No Special Pleading From Hollywood

Aaron SorkinI remember listening to an interview with Sidney Lumet about the making of Serpico. He told one story about Al Pacino hanging out with the real Frank Serpico. It was an acting exercise for Pacino, who was studying for the part. But then the relationship was broken off brutally. Lumet, sympathetic toward Serpico who he referred to as smart and funny, laughed the whole thing off. According to him, that was Hollywood and that was the necessary nature of their “art.” I didn’t buy it. To me, it was just a couple of rich and famous guys who were used to being jerks to people who had no power over them.

I had this feeling again that I was listening to the pampered Hollywood elites who think they are “artists” doing some kind of noble work — above the considerations of other people. In this case, it was Aaron Sorkin’s pathetic OpEd in The New York Times, The Sony Hack and the Yellow Press. Basically, it is a long whine about how unfair it is that the hacked information is getting reported. His logic is what we charitably call “completely wrong.”

He wants us to think about this as though it happened to one of us. Would we want our personal conversations revealed to the world? Of course we wouldn’t! But our personal conversations will not be revealed to the world because the world does not care. The world does care about Amy Pascal, because she runs Sony Pictures. And Amy Pascal gets paid really well to put up with the fact that a computer hack with information about her is news. Similarly, Aaron Sorkin’s $80 million net worth should sooth any hardships he may have to bear. And Angelina Jolie’s half billion dollar net worth is more than enough compensation for getting her fee-fees hurt.

But the whole thing is just so very hypocritical. Michael Hiltzik summed up the issue perfectly, Why the Press Must Report Those Sony Hacks:

Hollywood makes billions by manipulating reality, including the reality that is Hollywood itself. It’s not that executives don’t want information to be divulged about their machinations to get a movie made, or their judgments about actors, actresses and directors: they merely want it all to be published entirely according to their own spin.

That’s what it really all comes down to. It is exactly the same thing we see from the White House — no matter who is sleeping there at night. They don’t want any unauthorized leaks. But they love leaks! They provide a steady stream of leaks. They just don’t want any leaks that don’t flatter them. So Aaron Sorkin’s OpEd really is nothing more than special pleading. But there is no reason to give him or anyone else among the Hollywood elite any special treatment. Richard Nixon did not want the Pentagon Papers reported on because they made the government look bad. Aaron Sorkin doesn’t want the Sony hacks reported on because they make Hollywood look bad.

Hiltzik provided the perfect one word response: tough.

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