Right as the rain

Naive realism is a negative wish-fulfillment.

*

The latest episode of “The Newsroom” has come under criticism. In the main, the critics reflect (and their criticism exhibits) the assumption that the fictional program is a direct expression of Aaron Sorkin’s opinion on whatever topic/issue is addressed in the narrative. To those critics, I would ask:

When characters express opposed opinions in scenes, how do you know which one is Mr Sorkin’s? If they are all Mr Sorkin’s, then he would rightly be diagnosed with DID (as would all writers).

From a literary-critical perspective, this variety of cultural criticism — the predominant form that popular cultural criticism takes today — is intellectually deficient. It is wrongheaded to reduce the “narrative” to the “author’s opinion.” This typically occurs when the “narrator” is assumed to be the author’s voice or when all stories are assumed to be autobiographical. However, the insistence on this lazy reduction does serve journalistic purposes (as clickbait) and political purposes (as a shaming device).

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