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Desc:'It's not.'
Category:Classic TV Clips
Tags:america, Liberals, conservatives, The Newsroom, moral masturbation
Submitted:Change
Date:06/27/12
Views:1255
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Comment count is 44
Hooker
Yeah, that was pretty lame. And I'm Canadian.
John Holmes Motherfucker
Canadian? Well, then no wonder you think it's lame. Canadians are probably allowed to say that out loud. I've never heard anyone say this on TV, EVER, and I'm very old. Yeah, I know, people don't really talk like that. They don't talk in iambic pentameter, either.

John Holmes Motherfucker
It annoyed me that Sorkin put his question: "Why is America the greatest country in the world?" in the mouth of a cute blonde college student named Jenny.

Objectively, I think it was a damned good question. It prompted a hard look at this huge article of national faith, but we were manipulated into thinking it was stupid because it came from Jenny.

If it had been a black woman or a muslim or even a white male student asking the same exact question in the same exact words, it wouldn't have seemed stupid at all. It would have seemed like a challenge. Sorkin exploited our prejudice to drive home his point about "Greatest country in the world" being unquestioned national dogma. Because she's a pretty blonde milk white maiden , who even flubbed the question a little, we can all assume that she's not actually questioning the dogma, she's not smart enough for that. She's just asking the nice media figureheads to reinforce her beliefs.

So the Jeff Daniels character can browbeat her about her crappy generation, and everybody can be extra shocked by his answer.

Am I making my point? I hate this shit in movies. Two guys want to date julia Roberts, but we know which guy for is really meant for her because he has better hair. I'm working on a theory that the world isn't really like this.

The thing is, it's still a classic scene. I'm not yet convinced that America isn't the greatest nation on earth. After all, we've got Aretha Franklin; but it would be nice if we could consider the possibility. True or not, America becomes a better nation when people can say that it's not the greatest ever. Whatever that means.
Hooker
"Objectively, I think..." :facepalm:

"...it was a damned good question." :doublefacepalm:

jangbones
is John Holmes Motherfucker actually Aaron Sorkin?

John Holmes Motherfucker
If you were here with me right now, you'd get a TRIPLE facepalm!

"Objectively" means taking the question itself, separate from the blonde college student. Separate from the loaded questioner, I think it's a good question.

John Holmes Motherfucker
Can jangbones actually read? Look, it's not that I love Sorkin so much, it's that I love poking holes in your snotty sense of superioriity.

Hooker
How old did you say you were, John?

SolRo
there are plenty of dumb republicans that ask easy questions like that during presidential races, so it's pretty accurate to have the stereotypical ideal of a republican woman (white/blonde) asking it.

John Holmes Motherfucker
I'm 75. And you're 13?

Blue
She looks a lot like this girl I saw that had stars and stripes facepaint on 9 fucking 12.

Riskbreaker
Oh boy, the people at pajamasmedia are going to have a field day with this. LIBERAL HOLLYWOOD TV QUESTIONING THE GREATNESS OF OUR COUNTRY
Scrotum H. Vainglorious
I take it Sorkin had some TFL trouble with the ladies prior to making it big in Hollywood and now it's payback time?
FABIO
The whole relationship between the young chick and dorky glasses guy in Sports Night encompasses that feeling. Their arc seemed to alternate between her announcing loudly to everyone that she's fucking him, and him getting to act self-righteous whenever she wronged him (she'd eventually crawl back begging him to fuck her).

God I hated that show.

cognitivedissonance
I think my main annoyance is that this is what mainstream type people think "challenging, important critique" is. I'm starting to wonder if we'll ever see it again.
Bort
Let me get this straight: it's ignorant to think the US is the greatest country in the world, but it's not ignorant to think there was some golden age when it was?

Okay, Sorkin, I'll play your game. This magical time couldn't have been during the period of slavery, or the 100 years of Jim Crow following that; whatever good one could say about America, there was still this whole legalized brutality that undercut any claims to greatness. Nor could it have been during the Vietnam War, when the US was practicing a reprehensible foreign policy. The Reagan years and the period following them have seen the rise of a Republican Party actively trying to disenfranchise half the country, and if you want to talk about the demonization of intelligence and education, look no further. So I think we've narrowed down this golden age to about a week and a half during the Carter years, did I crack the code?

