Monday, October 02, 2006

'Studio 60': Lessons Learned?

Did Aaron Sorkin finally realize that singling out Christians for mockery on his new show wasn't fair (or particularly brave)? We did criticize him pretty severely for his two-dimensional stereotyping of Christians in the opening show, and again, when he expanded on the slurs in "Studio 60"'s second week.

This time, "Studio 60" featured a skit on this show about a show that mocked not only Christians, but also "Meir Kahane" Jews, the Taliban, Tom Cruise the Scientologist, and a witch. They were all contestants in a skit about a show that denies science. This is certainly an improvement compared to singling out one religion. But does it mean that Sorkin and his writers are responding to critics?

Probably not; as L. Brent Bozell wrote in The National Ledger after the first "Studio 60" episode, Sorkin has a real personal hangup about religion, any religion:

While Sorkin has an obvious problem with Christianity, it's actually broader than that. He thinks religion in general is bunk. In 2002, he told a crowd at the Sinai Temple in Los Angeles that "I was turned off on religion." The rabbi interviewing him asked him if he believed in God. He said he viewed the wide array of religions as "many fairytales" that "seem hardly to be doing what they intended." For Sorkin, spirituality was "a meditative thing that has to do with helping others and not waiting for it to come from a divine source."
A man who created his own fantasy world (The West Wing) should be careful about accusing others of believing in fairy tales.

This is all a damn shame, because somewhere inside "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" is a really great show struggling to escape its creator's prejudices.