#SorkinGate, Or An Open Letter To Those In The Aaron Sorkin Business

UPDATE: I really felt strongly about a couple of bits of news coming of out of the utterly reprehensible Sony hack that the media has been oddly silent about. But, as I was about to hit publish on this post, a non-Sony email hit the news cycle…

Clutch your pearls, girls. To paraphrase the all-time classic Kanye West chestnut: Aaron Sorkin Doesn’t Care About Female People.

Feel free to read the rest of the post or whatever, but…

Aaron Sorkin can go fuck himself.

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It goes without saying I am 100% not OK with anything relating to the hacking of Sony Pictures. I don’t think anyone feels otherwise, really, except the people who did the hacking. Probably.

So it was really, truly odd for an Op-Ed from Aaron Sorkin to hit the New York Times, seemingly to rally a tinny cry for justice. The… what?

If you didn’t know, Aaron Sorkin is very upset about all this hacking activity, but he feels as if he’s standing alone against this tyranny! Why isn’t the media smart and brave enough to stand up to the bad dudes, dudes??

(I’m paraphrasing. My utter lack of interest in being a Sorkinesque writer allows me to distill his missive, er, a bit.)

Admirable, right? Um, Aaron Sorkin taking a stand and fighting for the little guy…? Is he defending his friends at Sony? Is he defending an industry on its knees, or one that has fallen too far from grace to be saved?

Nope. On all counts.

Aaron Sorkin isn’t some innocent bystander chucking his admirable wordsmithing into this complex issue, in altruistic fashion. Aaron Sorkin has a horse in this race.

A straight-up racist horse, as a matter of fact.*

Much hullabaloo has been made about Amy Pascal’s seemingly (and hopefully) singular racist joke. (Granted, it was about a sitting president of the United States of America. Obviously not cool.).

There has been perhaps less emphasis on Scott Rudin’s racist (see president joke above), sexist (Remember, Angelina Jolie is a “minimally talented spoiled brat” and his speculation on Megan Ellison’s mental state? Anyone else spot a trend of Mr. Rudin not liking the powerful ladies so much…?) and downright boorish behaviour, in general.

But it took Aaron Sorkin to put the real cherry on that pile of crap and call it a sundae. (Emphasis is mine.)

“If I turned in a terrific draft of Flash Boys, why would it have a better chance of getting made than Steve Jobs? The protagonist is Asian-American (actually Asian-Canadian) and there aren’t any Asian movie stars. There’s no precedent for stories about high frequency trading creating a stampede to the box office. Aren’t you asking me to spend another year writing a movie you won’t make and sign a contract you may or may not honor?”

Woah, woah, Mr. Sorkin! One issue at a time:

1-Why would Flash Boys have a better chance at becoming a film than Steve Jobs? Hmm… Anyone? A diverse cast leading a story that hasn’t been told, adapted from a solid book versus a bunch of white dudes in a re-imagining of a story already made into a movie starring Ashton Kutcher? Tough call.

2- There aren’t any Asian movie stars? Oh. Then stories involving asian characters should be disregarded by Hollywood entirely? I missed that memo, but that’s a good note. Gotcha.

3- No stampede for films about wall street? Oh gosh, another memo I missed. Darn! (Also, Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio must’ve missed that memo too… I’d bet their faces sure are red today!)

I must have also missed the memo that there is a MASSIVE stampede for films about dickish weirdos from Harvard who invented Facebook by accident, also hot chicks from Colorado who invite Ben Affleck to play poker.**

(And on the topic of dickish dudes and Facebook, I’m far from the first person to point this out, but I think the movie-going public made it pretty clear that they don’t care for Jessie Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield or Armie Hammer as “movie stars”. But, hey, at least they’re not Asian! AMIRITE?)

4-Oh noes! Aaron Sorkin might spend time writing a movie that won’t get made? The injustice! I’d bet that’s never happened to any other screenwriter in the history of ever!

Also 5- Aren’t the creatives supposed to be bringing in the new and wild and fresh ideas, while the grubby and terrible studios are forcing the white male agenda down our collective throats through apathy?

If you’d asked me prior to #SorkinGate, I probably would have agreed with Mark Ruffalo :

 “There’s been a huge disrespect to what the talent brings. Where does the value really lie? In the people making the deals or the people making stories? There’s been a perversion of that with agents and managers and producers.”