A slightly more reasonable answer to the question -- and I'm no Sorkin, I'm just a half-asleep Bort at 4am. There is no such thing as "the greatest country in the world"; there are good and great people, there are good and great systems of government, and the US is lucky to have both. But it's a fatal mistake to pat ourselves on the back and make like our greatness is assured or somehow inherent; we need to be looking at ourselves with a candid, critical eye and working towards improvement at all times. That's how successful individuals succeed; that's how successful nations succeed. In summary, the only thing you have to do to make me happy is come home at the end of the day.
FABIO
It's a tough call between this and Isaac's speeches in Sports Night as Sorkin's worst very special episode writing.

Hooker
On the other hand, America is the fattest country in the world, and that qualifies as "great."

John Holmes Motherfucker
>>Let me get this straight: it's ignorant to think the US is the greatest country in the world, but it's not ignorant to think there was some golden age when it was?

>>Okay, Sorkin, I'll play your game.

It's not a game, it's a TV show. Let me explain to you how TV shows work.

Actors play characters, and they recite their lines, and have conflicts, and the conflicts are meant to create dramatic tension, which are perceived by audiences as as entertainment. What's ignorant is to assume that everything that comes out of every character's mouth is supposed to be Aaron Sorkin's gospel.

I was watching a TV show, so it seemed to me that the second part of the speech, how we used to be the greatest country and all was deft backpedaling by a public figure who had gotten himself in trouble.

I wasn't a huge Aaron Sorkin fan before I saw this. I never saw the West Wing or Sports night, or Charlie Wilson's War, and I'd drive nails into my head before I'd see a movie about Facebook. The only thing I'd really seen was Studio 60, whgich started out strong and went down the toilet in one season.

Bort
I admit I can't prove this was Aaron Sorkin expressing his actual deep thoughts. But usually when a character is given this much latitude to bloviate and everyone listens in dumbfounded admiration, it usually means the writer thinks he's saying something profound and truthful.

Now when Sorkin writes a white supremacist delivering a comparable rant about the Protocols of the Elders of Zion -- with all the other characters listening in dumbfounded admiration, mind you -- I'll revise my opinion.

John Holmes Motherfucker
Dumbfounded admiration? Are you serious? They groaned.

John Holmes Motherfucker
(But he did win them back just enough to save his career. Otherwise it would have been a youtube video instead of a TV show.)

John Holmes Motherfucker
I do think that the Soviet Union was the crazier one, but it's not a debate I find worth pursuing. We're crazy enough.

Bort
You know when the real golden age was? When writers who wanted to be deep got into crappy science fiction, and some chunky astronaut or another would turn towards the camera and say something meaningful.

Hey JHMf ... ? You're not on trial here, you're not obligated to defend Aaron Sorkin. Feel free to enjoy Sorkin's work more than other people here, it's a preference you don't have to justify to anyone. Every year of my life, I grow more and more convinced that the wisest and the best is to fix our attention on the good and the beautiful, if you just take the time to look at it; if you think Aaron Sorkin's work is good and beautiful in any measure, go for it.

John Holmes Motherfucker
LOL. I'm very relieved.

Seriously, it's fun to talk about this stuff. Isn't that why we do it? But now I have to do the dishes.

Meerkat
Jesus Christ enough already

candyheadrobot
I'll bitch about this when I hear about 15 million people watching it, instead of Big Bang Theory.
Mr. Purple Cat Esq.
I'd say a good contender for greatest country is Denmark. education, public transport, healthcare, wages, holidays, % power from renewable sources, cycling as mode of transport, life expectancy etc. Theyre always waaay up there.. Or maybe the Netherlands, those countries in that area have their shit *tight*

(ed)One interesting thing tho is that those prefectly run model countries usually have high suicide rates, do people *need* suffering strife and crushing inequality in order to want to continue striggling on?

