Aaron Sorkin on Sarah Palin: Who is he kidding?
- Published: 12 December 2010
- Hits: 4709
13 December 2010
Recently screenwriter Aaron Sorkin wrote an editorial for the Huffington Post in response to an episode of Sarah Palin's Alaska, in which Ms Palin kills a moose. I really wanted to like his article in an "enemy of my enemy is my friend" kind of way.
Sorkin does make some good points about Palin's motives in airing this footage, knowing that it would generate controversy and polarize viewers.
That's likely true. However, he spends the majority of the article focused not on the publicity stunt, but on the act of killing, for which he condemns Palin.
On the other hand, he paints himself and 95% of the people he knows who consume animal products, as vastly morally superior to those who hunt for sport.
You see, because, as Sorkin admits, he could never bring himself to actually kill the cows that provide his stripsteaks and leather belts, this places him above the gun-toting savages that do the dirty work.
The implication is either that he excuses himself from guilt because he's not the one pulling the trigger (you know, much in the same way that paying an assassin to murder someone frees you from blame) or because he doesn't "enjoy the fact that they're dead".
I'm a bit confused though, as to why Sorkin eats "meat, chicken and fish" if he does not enjoy that they're made up of dead animals. But I suppose as long as you feel a little bit bad about it, then that relieves you of any moral wrong-doing?
He goes on to liken Palin's actions to those of Michael Vick's (the NFL star involved in dog fighting) who, implying that she should be in prison. I wonder what he thinks of the slaughterhouse workers who slit the throats of the sheep he eats. Should we jail them all too? Perhaps only if they're having fun on the job.
Oh, but wait – people need to eat meat to survive, right? Ok, even though I've been surviving without meat for 10 years just fine along with thousands of other vegetarians, I'll follow the logic on this one...
So, let's say Aaron Sorkin needs meat to survive. I imagine he must limit his meat intake to just the bare minimum needed to get by. I'm sure he doesn't consume meat with nearly every meal.
And those leather products? But of course: everyone needs leather belts and shoes to get by. And come on, if you live in a home without a leather couch, can you really even call that living?
I'm being a bit glib and sarcastic here, but only because Sorkin goes on at such lengths, defensively decreeing, "I am not a hypocrite!" But the fact is, Aaron Sorkin is an affluent, healthy, white man. He does not need leather furniture. He does not need to consume meat daily.
Nobody in his position does. He (and 95% of the people he knows) consume meat for pleasure. They buy fashion for pleasure. Sarah Palin kills woodland creatures for pleasure. The only distinction is that Palin cuts out the middle man.
Now, I don't like throwing the "H-word" around at people, and here's why. "Hypocrite" is a word that's often slung at vegans like me. Others frequently scrutinise the products I buy hoping to catch me "cheating".
I'll hear things like, "Did you know there are animal products in tyres? If you ride in cars you're a hypocrite." This then leads to the conclusion that, ‘Well, if we can't achieve 100% vegan purity, there's no sense striving for 99.99%, so hand me that cheeseburger.’
But morality is about making the best choices you can in your circumstances. Rarely are the issues black and white. There are lots of shades of grey in there.
And from where I'm standing, Aaron Sorkin's grey looks pretty similar in hue to Sarah Palin's.
Sharon Troy is an American ex-pat living in Sydney. She works as an animal welfare campaigner and is the founder and editor of vegaroo!, a blog and community website for vegans in Australia.