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Tara Ariano

S03.E06: What Kind Of Day Has It Been

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Please stop saying "sexist" = "agenda." It's an attitude, not a conspiracy or a plot. I think what LotusFlower and I are saying is that it is a writing mistake, which came about because of the flawed pov of the writer.

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All "agenda" means is "a plan or goal someone often keeps secret" or "a list of things to be considered or done." It's not a bad or dirty word, so no, I won't stop using it.

Aaron Sorkin absolutely has an agenda. That's why he writes. We all do. What that is varies from person to person. I don't see that he has a sexist one. I'm allowed that opinion, as far as I know.

Edited by madam magpie

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Agreed, LotusFlower. The simplest explanation is the best. Sorkin thinks it's a logical plot development, because it's how he thinks.

I agree, and I liked this from the NYT review of this episode:

"Lucas told Leona that he had the most expensive public relations people in New York working on improving his feminist credentials. Leona told him there was something he needed to understand: “You have a P.R. problem because you have an actual problem.”

The same could be said about Mr. Sorkin, of course."

And would I be riding the fence if I said Sorkin displays both an agenda and a sexist POV in his writing?!

Edited by LotusFlower
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And would I be riding the fence if I said Sorkin displays both an agenda and a sexist POV in his writing?!

 

Nope. You'd be understanding what the word means. I know you think he has a sexist agenda here. I just disagree with you. ;)

 

The thing is that I think part of Sorkin's agenda is to point the finger at his audience and critics, which he does over and over again while the critics and audience play right into that hand. I have a friend who will argue the most insane points and then suddenly laugh and say, "Sucker. I'm fucking with you." We all fall for it every single time. I think on some level, that's part of what Aaron Sorkin is doing and that it's a huge part of his agenda. Like Will, he's on a mission to civilize. Lots of people dislike that kind of personality; I find it mostly hilarious and clever, depending on what fingers he's pointing.

Edited by madam magpie
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But my point is that an attitude is not a plan. That's like saying someone who is bigoted has an agenda. Maybe he/she does, maybe not. Sexist is not an agenda. If you use it to characterize what i or anyone else is saying by use of the word "sexist," you're ascribing opinions to us that we do not (necessarily) have.

 

Having an "agenda" is not why a person writes, or paints, or does anything in particular, necessarily. Brecht's agenda was to get people to join the Communist party. Most people just want to make art. That is the only agenda most artists have. But their attitude informs their art and its logic. By your own definition, "agenda" does not equal ;'attitude."

 

If you start to say that anybody doing anything is an agenda, the word loses its meaning. My agenda at doing my job is to do my job. Mya genda in writing is writing. And so forth.

 

Sorkin's writing is FLAWED because of his limited pov, not because he has an agenda he's trying to promote or a plan or anything else, in my view. He does not create full, well-rounded characters who act plausibly (case in point: sneaking off to take or make a phone call in the middle of a funeral service), and he does this because he is sexist and can't fully imagine his female characters. I am NOT saying he has some kind of agenda wrt men or women.

 

You say it all you like, but don't ascribe that meaning to my use of the word. It's NOT what I mean. When I say he is sexist I'm NOT saying he's "promoting a sexist agenda."

 

Now, of course it's possible for someone to have a sexist agenda.  But what I'm saying Sorkin is a sexist, and that attitude shows in his writing. That is NOT in ANY way shape or form the same as saying he has a secret plan or agenda. An adjective is not a motive. You might just as well say he has a 50-something agenda, or a male one, or a man whose name begins with S one.

 

And as for LotusFlower  riding the fence, she's saying two things. Not accepting your definition of the word.

 

Sexist: from dictionary.com

sexist
[sek-sist]

    Word Origin

adjective
1.
relating to, involving, or fostering sexism, or attitudes and behavior toward someone based on the person's gender: a sexist remark;
sexist advertising.
noun
2.
a person who has sexist attitudes or behaves in a sexist manner.

Edited by lucindabelle
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Having an "agenda" is not why a person writes, or paints, or does anything in particular, necessarily. Brecht's agenda was to get people to join the Communist party. Most people just want to make art. That is the only agenda most artists have. But their attitude informs their art and its logic.

 

I can't speak for artists, but I disagree when it comes to writing. I think most people write because they have something they want to communicate. Rather than put what I want them to communicate on their writing, I first try to figure out what they're trying to say. Then I judge it.

Edited by madam magpie

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I disagree with that. Writers write because they like to write. They find subjects to write about because they like to write. At least, writers of fiction like Sorkin. Countless examples of playwrights and authors who write b ecause they have contract and need to fulfill it. Stoppard, Pinter, and yes, Sorkin.

In the writing, they often write about things they care about.

