Sunday, April 16, 2017

The West Wing

First, Happy Easter Okie Trad friends.  It's been a while.  May the radiant light of the empty tomb lift you up and preserve you.

I've been watching old episodes of the West Wing on Netflix.  Feels like I've been into it for a long time already, even though I'm just getting through season 2, and there's what 8 seasons.

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So to start overcoming my blogging atrophy, I'll comment on some thoughts I have from watching the West Wing--or as a conservative friend jokingly calls it the "Left Wing"--from the perspective of a traditional Catholic.

(Preface:  for newcomers, by traditional Catholic, I mean a believing, practicing Catholic, following the bi-millenial tradition of the Roman Catholic Church...that said...)

So if you've ever watched the West Wing, you'd know it takes a lot of mental work to follow the plot.  A graduate degree in political science wouldn't hurt either, lol.  Scene after scene is a chaotic flood of political strategizing, as characters wind in and out of one office room in the White House after another.  If you're trying to exercise your brain muscles, this beats crossword puzzles or

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More than a decade ago, I spent some time watching these programs, but at the time I was focused on the liberal crap that the show does seem to promote.  The characters are liberal Democrats, and they are always arguing with idealism and virtuosity the merits of the socialistic approach to government.

What is the philosophical question about art--does art reflect society, or does society reflect art?  Without probing into the question, it does seem self-evident that the West Wing is/was a propaganda tool for the Democratic party.  Big media has ubiquitous power to manipulate the minds of evening TV watchers across the nation.  Have not many priests and bishops warned about the influence of TV on corrupting the minds of the youth?

At the same time, art reflects society, and in that respect perhaps the mature mind can take in said art and filter out the liberal values it is reflecting from society.  In other words, for entertainment purposes, I think an informed Catholic can watch shows like the West Wing while filtering out the liberal messages, so that one is not imitating the art.

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I'm impressed by Martin Sheen's character President Bartlett.  The character is full of life, even though he knows secretly he has a diagnosis of M.S.  He is full of energy, humor, and passion.   His team of experts make for a fun and at times funny dynamic.  There's C.J. the press secretary.  The part you have to filter out is her feminist, aggressive personality.  The part that sticks is her humorous awkwardness.  Then there's the male trio speech writers/advisors to the president--Tobby who can always be seen carrying some kind of bagel or danish;  Sam, played by the dashing (yes I said dashing) Rob Lowe; and Josh, the neurotic, impassioned, idealist.

In conclusion, while I find the progressive politics of the West Wing to be uninteresting, I think this series is worth watching for mature audiences (hmm, I guess I'm saying I'm in that audience), if for no other reason than to challenge one's mental faculties.


  1. New Agey but a good story. Thought Sheen did well in that movie. As he did in Catholics (aka Conflict).

    1. I thought Catholics was great (except for the ending). It's neat how they got the New Agey Catholic Sheen to play a New Agey Catholic priest, who also happened to be sort of the villain.

    2. Once I was hanging out with a trad family and brought the Catholics dvd over, and they were blown away how telling it was. But they also didn't like the ending. I guess what we can glean from the ending is that in the end faithful Catholics might end up compromising in the name of obedience.