one of those men isn't being strung up for something he didn't do. She basically said she thought it was a risk worth taking because the odds of truth were in her favor. (And she's right about that.)

So all crimes are equal? A store owner not getting justice for a shoplifting offense is on par with a rape victim's lack of justice?

No, no. Absolutely not. But not because of the crimes, because of the suffering and struggle caused by them. A store owner may lose a lot of money and that would be awful, but someone who's raped or who has his/her life stolen because of a false accusation suffers tremendously. I don't think rape victims are more important than someone who is robbed just because there are more of them (if there are...I have no idea of the statistics). I think they are more important because of the damage done. What I don't think a lot of people realize is the incredible amount of damage done by a false accusation and imprisonment, which is why I think Mary saw the risk as worthwhile. She's not trying to hurt innocent people. She's just trying to make up for a justice system that failed her and many other women. What Don was telling her was that if she stayed on this course, she was eventually going to help the justice system fail someone else. Edited by madam magpie
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She's not trying to hurt innocent people. She's just trying to make up for a justice system that failed her and many other women. What Don was telling her was that if she stayed on this course, she was eventually going to help the justice system fail someone else.

And I think with powerful societal entities like the justice system and the media stacked against rape victims, it's understandable that they'll turn to unconventional means for justice. And yes, it's imperfect, but so is the justice system, as well as how college campuses handle rape, and how the media reports it, etc. I think it's fair to explore what else victims can do when justice is denied, and they see their rapist walk free, and win Heisman Trophies (Winston) and TV shows (Cosby). I don't know what the answer is, I'm not sure about the anonymous website, and it's definitely not a Crossfire-type TV debate. But, similar to the "I can't breathe" and "black lives matter" protests going on right now, maybe we'll never find out unless we call attention to the problem. And apply a different kind of pressure. And I think that's what Mary was trying to do, but Don told her that it was wrong; that the conventional way may be imperfect, but it's what we've got. Judges might be ok with that kind of thinking, realists might be ok with it, but a lot of people aren't.

And lastly, he not only told her he thought she was wrong, but that her website "wouldn't give (her) the justice (she) was looking for." Sorry, but how does he know? How is Don an authority on another person's feelings? If a rape victim says that this will make her feel better, maybe vindicated, who is Don to say it won't? (And one wonders why Sorkin gets called out for writing arrogant characters?!). Something I've noticed re:: the Bill Cosby scandal. Too much time has passed, and no one is pressing charges, but they all say the same thing - they just want to be heard. I think that's very powerful, and maybe that's what Mary's fictional website , with all of its inherent problems, was trying to address.

Edited by LotusFlower
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What I don't think a lot of people realize is the incredible amount of damage done by a false accusation and imprisonment....

 

I agree.  Coincidentally, I stumbled across an interesting TED talk by psychologist Elizabeth's Loftus that provides a few examples.  And these are even more heartbreaking because the people doing the accusing actually believe what they were saying.  Here's the complete talk in TED (not too long at 17 minutes), and below are the key points related to this discussion:

 

  • Steve Titus, a 31 year old restaurant manager, was wrongly convicted of rape.  It took a whole year and the work of a dedicated journalist to get him out of prison.  And later, there was a confession from the real perpetrator, who had committed 50 more other rapes. But, in the meantime he lost his job and couldn't get it back even after he'd been freed, he lost his fiancee, and he lost his entire savings.  He also developed a high level of anger and frustration at a system that would allow these things to happen to him.  He was in the process of suing for damages when he dropped dead of a stress-related heart attack.  He was only 35 years old.
  • In one project in the United States, information has been gathered on 300 innocent people, 300 defendants who were convicted of crimes they didn't do. They spent 10, 20, 30 years in prison for these crimes, and now DNA testing has proven that they are actually innocent.
  • Elizabeth Loftus also suffered the consequences: "But probably the worst was I suspected that a woman was innocent of abuse that was being claimed by her grown daughter. She accused her mother of sexual abuse based on a repressed memory. And this accusing daughter had actually allowed her story to be filmed and presented in public places. I was suspicious of this story, and so I started to investigate, and eventually found information that convinced me that this mother was innocent. I published an exposé on the case, and a little while later, the accusing daughter filed a lawsuit. Even though I'd never mentioned her name, she sued me for defamation and invasion of privacy. And I went through nearly five years of dealing with this messy, unpleasant litigation, but finally, finally, it was over and I could really get back to my work. In the process, however, I became part of a disturbing trend in America where scientists are being sued for simply speaking out on matters of great public controversy."