But in general people who start with theme produce crap, not art. But this is wildly off topic.

I don't think sorkin has shown much agenda in any of his work, but a lot of deeply held attitudes that surface in his work that he ascribes to characters with varying degrees of success.

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Nope. You'd be understanding what the word means. I know you think he has a sexist agenda here. I just disagree with you. ;)

Point taken, and it's fine disagreeing, but one last question since I enjoy our discourse: when Pruitt fires Mac (or threatens to before Charlie's heart attack), and then rehires or promotes her only because he was persuaded it would help his PR problem, and you say you don't understand this plot point, aren't you just ignoring what it is? How is this blatant sexism difficult to understand? (And please know I see the original hiring of Mac as sexist, too, but at least I understand how others can view it differently. Here, I don't see any ambiguity at all. To me, it is what it is).

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Point taken, and it's fine disagreeing, but one last question since I enjoy our discourse: when Pruitt fires Mac (or threatens to before Charlie's heart attack), and then rehires or promotes her only because he was persuaded it would help his PR problem, and you say you don't understand this plot point, aren't you just ignoring what it is? How is this blatant sexism difficult to understand?

 

I'm not sure what you're asking. Are you asking...do I see Pruitt's promotion of Mac as sexist? If so, yes, absolutely. Pruitt is an asshole who has a real problem with women. He promoted Mackenzie because he thought it would look good for him. I don't think that Will or Charlie is the same, though. Since this is really Will's story (and Mac and Charlie's on some level), I don't understand how Will announcing Mac's promotion without even discussing it with her serves his story. That's what I mean. Pruitt's just the antagonist.

 

Can we talk what I'd rather for a minute? I'd rather Pruitt never have been introduced and this season had concentrated on the leaker/protecting-the-source storyline. I'd rather Leona and Reese, whom we knew and were attached to, had been running the company and had to cope with all the problems associated with what our guys were doing regarding the leak/source. I'd have liked a clear resolution about the leaker storyline. Then, when Charlie died, I'd have liked Reese to promote Mackenzie since we spent two whole seasons with Reese and Mac becoming allies. THEN the promotion would have served the larger narrative because the whole show had been set up with Charlie as the patriarch; his passing the baton is a natural progression. I'd probably still have been a little sad that WIll and Mac couldn't do their show anymore, but I'd have felt confident that with Mac and Reese at the helm, ACN would have continued to blossom into the "news with integrity" network that our guys had envisioned.

Edited by madam magpie

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I'm not sure what you're asking. Are you asking...do I see Pruitt's rehiring of Mac as sexist? If so, yes, absolutely. Pruitt is an asshole who has a real problem with women. He hired Mackenzie because he thought it would look good for him. I don't think that Will or Charlie is the same, though. Since this is really Will's story, I don't understand how Will announcing Mac's promotion without even discussing it with her serves his story. That's what I mean. Pruitt's just the antagonist.

My question wasn't about the characters, but about the writing - it's Sorkin I'm calling out as sexist, not just his character, since he's responsible for writing every character and every storyline, including this one, where we're led to believe Mac's promotion was handled in a positive, feel-good way. And to me, there's nothing positive about a sexist depiction. If we had a scene with Mac refusing the job, for example, telling Pruitt that she wasn't going to be used to fix his feminist PR problem, then It's simply the character who's sexist. But of course we never had that scene. Because Sorkin's mind doesn't work that way. As written, a smart female executive is happy and grateful that she got a promotion, circumstances be damned.

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Can we talk what I'd rather for a minute? I'd rather Pruitt never have been introduced and this season had concentrated on the leaker/protecting-the-source storyline. I'd rather Leona and Reese, whom we knew and were attached to, had been running the company and had to cope with all the problems associated with what our guys were doing regarding the leak/source. I'd have liked a clear resolution about the leaker storyline. Then, when Charlie died, I'd have liked Reese to promote Mackenzie since we spent two whole seasons with Reese and Mac becoming allies. THEN the promotion would have served the larger narrative because the whole show had been set up with Charlie as the patriarch; his passing the baton is a natural progression. I'd probably still have been a little sad that WIll and Mac couldn't do their show anymore, but I'd have felt confident that with Mac and Reese at the helm, ACN would have continued to blossom into the "news with integrity" network that our guys had envisioned.

I agree with you!! (yea!). The rape storyline from the prior episode was so prominent and so incendiary that the Will-in-jail story was pretty much glossed over. I thought the leaker, Lily, committing suicide, was such a cop-out, story-wise, and that entire thread just kinda ended with a thud.

I also agree that had Reese and Leona stayed at the helm, and if Mac had gotten the promotion via her long-standing relationship with them, that would have felt entirely organic. But of course then Sorkin wouldn't have been able to vent about all things new media-related!