But Aaron Sorkin flipped this dynamic, single-handedly! So it’s the reverse now? Damn. I sure am missing a ton of memos. A stampede of memos, if you will…

But the hits just keep on coming. Like this headline and excerpt from The Examiner:

It’s not just ‘The Newsroom’ – Aaron Sorkin really doesn’t understand journalism

“There have been some serious news stories that have come from this hacked info and despite what Sorkin argues, the fact that Jennifer Lawrence makes less money than male counterparts matters. We’d be writing about this if someone inside the studio had merely leaked the news to a lone reporter, so how do we justify ignoring it because it was stolen by some third party?”

Does it matter that Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams were each offered 7% in profit participation in American Hustle while Christian Bale AND Bradley Cooper AND Jeremy Renner were at 9% each, though? We already know, like, men are way awesomer than women, even in Hollywood! Right, brah???

Anyhow, I am but a mere woman, worth two full percentage points less than any man who doesn’t have an Oscar, so it’s a real struggle to understand these things. Not to mention getting through books like Flash Boys and Molly’s Game.

Head to head, both books could be seen as varying degrees of dead boring. No matter how you slice it, the only angle to Molly’s Game that could draw more potential movie-goers than a story like Flash Boys would likely be the salacious “This is how the other half lives” telling of celebrity-soaked tales behind the scenes of back-room poker games.

Does that mean Aaron Sorkin would be using his vast writing talents to help in making a film based almost entirely on private business that celebrities and public figures don’t want you knowing about? “Doing it”, as it were, “for a nickel.”

Wait a second! Isn’t Aaron Sorkin against the entire nickel business? Or is he only against those “in the media” making the nickels for telling tales? Makes sense. He’s a real writer. And a dude! That makes him, like, way awesomer than, like, everyone.

OK, deep breath. Let’s start over.

None of the above is fair. All this stolen information and resulting opinion isn’t of interest to the rarefied air of Aaron Sorkin. Back to the Op-Ed, then…

Maybe Mr. Sorkin didn’t have time or space to refute allegations of racism or sexism in his seemingly spacious Op-Ed. Or maybe he did. He sure had time and space to address whispers of a rumoured affair with Molly’s Game author Molly Bloom with this: (I wish.)

HE REALLY SAID THAT. IN PRINT. IT’S THERE.

Le sigh.

Let us set aside both Flash Boys (for aforementioned lack of available Asian-ness, sure) and Molly’s Game (still girl cooties brah- even if the chick who wrote it is a smoking fox, brah! AMIRITE?) for the moment.

Instead, perhaps consider adapting other true stories: Tales of African-American children being murdered in the streets, like Trayvon Martin or Mike Brown or Tamir Rice. You get the idea. There are lots to choose from. You could remake Fruitvale Station instead of Steve Jobs! But maybe there are no young African-American movie stars?

(At least the story would be about an American and not – GASP! – A CANADIAN! NNNNOOOOO! How could anyone even find an actor to say SOORY enough times to pretend to be Canadian anyway? There are no Canadian movie stars! Geez!)

Or, adapt a recent piece from the LA Times about how the tomatoes you spend your hard-earned dollars from writing tone-deaf Sorkinesque scripts on at Whole Foods might be harvested by child labour. Though, there may not be any Mexican-Mexican movie stars, so that may not cause a box office stampede either… Your move, Mr. Sorkin.

Wait, should it be his move? Should anyone get a free pass, not for a solitary transgression, but for what comes across as an utter disregard for women and minorities in Hollywood?

No one is even talking of boycotting Aaron Sorkin, or demanding he never work again? Not even after all this? I like A Few Good Men and The West Wing as much as the next person, but come on!

To anyone who still wants to be in the Aaron Sorkin business, at the risk of sounding like an advice columnist from the 1960s: You deserve better.

We all deserve better.

There are lots of really great screenwriters who do brilliant work. Some of them may even be women, minorities, or others who don’t jump to mind. Many people can write thinky/talky/smart/fun movies. People other than Aaron Sorkin do it every day – even WITH roles for Asian people and women and stuff! (It sounds crazy, but it’s true!)

