What I’ve been reading and watching

The Wealth of Networks by Yochai Benkler. This will be coming out soon from Yale University Press and I have an advance copy for a seminar to be run at Crooked Timber. The book deals with the implications of networking, social production and similar issues that I’ve been excited about for some time.

On the viewing front, now that The West Wing has come to the ABC and is on at a reasonable hour, I’m watching it, though the episodes must be quite a few years old. It’s rather like a parallel universe, but one in which the White House is in the same universe, instead of, as in reality, two parallel universes.

10 thoughts on “What I’ve been reading and watching

  1. I was disappointed that the ABC started the West Wing from season 4, rather than from one. Presumably there was some rights issue. Ah, Jed Bartlet, the President we all wish that was.

  2. The West Wing strikes me as Aaron Sorkin’s wish fulfilment exercise. I enjoy the show, but it’s like Clinton without the sense of moral squeamishness that is inevitably associated with him. Bartlett is a family man. A former professor of economics! (Like Sorkin’s other president, from the movie The American President, was a former profesor of history.)

    And a NOBEL LAUREATE to boot. This is the show’s conceit that really taxes the suspension of disbelief. Nobel Laureate economists who are also policy wonks don’t have the time to devote to becoming high level politicians — instead, like Stiglitz (or other high calibre wonks like Blinder, Summers, Taylor and Mankiw) they get appointed to senior policy positions in the Fed, Treasury or World Bank.

    I always have to put the Nobel thing out of my mind when I watch the show … it’s too annoying otherwise.

  3. The first few years of The West Wing were very, very good. It’s so difficult to keep a long-running show fresh and interesting. So few shows really manage to do that. And there’s only so much that can happen in a show centered on the WH that is going to be terribly new and exciting. So many shows run years past their prime. The West Wing had a great first 3-4 years but it jumped the shark several years ago.

  4. agree with what has been said thus far about WW.

    It is refreshing that Democrats aren’t always the goood guys and are always right!

    tow good shows to watch.

    House a very british Yank series on doctors, diseases etc and Boston Legal which is quite zany but James spader and William shatner are brilliant!

  5. One of my daughters is obsessed with House and another show called Bones. Don’t know if you can get that in Australia. The forensic science shows are so hugely popular in the US.

  6. BBEPLP is right. House is the first US hospital show I’ve ever enjoyed, mainly because of Hugh Laurie’s character. For an Eton and Cambridge educated standup comedian cum bestseller writer, he makes a very funny American TV doctor.

  7. When I want to see a dramatic rendition of how US society and politics really operates, I turn to the Sopranos. The West Wing, despite (or is it because of?) its superb production values, is propaganda in the glorious tradition of Walt Disney’s hagiographic American history presentations.

  8. Its much better than Commander in Chief. I mean at least there is not a vice president who is a world class economist, speaks arabic and is an ex general that went to war without the loss of a single life!!!!

  9. “When I want to see a dramatic rendition of how US society and politics really operates, I turn to the Sopranos.”

    I guess it just goes to show that you can fool some of the people all the time.

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