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My question wasn't about the characters, but about the writing - it's Sorkin I'm calling out as sexist, not just his character, since he's responsible for writing every character and every storyline, including this one, where we're led to believe Mac's promotion was handled in a positive, feel-good way. And to me, there's nothing positive about a sexist depiction. If we had a scene with Mac refusing the job, for example, telling Pruitt that she wasn't going to be used to fix his feminist PR problem, then It's simply the character who's sexist. But of course we never had that scene. Because Sorkin's mind doesn't work that way. As written, a smart female executive is happy and grateful that she got a promotion, circumstances be damned.

 

She didn't seem happy or grateful to me. You thought she was? She seemed conflicted and wary when she was talking to Will about it. She also seemed perfectly aware of what Pruitt was intending and then had to make a decision about whether or not to do it anyway. I think the most realistic option was for her to take the job, for both her career prospects and the reasons Will suggested. There's a lot of sexism in business. A LOT. If women in business turned down every job opportunity that came their way from a boss trying to fill a female quota or even a boss who thought they looked good in a skirt, many women I know would not have high-level jobs. Will's advice to Mac that she make it hers and keep bailing water was right on as far as I'm concerned, and before anyone asks, no I don't think diminishes Mackenzie that she asked her husband for advice about her career path. I think that's one of the things relationships are for.

 

I also thought her decision to do that, take the job she was offered and make the best of it, fit with the flashback where she was willing to do a job she didn't want and even one that paid less because she needed to do something other than sit around being drunk in a bowling alley. I like that Mackenzie isn't a snob about job prospects and that she can see the value in many different opportunities. That said, I didn't think there was much positive about it either. I thought the ending was very sad because Mac was basically giving up a position she loved to take a position that was lousy so that their collective ship would stay upright. I just think it was meant to be sort of sad, though. Don Quixote doesn't have a happy ending...I think. It's been a long time since I've read that book, but if I'm remembering right, the upshot is that Quixote renounces his lofty, chivalrous ideals and then dies. (I hated that book, but am totally going to check now.)

 

I don't think including a sexist character and event inherently means Aaron Sorkin is a sexist, though, no. Or that his writing is or even that he was demeaning Mackenzie. But if I thought this was meant to be a happy ending with Mac thrilled she got this shitty job in a weird way, then yes, I could see how you'd come to the conclusion you did.

 

But of course then Sorkin wouldn't have been able to vent about all things new media-related!

 

ETA: I think this is part of his agenda too, and even though I mostly agree with him, I think that it got in the way of the story a lot this season.

Edited by madam magpie

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sexism, racism, ableism, are not an agenda if they are not conscious. To be an agenda, it needs intent to reach a result. Many people are sexist because they have internalized sexism, same with ableism, racism. It is not a good thing, imo it is something one should desire not to have, but it exists and people can remain oblivious to it even when faced with evidence of their -ism. 

so they continue being -ist despite people pointing out to them the evidence. why? Not sure. Denial, pride? But not always an agenda, meaning a desire to reach a certain result and complete the set goal

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She didn't seem happy or grateful to me. You thought she was? She seemed conflicted and wary when she was talking to Will about it. She also seemed perfectly aware of what Pruitt was intending and then had to make a decision about whether or not to do it anyway. I think the most realistic option was for her to take the job, for both her career prospects and the reasons Will suggested.

I'm not arguing the pros and cons of Mac taking the job so much as the way the job was offered to her and how the story ended. In other words, you're guessing as to what she might do, and whether it's the right career move, etc., but I'm commenting more on what we saw, what Sorkin wrote. We saw the series conclude in a way that showed the immediate future of all the major characters - Will gets out of jail and returns to anchor Newsnight, Jim becomes the EP, Mac is News Director, Don stays as EP of the 10:00 hour, etc... I'm not critiquing the characters, but rather, (again!), how Sorkin resolved their storyline. What's factual is that Mac is both pregnant and the new News Director of ACN. What's open to interpretation is how she feels about both things.

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sexism, racism, ableism, are not an agenda if they are not conscious. To be an agenda, it needs intent to reach a result. Many people are sexist because they have internalized sexism, same with ableism, racism. It is not a good thing, imo it is something one should desire not to have, but it exists and people can remain oblivious to it even when faced with evidence of their -ism. 

so they continue being -ist despite people pointing out to them the evidence. why? Not sure. Denial, pride? But not always an agenda, meaning a desire to reach a certain result and complete the set goal

So true. How many times have we seen someone land in hot water over something racist, and then say: "I'm not a racist!" It feels virtually impossible to get people to look objectively at themselves from the outside.