And for all the innocent, decent and hard-working folk at Sony, this all truly sucks. You deserve so much better. You deserve to work with people who are not racist or sexist or self-serving or cruel. My sincerest wish is that, in our lifetime, that will happen. That, someday, there will be no one left wanting to be in the Aaron Sorkin business.  Not even Kim Jong Un.

 

*This is not an allegation that racist horses exist. I have never met a racist horse, personally.

**#NoDisrespectToBenAffleck

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Comic Cons Make Me Happy… Except When It Gets All Sexist Up In There…

I just found this random post that was supposed to be published… IN AUGUST (!!!???!) So, if you feel like a hop in ye olde time machine, come with me, all the way back to August 2014…

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First of all, I gotta say, I had the best time at Boston Comic-Con. The. Best.

It was a totally positive and friendly space. Everyone was there to have a good time, and everyone who was there was super-cool and respectful of everyone else.

It was especially special for me, because Lost Angels finally – finally – made its print debut. And people went a bit nuts, in the best possible way. I couldn’t have imagined a warmer welcome.

So, I’ve been reading up on the post-weekend recaps (a LOT of people go to Boston Comic-Con and, if you go to cons, you should go too) and I stumbled across one from a blogger who… well, I’m going to leave his details out of it. I’m not challenging his views, personally, I’m more loosely paraphrasing some of what he said as a jumping off point to discuss the larger con world.

This particular guy drew my particular attention because he said there was nothing to buy at Boston Comic-Con. That prompted me to do the cartoon eye rub- what the what? At BCC, you could buy ALL THE THINGS. It was as good of a selection of merch as I’ve seen at just about any con (and I’ve been to a few…). Maybe there weren’t show exclusives or something? Maybe something was missing that I usually don’t notice…? But that WTF moment got me to delve a little further into this particular BCC post.

Then, the term “babe” was used. And again. And again. That little alarm in the back of my head that goes off sometimes started to sound a little. This was leading up to the plainly stated (keep in mind, I’m paraphrasing here) that guys go to conventions to meet and talk to “babes” that wouldn’t otherwise be interested in talking to guys like him.

OK. Wait. What?

I may be oblivious, but I’m pretty sure I’m not naive… Or maybe I am. Is that a thing? Do guys really go to conventions to “meet babes”? Not really, right? This is like the weird opposite day argument about fake fangirls, isn’t it? You mean to tell me there are fake fanboys too? Or, because the comic industry is so often steeped in some sexist and objectifying attitudes and leanings that every fanboy is there for “babes” on some level and that’s totally acceptable, so it’s impossible to be a fake fanboy? Does this sound like a sad, circular argument to anyone else?

Some dear soul at BCC who struck up a conversation with me about women in comics got a blunt answer (If you’re reading this, dear heart, my vitriol wasn’t aimed at you. You were a doll.) There is so much talk about how to get more women into the industry. And I’m tired of it.  The answer is pretty simple- go for it. Are the odds stacked against you? Oh boy, are they ever.

I’ve had a really long career in the shadows. I chose that. I wanted that, knowing full well what it cost me. It’s really strange to me now that people ask for pictures and autographs (no, really), that I spend a dozen weekends a year talking to strangers and that I’m even flirting with the fringes of cosplay for the first time ever (Fan Expo, boy, are you in for a treat…? Shock?). But, I’m warning you, the first person- male, female, manatee- that calls me a babe at a con is gonna get a square sock on the jaw. I’m there because I earned my place.

Sexist stuff like reducing a whole gender of amazing people to “babes” makes Steve Rogers cry, guys. Don’t be a Bonaparte Crumplehorn. Just don’t.

 

The Weekend Reader – May 9ish (The TON Of Reading and Happy Mothers Day Edition)

It has been a couple of weeks… (Feel free to put the emphasis on that sentence wherever you would like…)

Pneumonia. Ick. The less said about it, the better. But I have been itchy to get back to work (at least, I think that is what the itch is) so I will start off niiiiiiiice and sloooooow. With some time on my hands, much reading was done. SO MUCH.