 

All this to say that false accusations are not some minor problem that can be cleared up with no damage to the wrongly accused.  The consequences are severe, painful, stressful, time consuming, resource-draining, and emotionally intensive.  They may even result in death.

 

Was Mary prepared to bear the responsibility if someone who was wrongly accused on her website went to jail and lost everything like Titus did only to be proven innocent later on? Are we?  I know that I would have a horrible time dealing with the fact that something I did caused an innocent person so much suffering or even death.  And I think Don's point was about that as well, Mary might have felt that she got some relief, some justice, but if a website she created to help the innocent victims of rape ended up hurting other innocents who are wrongly accused, would she really feel good about that?

 

One could say that Don should have then chosen to do a scathing story on the unfairness of the system toward rape victims and tried to help Mary that way, and who knows, maybe if the show had more seasons he would do just that.  But, in the circumstances Don found himself in during this episode, working for a network that wanted nothing to do with serious journalism and was only striving for scandal, sensationalist based ratings and internet hits, he can't offer Mary that option.  All he can do is let her know his objections to her approach.

Edited by WearyTraveler
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Was Mary prepared to bear the responsibility if someone who was wrongly accused on her website went to jail and lost everything like Titus did only to be proven innocent later on? Are we?  I know that I would have a horrible time dealing with the fact that something I did caused an innocent person so much suffering or even death.  And I think Don's point was about that as well, Mary might have felt that she got some relief, some justice, but if a website she created to help the innocent victims of rape ended up hurting other innocents who are wrongly accused, would she really feel good about that?

Probably not, nobody is, really. 

All the stories you quoted are heartbreaking. I wonder how many of those involve an accused who is also part of a minority, and poor. Because we know the system is biased towards the rich and the privileged majority.

My problem is not that we debate the pros and cons. I think we are at a moment that people can easily spread information about anything, and this includes misinformation. I am 100% supportive of a website like the one described in the show because such things are a symptom of what has happened to women for far too long. It is part of history, women were property and the mentality around that has not yet vanished completely.

It is terrible to hear about individual cases about falsely accused people who struggle to get their lives back together, sometimes failing. It is equally terrible to hear (or not hear, but know) the stories of rape victims that never get justice, and who have their lives destroyed by the rape and then the inaction of authorities.

But when the system, including the media and universities that have all this leeway when dealing with sexually-based crimes, fails, and the victim (allegedly, if you prefer) has a way to expose the truth, I am all for it. Maybe in a not too distant future things are going to be more balanced.

 

 

 

What Don was telling her was that if she stayed on this course, she was eventually going to help the justice system fail someone else.

This might even be true but it is also silencing and putting the burden on the victims back. The system will fail someone else, that's a given. Why should people be silence when treated with injustice? No, yell, protest, do whatever it takes. Nobody in the mainstream in listening, go to the alternative means (although it is debatable if the internet is alternative). With luck, someone will be scared enough of bad publicity that the case will get the attention it deserves from the usual means.

 

Don (actually Sorkin, because this is not his first blunder concerning attitudes toward women) had no place lecturing Mary. He came across as to protective of the accused, even as he said he believed her. He is not a lawyer. He is not a psychologist. He is not her protector either. She would be exposing herself too much by debating the other guy on TV, but it should be her choice. If he didn't want to run the piece, fine, don't run the piece. Don't try to make her responsible for him being uncomfortable with it. This is gaslighting

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And lastly, he not only told her he thought she was wrong, but that her website "wouldn't give (her) the justice (she) was looking for." Sorry, but how does he know? How is Don an authority on another person's feelings? If a rape victim says that this will make her feel better, maybe vindicated, who is Don to say it won't? (And one wonders why Sorkin gets called out for writing arrogant characters?!). Something I've noticed re:: the Bill Cosby scandal. Too much time has passed, and no one is pressing charges, but they all say the same thing - they just want to be heard. I think that's very powerful, and maybe that's what Mary's fictional website , with all of its inherent problems, was trying to address.

Actually I do think one of the women in the Cosby thing filed charges. I feel like I read that the other day. I agree that the women in the Cosby scandal want to be heard and that there's a lot of power in that. But I also think one of their main goals is to expose him as an epic fraud. (There's also power in that.)

