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August 06, 2012

Mandy Stadtmiller controversy


"In a post for the website XOJane.comMandy Stadtmiller writes that she is the inspiration for the gossip reporter in the fourth episode of The Newsroom, and has emails from Sorkin to prove it. Stadtmiller writes that she met Sorkin at a party for his 2010 film, The Social Network, and promptly slipped him her card. Soon, they were out on a date."- THR


(Instruction: Read as if it was a Sorkin dialogue)


Me: How dare you base your characters on real people in Newsroom, Aaron Sorkin. And the same goes for The Social Network, those were obviously real people too, I heard one might've been based on Mark Zuckerberg. If you want to base a book on someone or a script or even a poem, wait until they die and then write an unauthorized biography, which is only unauthorized because it spouts negative press. 


Aaron: We live in a country that has reality “television,” where “people”, yes I used air quotes twice, and I’ll do it again “people” pretend to be “people.” It’s absurd and anyone who watches it is absurd. And that’s people based on people trying to be people. If I want to base one character on a woman I met, and send emails about it, I damn well will.


Me: Air quotes?


Aaron: “Yes.” “Air quotes.”


Me: You just air quoted “air quotes.”


Aaron: I know what I did.


Me: But not the effect it has on others.


Aaron: So I based a character on a person I dated and hurt her feelings, she got a blog out of it. What’s the big deal?


Me: I’m still thinking about the air quotes, like what if you air quoted air quotes in skywriting, which I think is a Steven Wright quote-


Aaron: Stay on subject.


Me: Ok fine, people are going to say you hate women again and can’t write female characters. You’re giving the press reasons to hate you.


Aaron: They’re finding reasons to hate me.


Me: You could stop leaving crumbs Hanzel.


Aaron: I sent a few emails, texts, I wasn’t-


Me: Asking for permission?


Aaron: Telling her what I was going to do. I was even self deprecating when I said, “I got preachy and condescending (so unusual for me).”


Me: You just quoted yourself.


Aaron: Can we get off the quotes for a second!


Me: Can I quote you on that?


Aaron: Charming. Trying to get me to quote, no, no more quotes. This is strictly off the record.


Me: Perfect. So the woman-


Aaron: We dated, I wrote a character based on her, but not her. Inspired by, based on a true story, but not true. I even called her “Bad Mandy” not Mandy, you'd think- Do you think the mouse from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie is pissed that someone wrote a book about him?


Me: I haven’t read it.


Aaron: It’s about this mouse who gets a cookie, but then keeps asking for other things, you give him a cookie he asks for-


Me: The whole house.


Aaron: Right. The house, the car, the whatever.


Me: What would a mouse want with a  car-


Aaron: That’s besides the point. The point is he gives everything he has to the mouse, that mouse works that poor man to the bone and in the end the broken man falls asleep, which is a metaphor for death.


Me: Which is a metaphor for you?


Aaron: Yes.


Me: And you’re the…?


Aaron: I’m the Man! 


Me: That's the kind of arrogance they get so mad-


Aaron: I'm the human! In the story. The Human.



Me: Got it. And the mouse is?


Aaron: Everybody else.


Me: Even me?


Aaron: Even you. 


Me: Got it.


Aaron: You sure?


Me: Yeah… I’m just not sure how it applies.


Aaron: I give and I give and it’s never enough. No, thanks for American President, no thanks for The West Wing, or Social Network-


Me: A Few Good Men.


Aaron: Sports Night, Studio 60-


Me: Studio 60?


Aaron: What?


Me: Well I like it, it just wasn’t very funny for a show about a sketch show. I liked the Nic Cage impression though, that was accurate, maybe not funny though.


Aaron: You’re going to be quiet for the rest of this conversation.


Me: (about to speak)


Aaron: No.


Me: (mouth closes and nods).


Aaron: I’ve given blood sweat and tears and amazing prose to the world, quotables, fantastic scenes, hell I gave Jack his best line. I modeled a character on an experience I had, by god no one’s ever done that. People make fun of my style because it’s noticeable, it’s a style, but at least I have some style that doesn’t say “like” every twenty seconds. So the women characters aren’t as competent as the men. I don’t set out to be a critical darling every time out of the box, and I fired my writers room because I’m taking into account the criticisms. I’m just a man, a man who happens to write television and my work is a hell of a lot better than most of the crap that’s on and doesn’t involve giving a rose to women so they can feel accepted for the first time. Yes the depiction I wrote of the woman was harsh, but so is life. She’s harsh because it’s more interesting on television, it provides conflict, not everyone agrees all the time. And if she didn’t want to be pointed out or want people to notice the similarities between her and the character, she shouldn’t have written the blog. The point is I shouldn’t write messages that can be recorded electronically. Got it?


Me: Would you think about basing a character on me? I think I’d make a great foil to Will McAvoy, I could be like a Rush Limbaugh type, but with a beard.


Aaron: (Aaron stares at me. Then leaves.)



Note: This is not actually Aaron Sorkin, it is a character based on him named Aaron. 




The Hollywood Defender