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Post 0

Monday, February 28, 2005 - 8:56pmSanction this postReply
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Was it just an unintended irony that Martin Sheen and an article In Praise of Contempt appeared on the front page together?

I think we should be told. :-)




Post 1

Monday, February 28, 2005 - 9:14pmSanction this postReply
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I strongly agree with Michael. This is one of the very few intelligent, in-focus programs on the "boob tube" with earnest, hard-working, likable people. There are many people to like on this show.

Great cast. Great dialogue. Interesting situations and plots. One of the few things on t.v. that doesn't seem to have been written by a four year old for a retard.

And, no, it's not a 'liberal' show and it's not essentially or primarily about politics.

I've seen a scattering of episodes across several years and have yet to see a bad one.





Post 2

Tuesday, March 1, 2005 - 1:28amSanction this postReply
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I have never been able to watch this show for more than 10 minutes. I think the plot lines are completely phony and the acting is very hamy. I cannot imagine that the "real"west wing is anything like this. And I don't find the fictional version entertaining or enlightening.

"Watching the entire first season on DVD, I had to laugh at the apparently "liberal" message from 1999 that social security will be bankrupt by 2013."

Funny you should mention this. I saw that in Oxford there is to be a discussion this week held by the "US democrats in Oxford" over Bushes plans to privatize social security. Can anyone tell me what Bushes supposed "privatization" plans are?




Post 3

Tuesday, March 1, 2005 - 10:28amSanction this postReply
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This show is an example of the worst on TV today. It takes all the slogans and ideas of statist liberalism as unquestioned gospel--treats them as nonpartisan common sense--and uses them as background and final moral reference point. Now and then, a representative of the correct viewpoint is given a chance to say something can make a few good arguments, but that person always gets roundly trumped with a rhetorically effective rejoinder based upon the premises of statism.

 

Martin Sheen was once asked about the show's always hawking the statist-liberal line, and do you know what he said? He said the show does not take sides, but merely adopts positions that any reasonable person would.

 

It's the most offensive show on the air.




Post 4

Tuesday, March 1, 2005 - 11:15amSanction this postReply
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Notice that the last two posters only comment on [what they take to be] the politics of the show.

Except, in part, for Marcus who has only seen ten minutes and whose comments are therefore not informed ones: If you haven't seen an entire show, you are *not* qualified to review it or to advise others about it!

Not every show, every person, every plot or subplot is fully revealed in ten minutes.

Nor is a comment about its alleged politics fully adequate as a *review* of the show. People too often just shut down and turn a deaf ear to anything when they disagree on some aspect of the politics.

And the ludicrous thing about it is that any liberalism in this show (and there is a lot of conservatism and even some libertarianism eloquently expressed) is of the most mild variety.

If that turns you off you will have to stop reading, watching any t.v. or movies that is not 'pure'. Good luck finding it!!

You probably wouldn't have liked the superb movie "The China Syndrome" because a number of lines were anti-nuclear power.

Phil



Post 5

Tuesday, March 1, 2005 - 11:25amSanction this postReply
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"Now and then, a representative of the correct viewpoint is given a chance to say something can make a few good arguments, but that person always gets roundly trumped with a rhetorically effective rejoinder based upon the premises of statism."

Rodney, here is an example of a libertarian or anti-statist line from the show... Josh, sarcastically, "What I don't get about you supposedly small government Republicans, you want a government that is just small enough to fit in people's bedrooms."

Great line.



Post 6

Tuesday, March 1, 2005 - 11:32amSanction this postReply
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I rest my case. (No pun intended.)



Post 7

Tuesday, March 1, 2005 - 11:34amSanction this postReply
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socialist propraganda



Post 8

Tuesday, March 1, 2005 - 11:44amSanction this postReply
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"Except, in part, for Marcus who has only seen ten minutes and whose comments are therefore not informed ones: If you haven't seen an entire show, you are *not* qualified to review it or to advise others about it!"

Ha! I am qualified to give my own opinion as I see fit, especially as I volunteered the information that I have never seen more than ten minutes of the show at any one time.

This show just makes me cringe.

Not surprising taking into consideration that Martin Sheen was supporting loser Dean in the presidential primaries. I remember him explicitly saying that "Dean has the same qualities as Bartlet". What a moron!






Post 9

Tuesday, March 1, 2005 - 2:38pmSanction this postReply
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Would you respect a review of Atlas Shrugged where the reviewer said "I just hated it - I read the first eight pages and I knew it was crap!"

They are entitled to their opinions, right?




Post 10

Tuesday, March 1, 2005 - 2:51pmSanction this postReply
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Damn Lee,

That was a good zinger!

Ethan

PS I don't like the West Wing :-)




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Post 11

Tuesday, March 1, 2005 - 2:57pmSanction this postReply
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"They are entitled to their opinions, right?"