Don is allowed to have an opinion. He's allowed to think Mary won't feel better if she keeps up with her website. That's just what the character of Don thinks. Maybe he's wrong, maybe he's right. Maybe it's what Aaron Sorkin thinks, maybe it's not. But so what? Having that opinion means virtually nothing. Mary (or her real-life counterparts) are free to also have her own opinions and act on them. This is a big place where I see the anti-feminism in response to this show. I don't need or want Aaron Sorkin to pander to the female perspective by populating his show with men who think like women, or who even always support the female opinion. That's unrealistic and, to me, insulting. So Don thinks this? OK. Sloan went on a whole rant last week about how Don and Will were illogical in their ideas about whistleblowers. That's just Sloan's opinion. The characters on this show are full of different, and sometimes contradictory, opinions. The men don't always react to things the way women want them to. The women don't always react the way the men want them to. I think all of that is OK and makes for a very interesting story. I don't need (or even want) to have all the characters see things my way. That would be boring for me because I already know what I think. I'm interested in different perspectives. And I think Sorkin does that incredibly well.

Edited by madam magpie

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I would like to know wht "women's opinion" means since I find he notion that a whole gender thinks alike to be pretty off putting.

Nobody in the show but mary seemed to support the notion that victims have a right to speak their truths. To me that is not about men and women, I also think the analogy the show was drawing between celebrity stalking and rape victims speaking out was absurd and insulting.

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That was Mary's role, yes. Sloan's role was to say that celebrities don't deserve to be made victims by other people either speaking their truth or lying. Don's role was to say that victims don't have the right to create new victims simply so that others can speak their truth. Etc. There were a lot of different perspectives and opinions given by the different roles on this show.

As for the gender of opinion, this show clearly has a male perspective. It's written by a man and has a male protagonist. Something like Grey's Anatomy has a female perspective for the same reasons, opposite gender. That's what I'm referring to. Telling Mary's story from her point of view and making her struggle for justice the primary point would be a female perspective.

Edited by madam magpie

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And lastly, he not only told her he thought she was wrong, but that her website "wouldn't give (her) the justice (she) was looking for." Sorry, but how does he know? How is Don an authority on another person's feelings? .

 

I felt that Don meant that, considering that she went through all the right channels (campus police, city police etc.) and got nowhere, her website wasn't going to give her the results that she wanted (actual justice). And on that count, I think he's right. She wants the guy to be charged, found guilty (and probably sent to prison). Her website will not give her that. What she ends up with, with her website, is a faulty reporting system which can do more harm than good. Her 'whistle-blower' style website may alert some women to the rapey tendencies of some of their fellow classmates, but sadly, it can be used by less decent people to falsely accuse. And, if she did the on-air confrontation, she was putting herself in a very vulnerable position; to be publicly disbelieved, to have her character assassinated...it could ruin HER even more than the injustice of having her rapists go free...

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Websites can have features that only the administrator controls, so there is also that. She could go for revenge, and allow anyone to post, or she could take charge of a movement. Don didn't know that either and he was being gaslight-y

Sometimes, in the absence of justice, personal satisfaction fills the void. It can be a good thing or a bad thing, but it is a thing.

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I felt that Don meant that, considering that she went through all the right channels (campus police, city police etc.) and got nowhere, her website wasn't going to give her the results that she wanted (actual justice). And on that count, I think he's right. She wants the guy to be charged, found guilty (and probably sent to prison). Her website will not give her that.

I don't thinks so (wanting the guy charged and sent to prison). I think she's past that. At least as it was written, I think she saw the system fail her, or knew that it would, so she thought of a different way to expose the guy and seek justice. A conviction and jail sentence is not the only way a rape victim can feel vindicated or satisfied. I agree that that's how Don felt, and that's what I found offensive - how he imposed his feelings and belief system onto Mary. He's entitled to feel that way, and express how he feels, of course. But he's not the authority on how someone else feels.

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With due respect, this debate doesn't make sense anymore. All the relevant points have been made. We know where Don stood, we know Mary's plight. The problem we all have to face is that the justice system's treatment of rape victims leaves a lot to be desired. Aaron Sorkin, and crew, didn't even suggest a solution. We won't be able to find a solution in blaming Don for his views or exonerating Mary from all responsibility of her website's potential pitfalls - the two main points of contention - what we have to do is find common cause in applauding a brilliantly conceived (if not universally received) episode that raised a couple of important issues. Perversely Sorkin would be proud of this thread, getting people to talk is probably the holy grail for any tv drama writer. He didn't even offer a solution but he'd find himself satisfied that he gave the spotlight to an important issue.

