Diary: A screenwriter writes

Aaron Sorkin, the screenwriter behind The Social Network, may not be a regular Facebook user, but he sure knows his way around a blog. Since his film's release in the US, its ecstatic reviews have been tinged with criticism of its few female characters, described by one publication as, "horrendous, like, 50s era sexist". Wounded by the claims of misogyny, Sorkin has hit back by writing a lengthy rebuttal in the comments section of television writer Ken Levine's blog.

"It's not hard to understand how bright women could be appalled by what they saw in the movie," he admitted, "[but] I was writing about a very angry and deeply misogynistic group of people."

Fair comment, but strange coming from Sorkin, who once wrote an entire episode of The West Wing about the unpleasantness of internet "commenters", a group he recently described as, "severely mentally disordered". He went on: "I wish I could go door to door and make this explanation/apology to any woman offended." Hmm. Not sure that'd be such a great idea, Aaron.

* Sebastian Faulks is yet to win or, indeed, be shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. But he must have thought he was on the right track. "I don't enjoy British books set in the present day because they don't seem to have that depth or grandeur or weight or heft," the author (whose fiction is predominantly set in the early-to-mid-20th century) tells The Book Show, in an interview to be broadcast on Sky Arts this evening. "I'm not alone in that; if you look at the Booker Prize shortlist from last year, there wasn't a single book set in the present day. British writers seem to find it much easier to get depth and interest from writing about the past." Faulks tried to redress the balance with his latest novel, A Week in December. "We don't have a Bellow, a Roth or an Updike," he says, "so I thought, 'Let's give it a shot'." Unfortunately for Faulks, he failed to make it to the longlist once more. But I'm sure, having already recorded the interview, he was happy to see Howard Jacobson take the prize yesterday for The Finkler Question – which is, remarkably, set in the present day, and has been widely compared to, er, Roth.

* Another Booker loser, Peter Carey, can console himself with the news that his novel Parrot and Olivier in America has been nominated for a National Book Award for fiction in the US. His four rivals for the prize are all female (though two are named Lionel and Jaimy), making it yet another bit of bad news for "white male literary darling" Jonathan Franzen, who just can't catch a break. Some copies of his latest masterpiece, Freedom, were printed with errors in the text. Maybe the judges read the wrong version.

* Chris Bryant, the honourable member for Rhondda, was recently the star of a minor YouTube hit when he called Sky News presenter Kay "Hurly" Burley "a bit dim" on air. (Luckily for Bryant, the adversaries were in different studios, denying Ms Burley the opportunity to pin him against a wall and throttle him.) I fear, however, that there were few YouTube users watching BBC Parliament during Tuesday evening's debate on AV. Had there been more of them, they might have turned Bryant's latest slip of the tongue to viral gold. Reading heatedly from the Liberal Democrat election manifesto, Labour's Bryant told the House: "We're committed to abolishing safe sex!" He meant safe seats. "A Freudian slip", Bryant explained to his amused colleagues. But a rather embarrassing one for a former Church of England clergyman, once best known for posting pictures of himself in his underpants on a dating website. More tea, vicar?

* Since reporting that he'd joined the speaking circuit after the election, with a price tag of around £10,000 per evening, I hear that Alan Johnson has encountered little interest from the after-dinner crowd – despite that eminently clubbable persona. He was expected to fill a William Hague-shaped hole in the market. Perhaps in his elevated role as Shadow Chancellor he'll be more of a draw. The question is, will his new boss Miliband (E) actually allow him to take up any of those lucrative invitations?

highstreetken@independent.co.uk

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £32000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why