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Old January 13 2013, 06:26 AM   #56
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Location: Washington State
Re: The West Wing now on Netflix

People! It's not an episode; it's a non-canon "play".

Its major flaws are twofold: one, it's simply not as anywhere near sophisticated as the show and the show's audience. It reminded us not to scapegoat brown people. Those tuning in didn't need that lecture.

Second, it told no hard truths. Like the line about terrorism having a "100 percent failure rate" - it struck me as profound and true enough at the time, but I can't take it seriously anymore. Didn't the Nazis, Saddam's Baathists, the Taliban and many others take power after terrorist acts? Also, there was such thing as extremist Jewish terrorism in the run-up to the creation of the State of Israel aimed at getting the Brits out of the picture... which did subsequently happen. One can argue that this goal was achieved in spite of, and not with the help of, said violence, but it does complicate the picture. One-sentence soundbites are pretty much never helpful when it comes to history.

Or, consider this exchange:
GIRL 1: Well, what do you call a society that has to just live everyday with the idea that the pizza place you're eating in can just blow up without any warning?

SAM: Israel.
... Or Moscow, New York City, or any other major city during the Cold War, when nuclear holocaust almost happened several times over due in large part to the military-industrial complex chestbursting out of the US.

Or, if you want to keep it current to 2001, how about Pakistan, where extremist Islamic terrorists routinely try to destabilize the government. I'm pretty certain that, even before Iraq's civil war broke out, far more civilian Muslims routinely died as a result of such terror than either civilian or military Israelis did. I&A-Sam's answer wasn't wrong per se, but it did not-so-subtly promote the very "us vs. them" mentality the whole I&A-Leo subplot was arguing against.

I'm not trying to start political/historical debate(s) here. I'm only saying that The West Wing was always a fantasy in the sense that corporate lobbying and influence was just about never felt, and that the "play" Isaac and Ishmael was even less grounded than the series itself, while acting as if it were more so.
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