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By Michael Calleri

 Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin seems uninterested in either the benefits or negatives of technology. Paying attention to these aspects of our brave new world would compel him to write screenplays with depth and a modicum of intelligent interpretation, thus avoiding the mundane superficiality he brought to “The Social Network” and currently brings to the ponderous “Steve Jobs.”

 Sorkin is a playground bully, albeit cinematically. He taunts rather than thinks. As a writer, he’s a churlish brat, one willing to mock, rather than analyze.

 In “The Social Network,” a moderate hit, Sorkin pushed and shoved his viewpoint that Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg was a cold, insular, insufferable, and friendless bore.

 In “Steve Jobs,” which failed at the box office on its opening weekend, Sorkin again delivers a central figure, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who is a cold, insular, insufferable, and friendless bore.

 Both Zuckerberg and Jobs are infinitely more complex, and interesting, than Sorkin seems capable of handling.

 In neither movie does he dare to tackle the effects – the technological benefits (or drawbacks) – of what Zuckerberg and Jobs did, how both men helped change, certainly with the assistance of others, the way people interact and communicate.

 Writing a multi-layered screenplay about “objects” and the global desire to reach out is much more difficult than writing a screenplay that paints pictures of men who, in Sorkin’s vapid view of the world, are egomaniacal misanthropes. Essentially, they are mean little trolls, contemptuous of those around them.

 Hostile dialogue is easy to write. Context eludes Sorkin.

 Not only is “Steve Jobs” shallow, but it’s also repetitive, often mind-numbingly so. The events seen in the film take place in three sections. If this were the theater, there’d be three acts. Not much would be required to mount a stage production of the movie. It’s that mechanical.

In each part, Jobs (played well, but not great, by Michael Fassbender) is backstage at a San Francisco-area auditorium, theater, or concert hall) preparing to launch one of his early computing products. There is no exploration as to how the specific computer came to be. Sorkin only wants his film to expose Jobs’s sins, not offer insights into why he’s preparing to take a bow before a rapturous audience.


By Michael Howard


Considering all the media attention bestowed upon the small army of Republican candidates running for president, you could perhaps be excused for thinking that any of them stand a chance at winning a general election. But let me clarify: they don’t.

 Why don’t they stand a chance, you ask? Because they’re a bunch of twits.

 According to the latest polls, the two leading candidates for the GOP nomination are Donald Trump and Ben Carson. Neither man has held public office. Which means that, between the two of them, they have zero political experience. But that’s only part of the problem.

 Carson is a neurosurgeon who believes the world was created in six days. (How’s that for cognitive dissonance?) During last month’s CNN debate, he refused to distance himself from Trump’s boneheaded remarks about the supposed link between vaccines and autism. No such link exists, and perpetuating that myth is, in addition to being profoundly stupid, actually quite dangerous. Here was a golden opportunity for Carson to unequivocally assert that Trump’s comments were unscientific and irresponsible, and he chose not to. If that’s not considered a violation of the Hippocratic Oath, it certainly should be.

In addition to that, Carson has implicitly compared Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler, and has all but blamed the victims of the recent Umpqua Community College massacre in Roseburg, Oregon for not being courageous enough. Since the shooting, he has been by far the loudest and most obnoxious of the gun fiends, going so far as to suggest that teachers everywhere be equipped with firearms in class.


Opening Statement

This essay attacks the basis of much of our folk culture and American myths. We want to focus on the Pilgrims and the early settlers fleeing to America for religious and economic freedom, the shining city on the hill: Today we want to present these settlers as setting the tone for modern America.  However, through this myth we have wiped clean from our collective memories the reality that most of these colonies over the first seventy-five years of settlements were economic disasters.  Only when a different model, one not coming from Europe, a model not based on freedom and opportunity, but based on mass slavery, was introduced to North America from the Caribbean, did the economics of the new colonies change rapidly (for the better).  This model first came into South Carolina, and spread throughout much of the country from there.  This essay argues that while we see our history mainly as the development of the North, in reality, until so recently, the real history and political development of America was dominated by South Carolina and those who followed her model.

Part I

How to measure the importance of one state over another is difficult for so many reasons.  However, there is a strong case to argue that much of the history of the lands that became the United States, and subsequently the history of the United States altogether, have been influenced by South Carolina perhaps more than by any other state.  Since this relatively small and relatively less developed state is not currently an economic or, apparently, social driving force, few people readers of history would point to this state as such an important catalyst in the past and current economic and social makeup of the nation. 

A young lawyer comes to town from the Boston area and with great hubris brands himself the Buffalo-pundit all the while living in suburban (white bread) Clarence and thereby gains entrance to the lucrative networking game called local politics.

The irony has not been lost on many people. Complaints about his white suburban roots are old but very real. In his political commentaries on local politics, he has taken on the role of being the white knight of “liberal” political reform.

The phrase getting Bedenkoed was coined by the answer-lady (a University Heights blogger) during a blogging feud with Belenko over his legitimacy in calling himself the Buffalo-pundit while living in Clarence. She recalled her experience of being bullied and laughingly referred to being Bedenkoed. But it got serious for her. She felt her job was being threatened. At one point when her boss asked her about her blogging and expressed disproval. (At the time she worked at a local college.)

Lots of folks have gotten Bedenkoed over the years: Pigeon, Jack Daves, Chris Collis, Crazy Carl. They usually are the enemies of the present Democratic Party leadership.