Really great Terry Gross interview of Aaron Sorkin from last weekend. Key quote (emphasis is mine):
“I think that the critics and the audience who are reacting as hostilely to the show as they are, part of the reason is because they think that I’m showing off an intellect and an erudition that I don’t have,” says Sorkin. “I’m not pretending to have it. I know that I don’t have it. I phonetically create the sound of smart people talking to each other. I’m not one of them. The characters I create would have no use for me.”
So, for Sorkin, given what I’m sure is at least slightly above average awareness of the news and obviously strong political beliefs, creating compelling characters seems more about trial/error and taste as opposed to having deep knowledge of the subject matter.
Oh, Foreign Policy. Not the most original, but that is a superb lede. It doesn’t make up for the sensationalist/establishmentarian hole you’ve been digging for yourself, but credit should go where credit is due. Bravo.
~Dilma Rousseff, President, Brazil.
Now that is vision.
Burt Glass and the great people over at Hairpin Communications are like drill sergeants for the rabble rouser’s soul.
A 2008 essay from the Results for Development Institute’s Dennis de Tray, revised earlier this year:
A key to giving countries the time they need to develop is allowing people to see their government begin to function. What the international community needs to do is to help nurture this critical relationship. Unfortunately they often do quite the opposite.
Donors talk a good capacity building game, but do they put their money where their mouths are? In this essay, I argue that a combination of wrong incentives, wrong institutional models, wrong time frames, and wrong capacity problem puts donors in the capacity stripping business in the short term, and most egregiously in countries that can least afford it…
For development, alongside how, there’s also who.
A story isn’t a policy. But that simple narrative — and the policies that would naturally have flowed from it — would have inoculated against much of what was to come in the intervening two and a half years of failed government, idled factories and idled hands. That story would have made clear that the president understood that the American people had given Democrats the presidency and majorities in both houses of Congress to fix the mess the Republicans and Wall Street had made of the country, and that this would not be a power-sharing arrangement. It would have made clear that the problem wasn’t tax-and-spend liberalism or the deficit — a deficit that didn’t exist until George W. Bush gave nearly $2 trillion in tax breaks largely to the wealthiest Americans and squandered $1 trillion in two wars.
And perhaps most important, it would have offered a clear, compelling alternative to the dominant narrative of the right, that our problem is not due to spending on things like the pensions of firefighters, but to the fact that those who can afford to buy influence are rewriting the rules so they can cut themselves progressively larger slices of the American pie while paying less of their fair share for it.
But there was no story — and there has been none since.