West Wing
Talking Points

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Trade (And Intellectual) Deficits

Look, it's not that I don't understand how tough it is to forego your own ideal outcomes for the master you're forced to serve when you're in politics. ["Good thing you added 'in politics' there, because I thought you were going another way to complain about 'the master you're forced to serve' just because we made you recap Married By America." -- Wing Chun] But seriously, anyone who was as persistently likely to become heartbroken over this precise issue -- dealing with getting half a loaf and feeling for the people who don't get the other half -- would never have stayed in politics this long or risen this high. People who work for the damn City Council learn this lesson. I understand you need dramatic conflict in any show, but they seem to have decided that the central conflict over the life of the show was going to be the staff's constantly learning, over and over again, that you can't have everything and you can't be perfect, because there are compromises in politics. And every time they learn it, they seem to be learning it for the first time, even though these very people have essentially played out precisely the same scenes before. At some point, they would become more jaded and cynical, and if they couldn't become jaded and cynical and gallows-humor about it, they would leave. C.J.'s being shocked that a federal regulatory commission might essentially grandfather purchases already made by the large companies it regulates? That's just silly. That happens all the time, and it's not even all that corrupt. "You can have what you've already got, but you can go no further" is a legitimate stand for an agency to take, and it certainly shouldn't shock C.J.'s conscience the way it does here. That's not even getting into the fact that neither free trade nor media consolidation is a particularly current issue, and this episode thus smacks of something that could have been written three years ago with no changes to the script. If you're going to hack away at issues as well-covered as these, you need something new to say. And believe me, "It's sad when jobs are lost to overseas markets" and "It's dangerous to have five companies own all of the country's media outlets" are not statements that qualify as "new."

Later, Josh walks down the hallway and runs into C.J. She expresses chagrin at some nasty stuff the CWA is apparently saying about Josh in the press. He sighs heavily. She says something about solving the problem by buying up TV stations, like har har. She asks him why Leo put him at the negotiations in the first place, given his close ties to the unions. Josh says that it was because he asked to go, being the type always to think he can be the one to "square every circle," and then learning that, as C.J. puts it, "a circle's a circle." Please see the thirty or forty times this very fact has already served as the theme of an episode. Or just see above. They part.

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West Wing

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