Month: December 2007

Like I Was Saying

Another more or less favorable review, spoiled in the end by the pesky vicissitudes of actual history: We certainly can forgive "The Farnsworth Invention" for fudging some facts, but in the climactic patent ruling scene, Sorkin’s script strays too far. It portrays the court siding with RCA, while historical accounts and Farnsworth fanatics insist it …

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WSJ: TFI = 2B

"2B," is case you’re wondering, is the baseball score-card notation for a double.  When somebody e-mailed me earlier this week his assessment that the reviews for The Farnsworth Invention had scored it a "FO" (fly out), I said I didn’t think it was that bad, more like a ground-rule double.  Happily, Terry Teachout at the …

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Aaron Sorkin Responds

Aaron Sorkin has e-mailed me with a response to this article which appeared in the New York Post on Friday, November 30.   His message appears  here  unaltered and unedited:

Paul,

I hope this finds you well. Below is one of the many positive reviews of the play and I think the reviewer says in his opening paragraphs what I was trying to say to you in a previous e-mail but, like most people and most things, he says it better than I’m able to. There are good forums for debating history–you and I participated in one and I would have been happy to participate in others with you. The forum you chose–the New York Post of all silly places–was, frankly, petty and spiteful. Moreover (and fairly ironically) the Post story got so many facts wrong. Not astonishing for the Post. (For instance, Pem not only smoked, she smoked in front of me and she was the one who told me the story about the smoke coming up on the screen. Since a brief lunch over sixteen years ago, I’ve never met, spoken or corresponded with Kent Farnsworth so it’s not clear to me how working with me this whole time could have been a bad experience for him. The Post piece failed to mention that Georgia Skinner is your ex-wife. The Farnsworth Invention isn’t even remotely based–as you’ve incorrectly suggested many times–on Pem Farnsworth’s book, Distant Vision, which I’ve never read. (The Post forgot to mention that if I HAD based a play or a movie on Pem’s book, Georgia Skinner would have made money.) Finally, Paul, this is between a deceased mother and her son, but shame on you for bringing Kent into this. You know as well as I do that Kent and Pem had deep, serious problems with each other for decades. Or maybe you don’t. We could have debated these things in a great place in front of a crowd that really wanted to know and didn’t just want to dish. You chose to do it in the same place we find out who Britney Spears threw up on last night. Your website seems to be about finding the truth. I certainly hope you’ll post this, along with one man’s take below

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Aaron’s message was accompanied by a review which appears in its entirety in the continuation of this post.

So that I don’t get caught in the middle of this discussion, I have also posted the article, and Aaron’s response to the discussion forum at thefarnsworthinvention.com. Visitors will need to register in order to participate in that discussion.

Click "continue reading" below to read David Spencer’s review of The Farnsworth Invention.