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You know what I'm going to miss most about ‪this show‬? The dialogue. Aaron Sorkin is just masterful with snappy dialogue that just FLOWS and is so damn memorable.

 

And Sloan Sabbith. TV needs more Sloan Sabbith.

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I'm not arguing the pros and cons of Mac taking the job so much as the way the job was offered to her and how the story ended. In other words, you're guessing as to what she might do, and whether it's the right career move, etc., but I'm commenting more on what we saw, what Sorkin wrote. We saw the series conclude in a way that showed the immediate future of all the major characters - Will gets out of jail and returns to anchor Newsnight, Jim becomes the EP, Mac is News Director, Don stays as EP of the 10:00 hour, etc... I'm not critiquing the characters, but rather, (again!), how Sorkin resolved their storyline. What's factual is that Mac is both pregnant and the new News Director of ACN. What's open to interpretation is how she feels about both things.

 

I'm not guessing what she might do; we know what she did. She's going to run ACN's news division. I commented that I could understand why she'd take the job instead of throwing it in Pruitt's face. What I saw was her look conflicted and wary when she spoke to her husband about the promotion, so no, I didn't see it as a happy thing for her. I can also get there by contrasting her reaction about the job to her reaction about her baby. She seemed very happy about the baby; her reaction to the job was not a similarly huge, excited smile. But like I said, if you thought she was happy about it and how it all went down, then yes, I get why you'd object to the entire plot point. (And no, I don't think it's sexist for a woman to be happy about having a baby but not happy about getting a job.)

 

Also, to be clear, I think it's the audience that has the agenda when it comes to sexism in Aaron Sorkin's writing, not Aaron Sorkin himself. I see his agenda as something else entirely.

 

You know what I'm going to miss most about ‪this show‬? The dialogue. Aaron Sorkin is just masterful with snappy dialogue that just FLOWS and is so damn memorable.

 

And Sloan Sabbith. TV needs more Sloan Sabbith.

 

Amen to that! I don't know about Sloan, but I read the other day that Olivia Munn is working on a show with (I think) CBS, so yay for that.

Edited by madam magpie
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I'm not guessing what she might do; we know what she did. She's going to run ACN's news division. I commented that I could understand why she'd take the job instead of throwing it in Pruitt's face. What I saw was her look conflicted and wary when she spoke to her husband about it, so no, I didn't see it as a happy thing for her.

I don't know if I articulated my point very well. The bottom line, for me, is that she took the job, and the only part of that that bothers me is how it was presented - a) as a tactic to fix Pruitt's PR problem; and b) announced to her as a "surprise" by her husband, accepted without her consent. Mac might have looked conflicted, but there was no scene of her objecting to, or even addressing these two things. That's what made the writing sexist, imo. And I don't think Sorkin gets that. He probably doesn't think there's anything wrong about how Mac got her promotion.

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It does strain belief that you'd make an announcement like that before making an actual offer. To anyone, man, woman, martian.

It absolutely does, which is why "OMGSEXISM!" seems to be a bizarre explanation. What makes more sense to me is that the writer thought the offer was implied and moved forward because of time constraints and because who cares about watching salary negotiations on TV (I do, but still; that's the kind of tedium a writer would cut out). That kind of fudge in TV writing happens all the time; it seems strange here because we all know Sorkin can write a tighter story that that. What seems less likely to me is that an educated person would think it reasonable for anyone (man or woman) to have a new job announced with no actual idea that he/she was getting the job at all. That makes absolutely no sense.

I don't know if I articulated my point very well. The bottom line, for me, is that she took the job, and the only part of that that bothers me is how it was presented - a) as a tactic to fix Pruitt's PR problem; and b) announced to her as a "surprise" by her husband, accepted without her consent. Mac might have looked conflicted, but there was no scene of her objecting to, or even addressing these two things. That's what made the writing sexist, imo. And I don't think Sorkin gets that. He probably doesn't think there's anything wrong about how Mac got her promotion.

I have no idea what Sorkin thinks about that job; I can only guess. But it looks like a huge leap to me from "there are inconsistencies and weird choices in this plot point" to "sexist writing." And why is our understanding of Mac's feelings (or not) about her new job contingent on Pruitt's actions? Why doesn't the one reaction we did get from her about it more important that what Pruitt does or thinks? Everyone knows Pruitt's a jerk; does anyone side with him? Mac isn't some random, useless character dropped into the story out of nowhere. She's super important, and I feel like I know a lot about who she is: she's smart, capable, brave, compassionate, loyal, ethical, talkative, pushy, etc. So why is it inconceivable that the person who writes her had her accept this promotion for one of those reasons instead of his maybe-unacknowledged sexism? That leap is why I think the audience is the one with the agenda when it comes to women on these shows, not Aaron Sorkin. The inability to see one's blocks goes both ways, and yes, it's hard to get people to look at themselves. So the idea that Aaron Sorkin is a closet (or fairly open even) sexist while an internet audience knows better about who he is as a person doesn't hold a ton of weight with me. I think pointing a finger at that is also part of his agenda. Edited by madam magpie
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I have no idea what Sorkin thinks; I can't even guess.

