It isn't Stealing if it's Intertextuality

Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin has always been able to steal like an artist. Typically this theft actually comes from his previous work in the form of “Sorkinisms”, phrases or scenarios that seem to reoccur across all of Sorkin’s work (The West Wing, Sports Night, A Few Good Men). When it comes to Sorkin borrowing elements from other auteurs, Stanley Kubrick certainly isn't a bad choice.

You all know the quote from A Few Good Men. You may have never seen the film (you should), but everyone knows that you yell, “You can’t handle the truth!” But what if I told you that Sorkin is intertextually winking at one of cinema’s most reclusive and storied directors? I suppose there’s also a possibility that you’ve never seen Dr. Strangelove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb. However, I’ve conveniently embedded both monologues for you. Both speeches involve a decorated military general that has a particular idea of how a country should defend itself. Both of those opinions are concerned with hyper-masculinity, one a little more phallic than the other, but both seem to present violence as a martyr-like sacrifice.

The key pieces of intertextual language that connect the two scenes are "time" and "inclination". The phrase "stand aside” is also a commonality, although they are slightly different in either context. I love when films talk to each other in subtle ways, and I love that it takes an obsessive personality like myself to pick it out.