Monday, December 8, 2008


Binny --

As you are quite aware, I have for quite a while been an avid fan of The West Wing. I was introduced to it on a winter night during college by our good friend Harold, watched 7 or so episodes that same night, and have been hooked ever since. I have been through the entire series, beginning to end, at least 3 or 4 times, and there are quite a few episodes that I have seen upwards of 10 times. I am not sure that my passion for, or knowledge of, The West Wing matches that which we both share for the Mets, but I am a deeply committed fan. I don't think it would be a stretch to say that Aaron Sorkin (the show's writer and creator) has influenced my worldview more than any other individual person who has ever lived. He wrote a show that made me laugh, made me think, challenged and shaped my system of values and beliefs, and introduced to me a world of ideas that I had previously found boring and arcane. The brilliance of the show, in my opinion is the way he uses the White House as a vehicle for storytelling in a way that makes the show accessible and entertaining even to those without political science degrees. His ability to tackle issues in a way that can be understood by those who are unfamiliar with their intricacies, yet, at the same time, does not diminish the complexity and nuances that they present, is masterful. It is a show that stretches beyond its political premise and sheds light on culture, human relationships, idealism, and countless other themes that are worth pondering and exploring. As you have related to me your interest in watching this show you have heard so much about, and as I am preparing to begin my latest watching of the series, starting from the beginning, I ask you to join me along that journey for an ongoing discussion about the themes, issues, and ideas that the show raises. I trust that you won't be disappointed.



  1. i just got forwarded an email about this blog and i found it odd that someone (av) who claims to be an avid fan of the west wing could make the statement that "The West Wing has probably done far more to shape my worldview than the Bible ever has." you dont even need to look past the first episode to see how much the bible itself has influenced even the west wing let alone your own life.

    if im not mistaken the fist words spoken by president bartlet in the entire series is "i am the lord your God, thou shalt worship no other god before me ". i think its safe to say that very few episodes go by where aaron sorkin doesnt tie in parts of the judeo christian ethic that this country was founded on, into an issue that arrises on the show.

    surly av, you didnt decide to live on the upper west side of Manhattan because the rent is cheap and its easy to find parking. i can only assume that whether you recognize it or not the bible has influenced your life far more than you would be comfortable admitting.

    that being said awesome show and good luck with the blog

  2. Dear Anonymous,
    Thank you for your interest in our blog and for your feedback. For those who are confused, Anonymous is quoting from an email I sent to friends yesterday, publicizing the blog, in which I wrote that "The West Wing has probably done far more to shape my worldview than the Bible ever has." Two points in response:
    a) that line was uttered tongue in cheek; it was not meant to be received entirely seriously
    b) even if it had been, citing one thing as more influential than another does not negate any influence that the lesser source has had. saying the show has had more influence does not mean the Bible has had no influence; it just means it has had less influence. living a life consistent with some of the Bible's values is not in opposition with citing another source as having greater influence in shaping my worldview.
    As for your point, about the Bible's influence on the show, I would argue not that Sorkin points to it to celebrate the Judaeo-Christian values on which our country were purportedly founded, but rather as a work that has been manipulated by those on the right as a justification for their hate, intolerance, and bigotry. There are for more examples in the show of the latter than the former.
    Thanks again for your interest in the blog. We hope you will keep reading.

  3. I would like to see more analysis of the show then your own political statements.

  4. I would like to thank you for the supplied details. The report is indeed informative and essential for me. I appreciate this input!