Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bathroom Monologue: The Newsroom Day Two of Two: The Support

“We need the past to be brighter than the invisible darkness of future. We need a history of heroes to let us know that bravery is possible. A Greatest Generation and a century of inventors and soldiers and firemen leave us with the belief that many humans have the potential for action, not merely one president or general or saint. We need a canon of many saints who slump towards us. The photo of the many men raising the flag on Iwojima, the tales of many men running into the towers on 9/11, and that the Constitutional Congress was the labor of many minds rather than a gift to a lone Moses - these things tell every man and woman that history beckons widely.

“And we need to feel like we’re failing, because any other feeling will lead us to complacency. For whatever amalgam of reasons, we are the most likely nation to pursue self-improvement. By harkening to the great decisions, of Cronkite weighing against the Vietnam War and Murrow standing up to McCarthy, we invite a generation to seriously look at what present mistakes and evils are going unchallenged. The truth is that history assures we will always have made great decisions, and human nature assures we will always have great decisions we are not making. If history can goad us into living better, then we ought to lose our feet in its tide.

“A hundred years ago we saw Europe at war and could not let the forces of democracy be slaughtered. Today we see blood running in the streets of the Middle East and find ourselves too tired, too weary, too taxed and afraid, and ultimately too confused to answer the simple question of whether we should attempt to stop it.

“You were telling an audience to do more than sit, and for all the current anchors and writers and bloggers to do more than spend twenty-three hours of the day asking whether a single mother eight states away was a good parent. Using the past as a prop to coerce us into thinking we’re failing? We needed that, because we are failing, and if the truth won’t convince us of it, we’ve got to find other means.”


  1. Hey John: just read this post and yesterday's. Amazing, strong words but I'm slightly confused: is this from The Newsroom or did you write it?

    1. I wrote both of these monologues. On Sunday night I posted the mission statement, which was to run two monologues responding to that show's seminal monologue. I linked it on Youtube in case you'd like to see it.

    2. In that case, AWESOME! Sorry for being behind the eight-ball here, John. I love what you have to say, yet feel nervous about expressing it, not being American and all. Your words, though, are inspiring and visionary and truly beautiful. Righteous, even.

  2. mm. Not so but far other wise oh best beloved. We need to tell the truth about our past, which includes some warts. We need to aspire to do better this time/next time. And there isn't a contest about which nation is the best. Which is just as well because if there was such a competiton lying, cheating, doping (if effective) and bribery would be the order of the day.
    So we now have Parts One and Two, and I cannot wholeheartedly agree with either. Part One is closer to the mark for me though.
    Which reflects your feelings more closely?

  3. One of the most important moments for me, growing up, was watching Fiddler on the Roof. There's an exchange, a bunch of orthodox rabbis are arguing about how involved to be in the outside world, and Tevye weighs in:

    Rabbi One: "Let the outside world break it's own head!"
    Tevye: "He is right."
    Rabbi Two: "You can't close your eyes to what's happening in the world."
    Tevye: "He is right."
    Rabbi Three: "He's right and he's right? They can't both be right."
    Tevye: "You know, you are also right."

    With two parents for whom 'right' was as fixed as Polaris, it was a revelation. I really appreciated these two contradictory, true, monologues.


Counter est. March 2, 2008