West Wing
The Stormy Present

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Miss Alli: D+ | 1 USERS: D
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Battlefield Earth

We swing over to Air Force One's conference room, where Toby is sitting miserably in front of his laptop, trying to write a eulogy for a despised Republican whose death he has already lauded. Charlie walks by and asks if he's okay. "Do I look okay?" Toby asks. "Not so much," Charlie says. Charlie adds that Bobby Bodine was looking for Toby. "Enemies without and within," Toby mutters as he gets up and leaves the room. You know, Charlie's doing so well in that Potted Plant job, it's only a matter of time before he gets a promotion. Like to Floor Lamp, maybe.

We now see POTUS strolling down the outer corridor of Air Force One with former President D.W. Newman. Damn, Cromwell is a tall dude. I really was not as aware as I should be of what a monster he is. No wonder Babe looked so short. Anyway, he notes that the plane's been renovated, but says he doesn't care much for the color. Jed says he should see what they've done to the residence. Heh. Newman remarks that he got the NSC briefing this morning, and Jed mumbles that he's not wild about the fact that they give that out. Newman says that the protestors are talking democracy, but Jed insists that it's hard to tell exactly what it is they're really after. Newman chastises Jed for supporting the royal family, which is getting rich off the oil while oppressing the masses and supporting radical Wahabists. Oooh, good one, actually. Newman says that the U.S. made that bed itself, and that while they had little choice during his presidency but to live with it, it's now time to get moving toward a different system for Saudi Arabia. "Trust the people, Jed. They'll make rational decisions." From the corner, we hear Toby: "In the deserts of Arabia, are there any rational decisions?" he chuckles.

Oh, for the love of...can you believe that line? You know, to my eye, they either need to do a better job of confronting the fact that Toby has become a bigot, or they need to stop writing those lines for him. At this point, every time they do this, it comes off to me as a cheap sop to the people who think the show is too liberal, and as a disturbing implication that even good liberals know deep in their hearts that it's secretly more okay to make fucked-up comments like that about people who live in "the deserts of Arabia" than it is to make them about people who live anywhere else. Not only that, but it makes me respect Jed less, and everyone else who works in the White House less, that they haven't taken the guy by the collar by now and told him that they're not interested in listening to him spout off on this anymore, and that it's time for him to shut the hell up. I'm just thoroughly exhausted by the casual, tossed-off, tragically hip way this show tries to have it both ways by peppering its melodramatic odes to democracy and equality and freedom with ignorant cracks about the current disfavored minority. It's not something they've done once, or twice, or three times, either. It's a pathology. Every time they touch Muslims, or Saudi Arabia, or "Qumar" (so convenient, that), it's like they're afraid that they're going to get cooties of some sort if they don't inoculate themselves with little asides that they believe they can pass off as something other than what they are, which is bullshit. And don't tell me they do it knowingly and intelligently and don't really mean it and are doing it for effect, either. You saw how "knowing" they were back at "Isaac and Ishmael," and I've never seen any indication that they've learned a damn thing since. I never cease to be amazed by the earnestness of this show's superiority complex and its firm conviction that it transcends television and speaks truth. Because these days, much of what it actually speaks is the universal language of cheap-ass pandering, in which I will admit it has demonstrated remarkable fluency. It's just...enough already.

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West Wing

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