Oh, I can guess! I can guess a lot. For one, I guess that he is very, very self-centered, egomaniac. 

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I have no idea what Sorkin thinks; I can't even guess. But it looks like a huge leap to me from "there are inconsistencies and weird choices in this plot point" to "sexist writing." And why is our understanding of Mac's feelings (or not) about her new job contingent on Pruitt's actions? Why doesn't the one reaction we did get from her about it more important that what Pruitt does or thinks? Everyone knows Pruitt's a jerk; does anyone side with him? Mac isn't some random, useless character dropped into the story out of nowhere. She's super important, and I feel like I know a lot about who she is: she's smart, capable, brave, compassionate, loyal, ethical, talkative, pushy, etc. So why is it inconceivable that the person who writes her had her accept this promotion for one of those reasons instead of his maybe-unacknowledged sexism? That leap is why I think the audience is the one with the agenda when it comes to women on these shows, not Aaron Sorkin. The inability to see one's blocks goes both ways, and yes, it's hard to get people to look at themselves. So the idea that Aaron Sorkin is a closet (or fairly open even) sexist while an internet audience knows better about who his is as a person doesn't hold a ton of weight with me. I think pointing a finger at that is also part of his agenda.

I feel like I do know what Sorkin is thinking, but not because I'm a smart Internet person who knows better than him, but because he puts it right there on the page. I agree with your assessment of Mac as a character, and I have no problem conceiving that she took the job promotion for any one of the reasons (or traits) you listed. My only problem is how and why the job was offered to her, and these points aren't debatable or open to interpretation, as written by Sorkin.

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I feel like I do know what Sorkin is thinking, but not because I'm a smart Internet person who knows better than him, but because he puts it right there on the page. I agree with your assessment of Mac as a character, and I have no problem conceiving that she took the job promotion for any one of the reasons (or traits) you listed. My only problem is how and why the job was offered to her, and these points aren't debatable or open to interpretation, as written by Sorkin.

Why does that one single thing matter so much?

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One line would have cleared up the announcement being a surprise. One freaking line. It could have been after the fact. But the look of surprise? Insulting, bizarre, and implausible. For all Leona knows, Mac plans to go on bedrest (not such a bad idea for first pregnancy at 43). Just saying.

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One line would have cleared up the announcement being a surprise. One freaking line. It could have been after the fact. But the look of surprise? Insulting, bizarre, and implausible. For all Leona knows, Mac plans to go on bedrest (not such a bad idea for first pregnancy at 43). Just saying.

I agree, but how do you know the conversation with Will wasn't meant to be what cleared that up? (Even if it failed.)

Edited by madam magpie

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We didn't see it. I can't comment on something we didn't see. She certainly looked damned surprised by the announcement. *by after the fact I meant after the decision made, but BEFORE the announcement, or AFTER the announcment letting US know she wasn't taken by surprise.

 

Instead, we saw her clearly taken by surprise. It's a good surprise, but still a surprise. Sorkin seems to think it's like a marriage proposal or something. (and even there some people hate to be surprised.)

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Why does that one single thing matter so much?

It matters in the sense that it's a pretty blatant example of Sorkin's sexist POV writing, that's all. And the fact that it's not the only example from this very episode, nor in past episodes, and that there's a separate thread devoted to this very topic, and this same criticism has been leveled against him throughout his entire career, tells me it's not a one-off.

Edited by LotusFlower
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It matters in the sense that it's a pretty blatant example of Sorkin's sexist POV writing, that's all. And the fact that it's not the only example from this very episode, nor in past episodes, and that there's a separate thread devoted to this very topic, and this same criticism has been leveled against him throughout his entire career, tells me it's not a one-off.

Why do the actions Sorkin wrote for Pruitt trump the ones he wrote for Mackenzie when it comes to interpreting this promotion?

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Why do the actions Sorkin wrote for Pruitt trump the ones he wrote for Mackenzie when it comes to interpreting this promotion?

