Self-Respect

by Tom Swift

Dr. Jack Habib: “But if you stand in the rain without a jacket, you’re gonna get a cold. And if you have a physically abusive father who abandons you and your family, you’re gonna be 1,000 times more sensitive to betrayal than the average person who’s already extremely sensitive to betrayal.”

Will McAvoy: “I miss encyclopedias. I always wanted to have a full set of encyclopedias. You know, you pull down ‘S’ off the shelf, flip to a page, you read about, I don’t know, Salic law and why a woman can’t inherit the French throne.”

Dr. Habib: “You can Google it.”

Will: “That’s my point. You have to know what you’re looking for. You can’t browse for anything anymore. Anyway, last night I was looking up signal intelligence intercepts and whether they leave a fiber-optic footprint.”

Dr. Habib: “Is it important that I know what that meant?”

Will: “No. We’ve got a whistle-blower who’s giving us a big story and we have to vet him. But what happened was I was reading about fiber-optic footprints and a couple of clicks later, I was on a relationship advice website called ‘Help Me Rhonda.’ A woman wrote to Rhonda saying that her husband was cheating on her and Rhonda suggested that the woman had to examine what her role was in the cheating. It made me crazy. Do you think it could possibly have been the woman’s fault? Are we saying that now?”

Dr. Jack Habib: “What I don’t believe is that a couple clicks took you from fiber-optic footprints to ‘Help Me Rhonda.’ If you went to a relationship advice website, just say so.”

Will: “It was the middle of the night. There was nothing else to read.”

Dr. Habib: “Except the entire rest of the Internet.”

Will: “Do you and Rhonda honestly believe that I share some of the blame or even a small part of the blame for MacKenzie cheating with Brian?”

Dr. Habib: “Do you?”

Will: “No.”

Dr. Habib: “Fine.”

Will: “Cause that’s about the dumbest thing I’ve ever read. And I’ll tell you what else, I don’t even think Rhonda’s her real name.”

Dr. Habib: “Yeah, look—”

Will: “Maybe it is. I don’t know. But she’s a moron.”

Dr. Habib: “You weren’t part of the equation.”

Will: “Ruined a perfectly good Beach Boys song. Wait, what do you mean?”

Dr. Habib: “I can’t really assess someone I haven’t met.”

Will: “Then why did you say it?”

Dr. Habib: “Because I can assess someone I haven’t met. My father left me volumes on the two of you. I had to get an extra filing cabinet.”

Will: “How was I not part of the equation?”

Dr. Habib: “MacKenzie got dumped by Brian. She got rejected. People react to that in different ways. When Brian started calling her again, she saw the chance to get unrejected and she took it. You weren’t even part of the equation. But once she got unrejected, she realized that she wasn’t in love with Brian in the first place, that she was in love with you, and she confessed the whole thing.”

Will: “Not right away.”

Dr. Habib: “Who cares about not right away? When she thought you were going to propose to her—”

Will: “Do you remember when I came in here yesterday without an appointment and interrupted your session with another patient?”

Dr. Habib: “I do remember that. It was yesterday.”

Will: “And you said that the trick was to forgive MacKenzie.”

Dr. Habib: “Yeah.”

Will: “I actually know that. Intellectually, in my brain, I know MacKenzie deserves to be forgiven. I understood everything you said. I understand she’s taken every punishment I’ve given her, including having Brian hang around the office and write his story. I understand she’s completely devoted to the show. I understand mistakes. I understand time has passed. I understand all of that. So why can’t I forgive her?”

Dr. Habib: “Because you weren’t rejected. You were betrayed.”

The Newsroom (Season 1, 2012)