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What is this male female perspective? Is it just identity politics: a male wrote it therefore it's a male perspective? I resist that notion entirely. I have one perspective and you another, and yet, seems we are both women. There are some men who write great female characters and some that don't. Sorkin does not, if you mean a feminist viewpoint, I would guess sorkin thinks he does that. I'd disagree. But he reduction to whole shows as gendered rather thatn reflecting the show runners does not work for me.

And I think there are quite a few men who are also pretty offended at using rape as a subplot about freedom of speech. I think that really doesn't have a lot to do wi gender itself. Similarly a lot of men complained about. The use of rape as a subplot for a husband in Downton abbey.

And how mary could have controlled the website, moderated it, used tilll none of that was brought up at all on the show. Because the discussion was contrived, to be used as a subset for the issue sorkin really cares about, which is not rape victims, but the danger of a new Media.

Edited by lucindabelle

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Perspective isn't opinion. It's the lens through which the audience sees a story. The perspective of any piece of writing, but especially a work of fiction, is filtered through the writer and the protagonist. I'm a woman. Everything I write has a female perspective. I can't write from the perspective of a man because I'm not one. I may be able to write believable male characters, but they will all be filtered through a female point of view. If you believe that there is no gender in perspective, OK. That's certainly one school of thought. I don't agree with it, but lots of people do. That's way off topic, though, so I don't really want to spend any more time on it.

Edited by madam magpie
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Nope, I don't think there's a female perspective, or a male perspective, per se, and don't agree that his writing the scene the way he did was because he doesn't have a female perspective, but because he makes all his characters extensions of himself. I don't think he'd write very well about any group he wasn't himself a part of. He has an Aaron Sorkin perspective. I don't think that sharing a gender means sharing a point of view, which is what perspective means, after all. It's not just about opinion on a particular issue, but pov.  agree with you about that, but I don't think it applies to this episode. I don't think he wrote it badly because he's a man. A lot of men would have written it differently, and better.

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I don't know. When it comes to Sorkin and women, I can see how some people find some of his female characters subpar, but he's the guy who wrote CJ and Abigail on TWW, and he wrote Sloan for The Newsroom.  I don't think those are terribly written female characters, although I would agree he seems to put more care / realism in his male characters.  It might be because he's a man and he knows men better, I suppose.

 

If I ever wrote a female character, it would be, let's say, atypical... I'm not what you'd call an average female, he. he!  But I'm fine with Sorkin's writing.  Some of it misses, some of it is really good.  I enjoy the good and don't get too involved with the bad.  I want to be a happy person, so, anything negative that I can ignore, I will.  I only spend time on negative things that I can change for the better, and those that impact me and my loved ones, the rest...meh! I don't have time for that. JMMV, off course.

Edited by WearyTraveler

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but he's the guy who wrote CJ and Abigail on TWW, and he wrote Sloan for The Newsroom.

But if you look at the nuances, they are not that strong and they, more often than overtly portrayed, fit the stereotypical sexist view of a woman.

 

I don't think there is a very clear male/female perspective because of internalized sexism. There are plenty of women speaking up the male "agenda". More difficult to see the other way around though, since men have more privilege than women.

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I also have an issue with Don's "I'm morally obligated to believe him" argument.  No... he's not.  They've stated before on this show (and I agree) that the news isn't obligated to present two sides of an argument as equally valid.

 

I took away from Don's remark that it wasn't journalistic morality that impelled him; it was his higher, internal sense of what is right and wrong. He wasn't morally obligated as a newsman; he was morally obligated as an ethical person. His ethics tell him that it is a sin to ruin a person without proof, no matter how much one is inclined to believe the accuser.

 

Perhaps he was referring only to a journalistic code, but in the intensity of the moment that contained his remark, it didn't feel that way to me.

Edited by Milburn Stone
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I find it somehow amusing (not really) that Sorkin loves to blast the "new media" and avert his eyes from the what the "old" media is becoming.

I can see a lot of bad websites and all that. I also can see that there are a lot of good ones. and I actually support a lot of bloggers who are activists and who are making a slow but steady progress toward their goal of social justice. they are making a difference, even if still really small.

I am mad not at the "bad" websites, but at papers like the Washington Post (which has been lost for a while) and the NY Times. Their journalists are terrible, their articles suffers from lack of basic knowledge of what they are writing about, the language they sometimes use is the language of heated comments on forums. 

Yeah, Sorkin, the "old" media has so much value!

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