Also Americans are cute (and sorta scary when you realise they are actually serious) aboout that whole greatest country thing. I mean its certainly a pretty big country... one of the biggest! :) .... uh....welp
Mr. Purple Cat Esq.
Also just so ya'll know (I cant speak for others) but from my vantage point USA seems like USSRs slightly less crazy more together brother. Both massive countries who have taken some ideology to ridiculous lenghts to their detriment

SolRo
Ehh, other than falling for american propoganda, what makes you think russia is the crazier one or took communism to some ridiculous level?

John Holmes Motherfucker
Uh... Stalin? Gulag Archipelago?

Bort
I was going to say something about "mass starvation in the Ukraine" and "mass exterminations of troublesome peoples", but then I thought about Native Americans. Not only did we inflict suffering and extermination upon them, we also littered on a highway ... the final indignity that made Native Americans everywhere cry.

John Holmes Motherfucker
Ouch.

Yeah, I liked the TV show, but Jeff Daniels evoking our glorious past really sounded like buillshit to me. If I had to chose, I'd take Fox News over Jim Crow.

John Holmes Motherfucker
I do think that the Soviet Union was the crazier one, but it's not a debate I find worth pursuing. We're crazy enough.

Adham Nu'man
I used to be the greatest guy in the world, but I'm not anymore... But I can be the greatest guy in the world again and I WILL BE GODDAMN IT!
TeenerTot
This comment thread for some reason made me think of Hetalia. The American is a self-loving, fun guy with a hero complex and a habit of stuffing his face with cheeseburgers. Not too far off the mark I thought.
WHO WANTS DESSERT
Blaming college kids for all the world's problem when everything is run by old white men.
Xenocide
Every one of the problems Jeff Daniels rants about here was caused or perpetuated by his generation, so I'd love to know why he can turn around and in the same breath announce that a bunch of powerless debt-shackled college kids are the worst people who ever lived.

Bonus points for trotting out the old "HA HA KIDS DON'T VOTE" stereotype which hasn't been true for at least the last two election cycles.

This is classic Sorkin: make a great point, but deliver it in such an asinine manner that the point ends up being forgotten entirely.
Caminante Nocturno
It's not.

Japan is the greatest country in the world.

Because of anime.
Blue
There was a time when America was great. That time was when I was a child. There was a time in this country when adults would filter all the bad stuff out of world news. People didn't have to pay bills or taxes. Santa Claus was real and he gave people presents. Birthday parties were a big deal and were always well attended. I have books and books of pictures and they tell the story of a world of birthday parties, holidays and vacations. There's not a single photo of a person at the dentist, getting suspended from school, or throwing up because they got really sick. It was great back then.

Bad things didn't happen, and if they did, they were just kid stuff bad things. Stuff like getting a boner in math class and getting called up to the board. I may have written about how horrible it was in my diary but that was before a decade passed and I stopped taking it so seriously because it isn't happening to me anymore. Stupid kid, I don't even know those people any more.

I wish I could condescendingly pat America's past on the head and say "There there, it might seem bad now but someday we'll all look back on this and we won't even remember this Jim Crow thing".
violenza
AND WE LIKED IT THAT WAY!

Preybyemail
This is meat and potatoes for you faggots!

Whew! Another chance to sit on my ass and hate on America while im not getting machine gunned to death in my living room or squatting in a mud puddle dying of some shitting disease!

How progressive!
Adham Nu'man
Cause the only viable options, of course, are to be in America or to die horribly of some unspeakable atrocity.

Blue
If you think that the most this country should aspire to is to be able to point to another country and say it's worse there, you hate America. If you think that pointing out the real problems we have, not the least of which is that so many Americans are in prison, if you think that's disloyalty you hate America.

Freedom is important. Not dying in the streets because of our universal healthcare or the end to that drug war that had 3 year old kids getting shot while they slept during military style raids isn't enough. We need to do better. And also, yeah, we STILL have people living on the streets that don't have access to healthcare and yeah, we're still waging a war on our own people over shit so trivial that the President of the Fucking United States could admit to doing it and nobody is giving him shit for it.

He once put dijon mustard on a hamburger and they wouldn't shut the fuck up about it for days.

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