I would say they're two different things. Pruitt's actions were sexist- we've established that, and Sorkin deliberately wrote it as such. Re: Mac, there's nothing sexist or wrong about a woman getting a promotion (of course), so all of her dialogue here was fine. Even if Mac seemed conflicted about the promotion for personal or career-related reasons, she never alluded to the WAY in how the job was offered to her. Nor did anyone, because in Sorkin's storytelling, there's no issue.

if I'm reading you right, you seem to be saying that Sorkin presented a sort of point/counter-point to the promotion. He didn't. Mac was offered the job in one way only. The way - not the actual job, but the way in which it was offered - was never debated or questioned.

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Was there any indication that Mac was anything but surprised by the announcement? That's the part I can't swallow. She should have known about it, and for her not to know, in this world, is just bizarre.

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I wouldn't say point-counterpoint, no, and I'd have liked more explanation about a lot of things. But I trust Mackenzie more as a character than I trust Pruitt, so I give more weight to her actions/dialogue/etc. when it comes to interpreting the story. For me, the sad ending and Mac's wariness when she was talking to Will made it seem like we weren't supposed to see the promotion as triumphant for her. It was more like she was taking one for the team so that they could all collectively live to fight another day, which I also wish had been different (I wanted our guys to win not just survive), but I don't see it as a sexist piece of writing. The only asshole/sexist was Pruitt, and we were meant to think that.

Edited by madam magpie
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I wouldn't say point-counterpoint, no, and I'd have liked more explanation about a lot of things. But I trust Mackenzie more as a character than I trust Pruitt, so I give more weight to her actions/dialogue/etc. when it comes to interpreting the story. For me, the sad ending and Mac's wariness when she was talking to Will made it seem like we weren't supposed to see the promotion as triumphant for her. It was more like she was taking one for the team so that they could all collectively live to fight another day, which I also wish had been different (I wanted our guys to win not just survive), but I don't see it as a sexist piece of writing. The only asshole/sexist was Pruitt, and we were meant to think that.

Sometimes inaction, or what people don't say, is just as relevant as what they do say. The fact that no one, including Mac, said anything about the sexist WAY in which she was promoted is the point I'm trying to make. I feel like you keep ignoring the way the promotion was played out, and instead skip to talking about how Mac may have felt about the job. I know you really like her as a character, and I do, too, and b/c of that you trust her and are interested in her dilemma, but that's separate from what I'm addressing.

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It's more that I don't care much about how she was promoted because I think it was a sloppy writing mistake that means nothing except Sorkin made an error. It doesn't affect my interpretation of the story at all.

Edited by madam magpie

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It's more that I don't care much about how she was promoted because I think it was a sloppy writing mistake that means nothing except Sorkin made an error. It doesn't affect my interpretation of the story at all.

That's exactly what Will said to Mac when she complained how hard the job would be - it doesn't matter how you got the job, all that matters is that you got the job. I would argue that's Sorkin's POV, because it was Will speaking, and because it's how he wrote the whole storyline. At least we can agree it was bad writing. I doubt Sorkin agrees, though.

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That's exactly what Will said to Mac when she complained how hard the job would be - it doesn't matter how you got the job, all that matters is that you got the job. I would argue that's Sorkin's POV, because it was Will speaking, and because it's how he wrote the whole storyline. At least we can agree it was bad writing. I doubt Sorkin agrees, though.

Well, I also agree with Will about that. I think what he said is the larger message, so that's probably another reason the clunky "how we got there" doesn't bother me so much. Sometimes things come to you in less-than-admirable ways. Move on, make it yours, don't let it define you, keep bailing water, you'll be great. I think Will gave Mackenzie good advice there. It's probably pretty much what I'd have said if she'd asked me. So if that's Sorkin speaking, I'm OK with that too. Mostly I think it was Will speaking, though.

Edited by madam magpie

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 She certainly looked damned surprised by the announcement. *by after the fact I meant after the decision made, but BEFORE the announcement, or AFTER the announcment letting US know she wasn't taken by surprise.

 

Has there been confirmation that Mac didn't know about her own promotion until Will announced it at the funeral? Or are we just assuming this because she looked surprised when Will announced it?

 

I mean, many have taken Will to task for shitty/inappropriate timing (it's a wake/reception...not really the place to make staffing announcements). Is it so difficult to believe that Mac was surprised by the timing of the announcement and not the announcement itself?

 

The fact that, when we saw Mac and Will talk about it afterwards, she didn't take him to task for announcing her new job before she'd even heard about it, implies to me that she had been offered and accepted the job when she spoke with Leona and Pruitt.

 

Do we really think that Mac wouldn't have given Will hell if she felt that he and Pruitt went over her head and basically hired her without even offering it to her first? I don't. I can't imagine her not blowing her top at him for such a paternalistic bullshit move. Since she instead sought him out to discuss her concerns about the WHY of the offer, I think the offer and her acceptance were done before Will made his announcement.

 

Also, when the funeral service was over Will was thinking that Mac should maybe spend the rest of her pregnancy in bed, so I can't imagine that, an hour later, he would hear of Pruitt's stress-filled job offer, basically accept it on Mac's behalf and then announce it to everyone. If he knew that she'd accepted, yes. But accepting the job for her (or assuming that she'd take it), no. With respect to Will - and I believe the show's writing will back me on this - he is utterly whipped by Mac. IMO there's no way he'd risk that level of her wrath... :)

Edited by NoWillToResist
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There's a lot of sexism in business. A LOT. If women in business turned down every job opportunity that came their way from a boss trying to fill a female quota or even a boss who thought they looked good in a skirt, many women I know would not have high-level jobs.

 

That's a perception, not a fact.  And that's a perception women fight because it doesn't help women to be perceived as getting opportunities only because they are pretty or quota hires.  Because the vast majority of women work hard and get to where they are because they're good at their jobs, but they are painted by that sexist perception anyway.  Sorkin does no favors by perpetuating that perception so carelessly and without dissenting commentary. 

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That's a perception, not a fact. And that's a perception women fight because it doesn't help women to be perceived as getting opportunities only because they are pretty or quota hires. Because the vast majority of women work hard and get to where they are because they're good at their jobs, but they are painted by that sexist perception anyway. Sorkin does no favors by perpetuating that perception so carelessly and without dissenting commentary.

Well, in the situations I was thinking of and know personally, at least one was fact; the others were the interpretation of the person involved. What those situations look like to the outside world is irrelevant to me. There's also that perception among the public yes. But to pretend that the fact doesn't exist for the sake of attacking the perception does its own disservice.

NoWillToResist: I interpreted it as Mac being surprised at the promotion, but your interpretation is absolutely reasonable, and makes more sense story-wise.

Edited by madam magpie

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Well, I also agree with Will about that. I think what he said is the larger message, so that's probably another reason the clunky "how we got there" doesn't bother me so much. Sometimes things come to you in less-than-admirable ways. Move on, make it yours, don't let it define you, keep bailing water, you'll be great. I think Will gave Mackenzie good advice there. It's probably pretty much what I'd have said if she'd asked me. So if that's Sorkin speaking, I'm OK with that too. Mostly I think it was Will speaking, though.

I guess I don't understand how the way Mac got her promotion can be an example of bad writing, an error, and then later deemed good advice by Will/Sorkin. To me, they're two sides of the same coin.

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Move on, make it yours, don't let it define you, keep bailing water, you'll be great.

I disagree with this generalization. It speaks of privilege. when one simply accepts something and moves on, when the thing is in some way a symptom of -ism, discrimination, less than desirable practices of a certain place, a symptom of a power play and tokenism, I take it as a responsibility to not simply accept the fact, but dig into the core of the issue. Of course, some people don't have this luxury when it comes to jobs (and other stuff). but if somehow one is in a position of taking charge and demanding explanations (for lack of a better word), then this person should do that. It is not helpful to keep quiet when facing -isms.

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I guess I don't understand how the way Mac got her promotion can be an example of bad writing, an error, and then later deemed good advice by Will/Sorkin. To me, they're two sides of the same coin.

 

Without wading into the history of this argument, I don't see a disconnect because I see those as two separate things. Dickhead CEO is having a sexism PR nightmare; in an attempt to cover his ass, he promotes a woman he'd rather fire. That sucks since the woman is actually capable of doing the job yet it's not why she was given the job. Sure, S3 could have skipped over all this Pruitt nonsense and just have Charlie die anyway, allowing Mac to have the job offer without it being a PR move, but I guess Sorkin wanted to merge his 'new media is shit' story with everyone's jobs shifting and this is what he chose to do.

 

That said, I do agree with Will; while she may hate WHY she got the job, she can kick its ass and show that she deserved the job regardless of her gender. Fight the system from within and all that...

 

I guess it's kind of like that old adage about not looking a gift horse in the mouth?

I disagree with this generalization. It speaks of privilege. when one simply accepts something and moves on, when the thing is in some way a symptom of -ism, discrimination, less than desirable practices of a certain place, a symptom of a power play and tokenism, I take it as a responsibility to not simply accept the fact, but dig into the core of the issue. Of course, some people don't have this luxury when it comes to jobs (and other stuff). but if somehow one is in a position of taking charge and demanding explanations (for lack of a better word), then this person should do that. It is not helpful to keep quiet when facing -isms.

 

I think an argument could be made that Mac accepting the job and being awesome at it will be a teaching moment for Pruitt, if you will. He's apparently used to women being used for decoration; with Mac in a position of power she actually might be able to effect change. I think that was Will's point. Use Pruitt's stupid PR move to THEIR advantage...after all, what benefit is there for her turn it down? Does it help her? ACN? Future female hires?