Correct! You've got it! :-)




Post 12

Tuesday, March 1, 2005 - 3:06pmSanction this postReply
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I think Marcus hit the nail on the head without stating it directly. "They are entitled to their opinions" but you're not required to "respect" that opinion.

Ethan




Post 13

Tuesday, March 1, 2005 - 2:28pmSanction this postReply
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I suppose everyone has some amount of bigotry or prejudice in them; for me, I carefully save up all of my prejudicial sentiments and spend them all on Martin Sheen, refusing to watch anything he is involved with.



Post 14

Wednesday, March 2, 2005 - 12:17amSanction this postReply
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Phil wrote:

"You probably wouldn't have liked the superb movie "The China Syndrome" because a number of lines were anti-nuclear power."

I didn't like the China Syndrome because it was based on utter scientific bullshit. Even when Chernobyl went rogue the reactor core didn't burn its way through the Earth's crust, through the core of the planet and pop out again in China.
Most of the other people on this thread didn't like the West Wing because it is based on utter political bullshit and fronted by a Leftie-stooge.

And I suspect that your opponents are intelligent enough to detect these problems within 10 minutes of watching this crap. I know I am! 

Tell you what. Stick the barrel of a loaded gun to your head and pull the trigger. I think it would be a bad thing, but you should ignore my advice and my reasoning because I'm "*not* qualified to review it or to advise others about it" having never done it myself.

You know you are allowed to step back and analyse the facts without having to test every possible combination first. I seem to remember a debate about the evils of empiricism somewhere in the recent past...




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Post 15

Wednesday, March 2, 2005 - 1:14amSanction this postReply
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The White House Myth via NBC's The West Wing

[Wednesday, January 24, 2001 7:50:20 PM]

 

Tibor R. Machan

 

      NBC-TV's Wednesday 9 PM--i.e., prime time--program is The West Wing, a soap opera about the White House occupied by a Liberal Democratic president and his dedicated, earnest staff of big government enthusiast.  It is a well done, rapid fire, constantly moving show.  Its central purpose seems to be to entertain viewer--and to convince them that Liberal Democrats are the compassionate, humane, sincere and patriotic people Liberal Democrats wish to be known as. 

      I do not like this show--well not its central thrust, though some scenes are touching and even poignant--but it is undoubtedly "must see TV" for anyone with inclinations toward the study of American political culture.  Not because it is realistic in how it depicts Democratic administrations--although, to be sure, there are probably some among Democrats who sometimes feel all the sentiments that are so insistently depicted as everyone's stock in trade in a Liberal Democratic White House. It is "must see TV" because it captures very well what Liberal democrats consider most important in politics.  Never mind that most of them probably have few of the sentiments they like to think they have.  They probably like power for power's sake. (Well, that is what I think in my more cynical moments.  At other times I just think Liberal Democrats are intelligent fools.)

      On this program, in particular, everyone agrees with Toby, the ideological guru of the Administration.  He believes with great passion and really deep earnestness that government is "where people ought to come together to do good."  Never mind that President Martin Sheen--and he is even more type cast than Kevin Kline was as Dave or Michael Douglas as The President--has also exclaimed that people harbor incredible potential. No one seems to notice that if that is so, government isn't needed as our relentless paternal guide.

      And indeed, that is the point; the most important attribute of all these folks, who believe government to be the agent of goodness in society, is their earnestness, their feelings of seriousness about their paternalistic mission. They feel all the pain in society and government must be the remedy, period.

      In this respect The West Wing is quite realistic.  What Liberal Democrats embrace most loyally--when they aren't craving power--is the idea that one must mean well, that in government it is the thought--or rather the feeling--that counts for most. Never mind that nearly all the missionary measures Liberal Democrats deploy to give vent to their earnest feelings, their humanity and compassion toward the poor and the needy, undermines the very thing they are supposedly concerned with.  This is to help people flourish in their lives.

      As Charles Murray showed in his book Losing Ground, the effort to help the poor and needy via government undermines the poor and the needy, renders them nearly helpless, wholly dependent upon the provisions government designates for them.  Like the proverbial nephew who is taken care of no matter what he does, because the family feels for him, the people helped by government tend, in the main, to learn that their own initiative is dispensable in life.  Others will take care of them, so why bother with figuring out how to take care of oneself? 

      Necessity is, as the cliché tells us, the mother of invention.  And the poor and helpless need to become inventive in order to escape their lot not just for a month or year but their lifetimes.  That is just what they will never learn if they are treated not as persons with great potential but as just the permanently poor and needy.

      We know that there are those in the human race who succeed against great odds.  This happens when they aren't always bailed out but have to come up with ways to overcome their adversities.  Yes, a little help from one's friends is useful in a pinch because that way it does not promise endless care-taking. 

