Monday, July 23, 2012

Watch Your Mouth

"We waged wars on poverty, not poor people."

A loyal reader sent this video clip to me. You may have seen it. I'm sure it's making the rounds. It's from a new series on HBO -- The Newsroom. I'll say it again -- it's HBO so there is strong language. But it's brilliant language. When I finished watching it, I tracked the video down and found out it came from HBO and then noticed it was written by Aaron Sorkin -- the genius that gave us the series The West Wing.

Two notes of interest (because, hey, it's me and I can't help myself):

1) The "war of poverty" was part of the Great Society program from Lyndon Johnson. I'll address the arguments about its failures on some other day. I think it important to remember its successes.

"In the decade following the 1964 introduction of the war on poverty, poverty rates in the U.S. dropped to their lowest level since comprehensive records began in 1958: from 17.3% in the year the Economic Opportunity Act was implemented to 11.1% in 1973. They have remained between 11 and 15.2% ever since."

2) My family bought the entire series of The West Wing on DVD as a Christmas present for me. We watch one episode a week. I am absolutely stunned and amazed at how relevant the series still is -- 13 years after it started. I mention it because I'm going to go out on a limb and say Aaron Sorkin still has that magic ability to grasp what is relevant to us in the long term. You might want to think on this clip a little harder. I don't want you to see this clip thirteen years from now and say "Oh, now I get it." I want you to get it now.

You might want to go back and watch it again. There are at least a dozen great lines in it. I hope you'll try to remember one or two.

"We aspired to intelligence. We didn't belittle it."

Don Brown
July 23, 2012

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