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

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 Assistant / Human Resources Assistant

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: An HR Assistant / Human Resources Ass...

Talent Community Coordinator

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Talent Community Coordinator is nee...

Business Support - Banking - Halifax - £250 pd

£150 - £250 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - HR - Halifax - £150 - £250...

Geography Teacher

£24000 - £33600 per annum + pre 12 week AWR : Randstad Education Manchester Se...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform