West Wing tv series, bourgeois wank or worthy response to Ed Murrow's example?
Topic: big media
My quest: What is WW? Is it really good (in no particular order: educational, moving, wise, appealing, entertaining) or stupid and fake? It’s created a frisson ....The answer to the questions above is “yes” thankfully for such an investment of time, with some tricks in their tv trade worth noting, and some constructive criticism too.
First published 1st January 2007 on
a 'frisson' for USA nuke silos here?
by author of string Tuesday January 02, 2007 at 11:46 AM
First a correction: WW is about 40 minutes long per episode not 1 hour.
Secondly, we have this cute word "frisson" popping up last night on abc tv prime time news last night or was it 7.30 Report (I don't remember) as if someone gives a damn about my MIM piece here. Perhaps just a coincidence from my use of the unusual word above then into the media darwinian jungle/melting pot.
Also I was gratified to notice my presience regarding this paragraph of mine near the end of the main post:
a decorated World War 2 correspondent at the liberation of Buchenwald, who flew in bombing raids, who reported from London in the Blitz and then famous tv broadcaster agree with covert assassination, even of a terrorist diplomat? I wonder. How can secret killing ever be justified?
That’s the trouble with self defence built on economic fascism as outlined in Syrianna: It’s a descending vortex of cruel self reinforcing violence."
Indeed this huge moral question i discuss is picked up pretty early in the 5th series by the script writers, at
In the show we have these full on (in fact so profound its worth noting commencing at 20 min 20 sec) , quotes about the USA modus operandi in foreign policy (the show was broadcast on Oct 1 2003, say 6 months after the Iraq war):
delivered by fictional Pres Bartlet to chief of Staff McGarry
"It’s about our allowing situations to develop in countries like this in the first place. We choose the order and certainty of petty despots over the uncertainty and chaos of developing democracies …..”
And then quoting Dr Martin Luther King (as if both characters had met the 39 year old civil rights lawyer personally before he was gunned down in 1968
“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, returning violence with violence only multiplies violence adding deeper darkeness to a night already devoid of stars ….I’m part of that darkness now. When did that happen?”
And surely we are indeed in that geopolitical night in Iraq, Palestine, Africa. There are no horrors mankind is not capable of.
Fictional McGarry, who is the vietnam veteran airforce pilot
(who is compromised by a recent briefing, that unbeknownst 30 years earlier that McGarry killed 11 Viet civillians unintentionally when he bombed a dam wall as per instructions, in 'War Crimes' episode 49 broadcast Nov. 7 2001 which is 2 months after Sept 11, bombing with planes full of hostages of the WTC, a war crime like so many others).
responds to the Bartlet soliliquy above leaning on King's advice by saying:
'Dr King wasn't wrong he just didn’t have your job'
Elsewhere in the show McGarry points out the President’s problem is he ‘won’, meaning the election i.e. it goes with the job.
Consider however in the series 1 trailer for the show, actor Martin Sheen says there are plenty of things in series 2 and perhaps 3 that he greatly dislikes about his character, that he is a pacifist and environmentalist off screen unlike the character he plays.
These issues of violence and democracy seem reinforced somehow with this particular episodes heavy base and melodic soundtrack so familiar to the Thin Red Line movie soundtrack by Hans Zimmer: TRL again with Clooney in the cast briefly with idealists Sean Penn etc.
(A movie essentially about refusing an order in grossly violent ww2 Guadalcanal campaign, the essence of democracy in fact, but same informed defiance leading to victory over the ruthless Japanese army, in short democracy winning over totalitarianism for its lack of diversity. Quite profound movie adding to the genre here.)
There are lessons for Australia from this world of fiction and art in WW so well breifed by such as Dee Dee Myers of the actual Clinton administration as per the credits:
It would be a wise ally in a country like Australia to understand that 1st priority of the USA in all cases is the USA including breach of international law where arguably forced to.
This puts Australia’s situation a long way second despite all the flattery and mutual back slapping Australia America Leadership Dialogues petting of prominent professionals in the provinces here of Modern Rome (I’m thinking folks like Maxine McKew, or that sacked abc radio presenter Sally Loane).
Say for instance using Australia as a dumping ground for USA nuke waste, but just as likely or in parallel nuclear military silos. USA interest first, Australia interest way second.
Indeed in another episode, #90 entitled ‘Han’ about North Korea piano defector, broadcast only 2 episodes later Oct 22nd 2003, press secretary character CJ refers to North Korea having the ability to nuke Australia, with same McGarry character like this (at 1 minute into the show proper):
CJ: “You [North Korea[ could obliterate Australia but you are still just a punk”
McGarry: “Good opener, use that”
[said in gentle sarcastic way as they go to meet the NK piano player and his two govt minders in uniform]
Remember this show is broadcast back in late 2003 and this script is generated and broadcast in Modern Rome to the gratification and entertainment of the whole USA govt sector right and left. The general context of the script is nuke negotiations with North Korea that fail.
It is quite clear what the popular perception in the USA of what Australia’s role should be regarding North Korea here (just like Chile should do what its told in 1973 in the Cold War?):
Australia, at primary risk like Seoul/South Korea from demented North Korea, and therefore a pawn in Modern Rome’s geopolitik, whether we in Australia actually agree or not to being positioned in that way, say at the next federal election where we vote Rudd or Howard, or is there any difference between them, on USA nuke silos here?
I wonder. Demonstrably Rudd is against nuke power, so is that the subtext really between the federal ALP and federal Coalition - uneconomic nuke power but really national interest on nuke weapon silos on 'USS aircraft carrier Australia'.
Or, or perhaps additionally, is nuke power simply Howard's craven admission clean coal' is 'a joke PR term' of the coal industry (which is the view of another episode broadcast fully 3 years ago to the govt sector in Modern Rome # 93 "Constituency of One" broadcast around the same period Oct 29, 2003.
You really start to notice we are in the provinces of Modern Rome with all this 3 year time delay on stuff affecting us in Australia 2007.
Garrett MP gets it for all his slick sellout?
I did a deep sledge of Peter Garrett on MIM before Christmas but I give him credit for this column, which truth to be told is Fairfax's way, green ink graphic and all, of positioning PG as the moderate environmental candidate to shove more radical Bob Brown machine aside as much as possible:
Most of it is in there: waste, terrorism risk, uneconomic, international waste dump.
He doesn't mention nuke weapons silos but I feel sure its behind Howard's enthusiasm via covert deal with Bush regime, eh? To lay off the AWB oversight farce, eh? That cost us alot in sovereignty eh?
Which in an indy media sense reinforces the great need for an independent pro green/Green mainstream press. And for that requires a platform of decent distribution. It all comes down to distribution capacity (or not as in the case of sorry arse offline Sydney indymedia at the moment for some 3 weeks).
Posted by editor
at 8:56 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 24 January 2007 11:11 AM EADT