For all his grandiose writing about the way things work, Aaron Sorkin has managed to avoid some unpleasant truths despite the many, many efforts made to educate him over the years. But he understands now.
Variety reports that Sorkin appeared on a panel Saturday at the Writers Guild Festival, moderated by film critic Elvis Mitchell. It appears he was astounded by the notion that white men receive more second chances when they make just so-so movies, when women and minorities find it difficult to even make that first film:
“Are you saying that women and minorities have a more difficult time getting their stuff read than white men and you’re also saying that [white men] get to make mediocre movies and can continue on?” he asked the audience.
Throughout the discussion Sorkin returned to this baffling notion, though he insisted that Hollywood is a meritocracy and that he has been unaware of any diversity issue. “You’re saying that if you are a woman or a person of color, you have to hit it out of the park in order to get another chance?” Sorkin demanded, perhaps hoping everyone would see he was speaking truth to power.
Mitchell apparently joked that Sorkin was making the common mistake of confusing “meritocracy with meretricious,” but to no avail. Sorkin was quick to remind everyone that Lena Dunham and Jordan Peele exist. There’s no report of how Sorkin came around, but he eventually offered to “help” with the diversity issues he just sort of agreed to acknowledge:
“What can I do [to help]?” Sorkin said. “I do want to understand what someone like me can do … but my thing has always been: ‘If you write it, they will come.’”
Ah, the Field of Dreams diversity initiative.