The Newsroom Speech – Best Opening Scene for a Series?

The Newsroom opening speech has to be one of the best opening scenes for a Television series that it is almost hard to believe the show could live up to it. The points it has brought up are sure to be very controversial and to be discussed for a long while. The basic gist of it is that the lead character Jeff Daniels (Will McAvoy) is asked a simple question by a sophomore student: “Why is the US the best country in the world?”.

The Newsroom Student

Initially he tries to dodge the question by referring to the New York jets and then the constitution but when continually pressed he answers that it is not the best country in the world. Check out the video below for the full thing:

Transcript:

And with a straight face you are going to tell students that America is the only one so star-spangled awesome that we’re the only ones in the world that have freedom? Canada has freedom. Japan has freedom. The UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Australia, Belgium has freedom. So 207 sovereign states in the world, like, 180 of them have freedom.

and yeah, you, ah sorority girl. Just in case you accidentally wander into a voting booth one day there’s some things you should know and one of them is there is absolutely no evidence to support the statement we are the greatest country in the world. We’re 7th in literacy, 27th in math, 22nd in science, 49th in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, 3rd in median household income, number 4 in labor force and number 4 in exports. We lead the world in only three categories: Number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real and defense spending where we spend more than the the next 26 countries combined, 25 of whom are allies.

Now none of this is the fault of a 20 year old college student, but you nonetheless are without a doubt a member of the worst. period. generation. period. ever. period. So when you ask what makes us the greatest country in the world I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about. Yosemite?

It sure used to be. We stood up for what was right. We fought for moral reasons. We passed laws, struck down laws, for moral reasons. We waged wars on poverty not poor people. We sacrificed, we cared about our neighbours. We put our money where our mouths were and we never beat our chests. We built great big things, made ungodly technological advances, explored the universes, cured diseases and we cultivated the world’s greatest artist and the world’s greatest economy. We reached for the stars, acted like men. We aspired to intelligence. We didn’t belittle it, it didn’t make us feel inferior. We didn’t identify ourselves by who we voted for in the last election and we didn’t scare so easy. We were able to be all these things and do all these things because we were informed by great men, men who were revered.

The first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. America is not the greatest country in the world any more.

Analysis

The Newsroom Speech

It is an interesting time for the United States, given that the major scientific period of the last decade or two (the Large Hadron Collider) was completed by Europe. This is the first time in a century or so where the United States of America has not been at the cutting edge. The LHC may be the second Sputnik.

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