      But the Liberal Democratic vision of a government, via its legislation and regulation, enshrines the doctrine of paternalism and thus communicates to all those in need of support that this support is now guaranteed.  And that is bad for people, however earnest, humane and compassionate the feelings of those who champion such politics.

      The West Wing tries hard to show that everyone in favor of more and more government involvement in society is good hearted.  Even if this were true in real life, it would not be good enough.  Human beings should not be treated as children when they are no longer children.  And Liberal Democrats do not know this.  Even if they aren't motivated by the love of power, as I am reasonably sure many are, their best motivations are bad for the country.  Government isn't supposed to be where good is done--it is the society where that is supposed to happen.  Government is supposed to secure our rights so we can do good on our own.




Post 16

Wednesday, March 2, 2005 - 8:14amSanction this postReply
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"The West Wing tries hard to show that everyone in favor of more and more government involvement in society is good hearted."

Tibor, then how do you explain the many episodes where the less-government argument is given full play and left unanswered? It is made to same logical, reasonable, and compelling. I've seen this more than once.

Or the ones about a personal crisis or problem (or a military or terrorist crisis) in which there is *no* liberal or conservative topic whatsoever?

I've seen both kinds of episodes. It's a mistake to fixate on only the ones that anger you..and not the ones that inspire or are poignant, as you put it.

I would suggest that the latter are by far the more predominant ones, at least from my sampling.

For example: Alan Alda, Republican candidate for President, is the counter to Jimmy Smits in recent episodes ...and he and his small government views are given full play and great respect.

He is treated with great admiration and respect by the writers.

I think you (and the other posters) are missing a lot in this program.

And you are not being fair to the actual show.

Again, I'll just point out this out one final time and then drop it:

At least Tibor believes the program is nothing more than an attempt to whitewash liberalism [it isn't], so he has some reason to not like it.

But the other posters apparently won't like -any- show which to whatever degree disagrees with their politics, even if the show is about character, integrity, honesty.

THAT is what "The West Wing" is about.

Sorry you guys missed it!!





Post 17

Wednesday, March 2, 2005 - 3:21pmSanction this postReply
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Tibor Machan wrote: "Its central purpose seems to be to entertain viewer--and to convince them that Liberal Democrats are the compassionate, humane, sincere and patriotic people Liberal Democrats wish to be known as.  I do not like this show..."
 
Tibor, I warned you in the beginning about that.  You see, Victor Hugo's greatest novel sucked swampwater because it shilled for the savages who passed themselves off as The French Revolution.  Of course, Emma Orczy's Percy Blakeney was heroically saving traitors to that republic who were only reaping what they had sowed. 
 
Everyone always likes The Avengers.  Why?  They were just unrestrained and violent civil servants lashing out at anything that disturbed their decadent welfare state. 
 
Romantic Film Festivals for Students of Objectivism often play Treasure of the Sierra Madre.  The old guy makes them replant the trees they tore out, to heal the Earth they damaged.  Was that liberal rain forest tree hugging? 
 
Tibor, you have to abstract away the irrelevant in order to form a concept. 
 
Wherever I have worked, in the private sector or in the public sector, I have always been the only guy who wanted to work a 20-hour day because I thought that what we were doing mattered.  So, I like The West Wing.  That the show was produced and sold proves that people like me do exist. 
 




Post 18

Wednesday, March 2, 2005 - 9:09pmSanction this postReply
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In all this hubba hubba about this show, finally decided to sit down this eve and watch it - never having watched it before because am NOT a fan of what's-his-name who plays Bartlett the prez.  But - will admit tonight's episode was interesting - had an old Japanese economist, who split the Nobel prize with Bartlett years ago, and, of course, is on the opposite political/economical line than Bartlett - enough, twas said, to make Milton Friedman look like a midddle of the road!!!! THAT was funny! But it was true, each commenting made by each was making a good showing that the Keynsian mindset of Bartlett was not good [tho do bet, like it was with 'all in the family', on the other side, the jestering was taken as gospel, not as reprobating].  Further, the show had a group of kids, intelligent ones, who made an excellent presentation for not just lowering the voting age, but abolishing it! To say the least, an intriguing thought.  So, despite the presence of Sheen, did think the show was worth, at least that one, watching. But - judging from the commentings made on this thread, am presuming I lucked out and saw one of the three really good ones made, huh.  In which case, will not press my luck and forgo seeing furthers.



Post 19

Thursday, March 3, 2005 - 6:55amSanction this postReply
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The question is, how do we judge our entertainment? If we were to construct a rubric by which to measure a television show, what weight would we give to ideology vs dialogue vs plot vs acting?

I cannot divorce malevolent ideology from the rest. Yes I admire the work ethic of the characters but what are they working for? To what purpose is this effort (and good script) put? If the purpose sucks (which to me it does) then I don't watch.

John



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