 

Get ready for the random stuff:

 

And the good stuff:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Weekend Reader – April 11ish (The Waiting for Wondercon Edition)

Our quote of the week comes from Jon Hamm:

“There is no world in which I’m winning Best Shirtless anything,” he said. “I’m not a vampire, and I’m not a zombie and I’m not Kristen Stewart or Jennifer Lawrence. I’m not those four things, so I won’t be winning Best Kiss. If there was a category called Best Guy Who Kind of Reminds You of Your Dad. I would maybe win that one.”

It’s been another light reading/too much working week for me. And, no, it wasn’t just watching Captain America over and over (I’ve only seen it twice) it’s been just work. Work work work, it’s all I ever do (That’s a favourite expression of my dad’s, of whom Jon Hamm does not remind me… But I digress.)

Let’s see… what’s happened this week:

Wanna talk to Robert Downey Jr? He wants to hear from you.

He’s also the subject of the best game from this past week

Here’s some insight into Teen Titans (and why I totally don’t understand them)

A fun project you can fund for the next 12 days – She Got Game

There’s a new book out called Mom in the Movies, to which… I dunno what to say

This review had the best pull line I’d ever read: Draft Day Is Like the NFL’sMoneyball Except It’s Cruel to Nerds and Is Terrible

 

Aaaand, that’s it. I promise at least a WonderCon update this week. As for anything else…

Weekend Reader – April 4ish (The Spoiler-Free Steve Rogers Edition)

Has anyone else just had the worst week?

Well, it would have been the worst week, except I got to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier. So it was the best worst week.

Did you know Cap has his own froyo? So many flavours. Including Cheesecake! I wouldn’t think he’d be into that, considering how long he was on ice. Insensitive? Anyway…

My only Cap-related complaint is that’s it’s really hard to find non-3D screenings. That’s the definition of first world problems right there. Like I said, anyway…

If you read the header of this post, you know what I’ve been reading this week. And you don’t need me to tell you how good this movie is. I’m sure there are lots of reviews you can read. But, if you’re looking for your Avengers news fix, you are in the right place:

An interview iffy in quality from The Guardian

THR had SO MANY THINGS

 

A WARNING: this link is a bit misleading… Someone cut together scenes from different movies and used the word naked in the title… But, really, he’s wearing pants. Mostly.

(And go see Snowpiercer as soon as you have a chance)

As for the other Avengers…

And…

 

The Weekend Reader March 28ish – (The Stuck In An Airport With You Edition)

Did anyone else notice March went by really, really quickly?

Also, did anyone else spend an inordinate amount of time in March reading about Chris Evans?

Just me? Alright…

All the Captain America-related reading will be found in next week’s Reader. As a result, you might notice a dearth of reading material this week. I’ve been on the road working, I swear. Not just swooning over Chris Evans. In fact, as I write this, I am stuck in an airport lounge waiting  for a delayed flight. As far as I know,  Chris Evans is not here, nor is he responsabal for the flight delay. So I think I need to stop thinking about him…

 

Ahem. Anyway:

Attention female filmmaker! There’s grant money out there to finish your films.

Are there differences between writers and the mentally ill? Not so much.

New York state may give incentives to encourage diversity in writers rooms.

David Goyer really doesn’t care what you think (umm… and maybe he should? Possibly? Perhaps?)

The Black List has TONS of partnerships happening right now. Be sure to check them out!

Jason Bateman’s BAD WORDS opens wide this week. It’s a filthy, funny adult comedy that you should see if you haven’t

And the best thing I saw this week (or, possibly, in 30 years…)

 

More next week. Until then, Chris Evans! Um… OK, I did honestly think that. I’m not gonna lie.

 

 

The Weekend Reader – March 14ish (Still Lazy After All These Days)

Wow, I am so still not caught up on anything life-related yet. I’m working on it. Sloooooowly, but still…

I feel like I did do a lot of reading this week. Some of it was for two awesome classes:

Social Issues Through Comic Books

Get A Grasp (for comic creators)

(Both of which are FREE classes you can still join, so do it!)

Class reading probably included the best thing I read all week: Taste versus Ability

But there was more…

 

 

And some other notes…

My heart goes out to the citizens of Austin, TX and the folks who lost their lives at SXSW this year. But there were some lovely bits of news out of the fest, and the one about the swag bags benefiting the homeless was by far my favourite.