 

Leona managed to tell him flat out that he had a PR problem because HE had a problem. He listened enough to appoint Mac. That's a start, IMO.

Edited by NoWillToResist
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I guess I don't understand how the way Mac got her promotion can be an example of bad writing, an error, and then later deemed good advice by Will/Sorkin. To me, they're two sides of the same coin.

For me, they're two separate things. The fact that Pruitt promoted Mackenzie as a means of solving his PR problem, she was concerned about it, and Will said "who cares how you got it, make it yours" is one cohesive story. I get it, it makes sense within the narrative, and I agree with Will's advice. I feel Ike I understand the point of that series of events.

The second issue--that Pruitt said something to Will that looked like Mac might not have even known about the promotion, and then Will made an announcement--was bizarre. I don't get it, don't see how it fits with the narrative, and think it was a storytelling mistake wherein Sorkin chopped up his script for the sake of time. It confuses me, and I don't know what the point was, or even if I know what happened.

Edited by madam magpie

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I think an argument could be made that Mac accepting the job and being awesome at it will be a teaching moment for Pruitt, if you will.

See, that's why I said it is about privilege. Yes, Mac can certainly go for the "change from the inside", although I don't believe in that, but ok. But if she can change it from the inside, why not start by changing it before she gets inside. She has this privilege that some people in the same situation maybe would not have. 

In my experience as an observer, when someone gets inside, they either comply or become tokens. I don't really see many people trying to change things to change the culture of places (assuming that said culture has been harmful to not white male category)

The one exception I can see, in part because I don't know all the dealings, is Elizabeth Warren not being quiet. That's the only one 

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I think an argument could be made that Mac accepting the job and being awesome at it will be a teaching moment for Pruitt, if you will.

I strongly disagree with this, and I feel it's almost offensive to women to appoint them to positions of power just to teach a man a lesson. Mac is not Pruitt's mother, or his teacher, or mentor. Real equality means being treated as an equal. If she was hired to do a job, then her responsibilty is to her job, not to any teachable moment for her boss.

Speaking of responsibility, I agree with alexvillage on Mac's promotion and Will's patronizing "who cares how you got it" piece of advice. I think Mac very much cares how she got it. In fact, that's why I always liked the character - she was always someone who cared about these kinds of things. She took a stand when others shrugged, or said something wasn't important. She felt a responsibilty to fight the "-ism," as alexvillage put it. So it's not so much that I disagree with Will's advice to take the job under any circumstances (I do, but that's another subject), but that it's so clearly inconsistent with her character.

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Mac has been shown as willing to take responsibility for the group, though. I don't think she took the job because she wanted it necessarily; I think she did it to keep their team intact and put herself between Pruitt and the newsroom. She'll take the hits (bailing water), and they can all do the news their way...we hope...because she won't bend to Pruitt. My guess would be, and it's only a guess based on her past behavior, that she'd think she would be the best person to do that. Doing "the news" has always been Mac's primary concern. If taking a job that was given to her under sexist pretense will allow her team to do that, so be it.

Edited by madam magpie

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The second issue--that Pruitt said something to Will that looked like Mac might not have even known about the promotion, and then Will made an announcement--was bizarre. I don't get it, don't see how it fits with the narrative, and think it was a storytelling mistake wherein Sorkin chopped up his script for the sake of time. It confuses me, and I don't know what the point was, or even if I know what happened.

It really isn't bizarre in Sorkin's writing. He does a lot of sort of sappy endings. In his mind, he really doesn't get that Mac hearing about her promotion in the way that she did was maybe not ideal. In fact - quite the opposite. Mac kept pressing Will to say something to the gathered masses (which was weird, but ok), and so he did, and in the midst of saying something poignant about Charlie, he also made the surprise announcement about Mac. Because it was the series finale, it was meant to be a sweet moment, something nice for Mac, as well as for everyone else, not only because she was so well-liked, but it meant continuity at the network. Sorkin's a grand idealist, and this was his ideal ending - everyone stays put, and everyone's happy.

Mac has been shown as willing to take responsibility for the group, though. I don't think she took the job because she wanted it necessarily; I think she did it to keep their team intact and put herself between Pruitt and the newsroom. She'll take the hits (bailing water), and they can all do the news their way...we hope...because she won't bend to Pruitt. My guess would be, and it's only a guess based on her past behavior, that she'd think she would be the best person to do that. Doing "the news" has always been Mac's primary concern. If taking a job that was given to her under sexist pretense will allow her team to do that, so be it.

I agree with all of this except the last line. I think she's too principled to do this.

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