As always, there will be more next week. In the meantime, have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day. If you still need something green to wear, you can always get a little Loki on your lips

 

Awesome Ladies of Toronto Comicon

I am still wildly behind in just about everything… I did take a quiz that determined I’m “Divergent”. So I’m destined to be useless in future society. The whole thing seems to involve too much running around…

But I digress.

First of all, if you haven’t had a chance, please check out the first preview of my new comic and Like the Lost Angels Facebook page. Doing that means you get a free download of the preview issue. Awesome, riiiiiiight?

Anyhow, I have been wanting to post a list of great artists I had the chance to be around during the Toronto ComiCon weekend. So, here it is, in no particular order:

First of all, if you are also on Team Rogers, you need to go to Try This On For Size and ask them to ship you their Team Rogers shirt. It is awesome. It’s not currently listed on their site, but they had it at Toronto ComiCon, so I’m hopeful you can still order it off-menu. DO IT. #TEAMROGERS

Ahem, anyway… keep in mind I spent most of my time tied to a table (not literally… I don’t think…) but these were some fabulous ladies nearby. If you want to read more with them, there will be some follow-up with a piece on women in comics coming up on Fat Girl Food Squad. Keep on it!

First of all, Deena Draws, because her kung fu is the best

The fab pin ups of Amy Spaulding

Killer artwork from Indy Lytle

Michelle Stewart at Stellar Forms

The amazing Kristi, or on Tumblr, MsAether

Brilliant shirts et al from Geek Charming

 

Weekend reader is coming up ASAP. Hope you’re enjoying the (slightly) better weather in the meantime!

The Weekend Reader – March 7ish (Toronto Comicon Apologia Edition)

First of all, even though it really slowed down the Weekend Reader, the weekend at Toronto Comicon was AMAZING. I will follow up with a post on some of the amazing artists but, for now, I will try and catch up on the week that was BEFORE the weekend…

And, of course, you probaly already know what John Travolta will call you when you meet him…

The Weekend Reader – February 28ish (Oscar Weekend Edition!)

Oscar weeeeeeeeeeeekend! Let’s get ready to… um, eat popcorn in front of the TV in pjs? (Sound right?)

BUT WHAT ABOUT LIAM NEESONS, THO?

(I try not to pimp movies often, but Non-Stop is the type of movie that explains why I love writing thrillers so much. And can we talk about Corey Stoll? Can he be in everything already?)

Seriously, I know it`s too late for this year, but can we work on getting Liam Neeson a special Ass-Kicking Oscar next year?

OK, that`s not classy enough for the Oscars. Let`s call it the Lifetime Achievement In The Moving Arts Specifically Isolated In The Lower Extremity to Human Posterior Contact in a Spectacular Fashion Award.

Not to worry- we have a whole year to name it.

Once you`ve circulated your request to the appropriate offices, you can treat yourself to either:

The best commercial you`ve ever seen involving macaroni, cheese and turtles

or

Give yourself (and others) all the High Fives you can stand (there`s an app for that!)

There should be enough reading to tide you over from opening night of Non-Stop to Oscar Sunday, speaking of which…

THR talks to Brutally Honest Oscar Voters (emphasis on the brutal)

Five shocking stats about Oscar and Gender

In film festival news:

Enter your film to be judged by the greatest film jury, possibly, ever

James Franco has earned his own film festival

This just in! A bulletin from the Marvel Universe (and it`s not about the pizza boxes. Also, is it weird that Loki is on the Supreme Pizza? No, of course it`s not. I didn`t get a picture, but I will. I will.)

And the good stuff:

An interesting Buzzfeed video that will help you Change the way you look at women

Forbes talks about Why women can`t make movies

Slate talks about why it`s OK for The women on True Detective to be treated like garbage (I would love a huge, critical hit show where women both matter and aren`t totally sexualized objects. That would be cool.)

And, lastly, if you`re thinking about starting up a campaign that benefits girls and women, hit up Indiegogo and they will kick in some extra funds on International Woman`s Day.

In fact, International Woman`s Day is coming up soon! In fact, I think it`s a whole week now (go figure- half the population gets a week of celebration… yay.) But, there are so many accomplishments worth celebrating that I will try to pull out as many as I can.

Because we are all about celebration here. So congrats to all of this weekend`s winners, and to all the award season winners in general. And to Liam Neeson.

You know, for next year.