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February 11, 2010

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Fuzzy Bastarrd

For the record, I don't object to this at all! I hate it when personal attacks on critics get wrapped up in commentary on movies themselves---I think it muddies the waters. And I hate it when commentary on critics becomes nerd-camp sniping about grammar, access to region-free DVDs, personal habits, or other deeply boring topics. But talking about critics as writers and political actors, and judging the arguments they're making, seems perfectly fair. Not that you needed my permission, but just for the record.

As for the specifics: The Big Hollywood crowd, like most conservative activists get indignant when accused of being mean, stupid, or violent, even as they fervently defend their sacred right to be all those things. Similarly they scream that they're being condescended to whenever someone criticizes them, and it's pathetic.

To post a picture of someone insisting that they're "Revolting Against Socialism" without gently explaining to that person that maybe they don't understand what socialism means, now that's condescending (unless, like Nolte, you're too dumb or ignorant to understand the word yourself). As I think Joe Klein said, telling you that you're wrong when you're wrong is the opposite of condescending; it's telling you that you're a good, true and inherently wise American when you're spouting nonsense that implies contempt for your ability to think.

By the way---weren't the kids in "Dead End" implying that they were, in fact, very eager to "hurtcha"? Maybe the comparison is more apt than Nolte thinks.

bill

Learn from Fuzzy Bastard - It's okay to insult certain people, just not the people he likes. The end.

Glenn Kenny

Aw, shit. Here we go.

You know, sometimes I think that maybe I must be on acid or something. Because as I'm writing stuff like this, I"m not thinking, "Hey, I'm really gonna stir up some controversy here," or, "Well, this will certainly start a fight." No, I'm thinking, "I hope somebody says, 'Man, that was hilarious what you said about how that Big Hollywood writer should call herself The Pam Meister.'" Seriously. That's what I'm thinking.

bill

If it makes you feel any better, Glenn, I came very close to not saying anything at all. Why that should make you feel any better, I don't know.

Fuzzy Bastarrd

No, Bill, I just don't like insulting to get wrapped up in discussions of movies. Keeping them in separate categories is just fine. As for those I like vs those I don't, SCR is probably not the place for an extended discussion of why anyone who thinks Obama's policies are socialist is an imbecile, while anyone who thinks Palin is blowhard is an objective observer of reality.

And sorry Glenn, Edroso beat you to "The Pam Meister" years ago.

Matt Miller

The only part of this piece that I disagree with is the idea that Nolte's M.O. has changed since he started cashing Breitbart's paychecks. Purposefully drumming up the fervor of his stupider readers while keeping enough of a cool demeanor to disassociate himself from them (if need be) was his schtick at his own blog, and prior to that, when he was the head blogger at Libertas.

F, brother of T

Gentle men, put up thy rapiers.

Gareth

I guess just to speak up in response to bill, I don't really like these kinds of posts even when they tend to - as on this occasion - align with my own politics. I value Glenn's blog for his writing on films and the people who make them and write about them rather than for his interest in the various interactions, on- and offline, between various writers, bloggers, critics, etc. But this is his blog and those are among his interests, and I wouldn't keep coming back if I didn't value the place; it's pretty easy for me to focus on his posts on Siodmak or Farber or Ford much more closely than those on Wells, Longworth, or Big Hollywood.

Tom Russell

I don't have anything to add re: the holes in Nolte's piece nor the politics at the heart of it. I will, however, say a few words in favour of twitter. To be clear at the outset, I know you're being satirical when you say us twitter users are retarded, as I always make it a point to read a footnote, so I hope this doesn't come across as any sort of passionate defense or that I've taken any umbrage.

I tried my hand at Facebook years and years ago and I didn't click with it. The whole thing seemed kind of weird and pointless and also redundant; if I want to find out about someone, I visit their webpage. If I want to get in touch with them, I send them this thing called an e-mail. I just didn't get it, and I was much the same way when my wife (now of six years and two days, yay!) insisted that we get on, gah, twitter.

If Facebook seemed kinda weird, twitter seemed stranger, and I bristled at the 140 character limit. I am, as various comments in these parts will no doubt atest, generally more than a little long-winded. And in fact we would have been one of those many many people who join twitter, don't get it, and then quit, if we hadn't started participating in live-tweets.

Live-tweeting is much like live-blogging, only it's more public-- cinephiles all watching the same film together at the same time and sharing observations, commenting on what the other has said, and arguing with one another. Kinda like a more chaotic and idiosyncratic version of a commentary track. It's often as interesting and invigorating as a discussion on a blog, but it's more immediate and social, emulating the tenor of an actual conversation.

And I'm sure you're probably saying, well, if I wanted to do something like that, I'd invite some people over, put on a movie, and we'd HAVE an actual conversation about it. And, sure, that would be preferable, and, in New York, which has no shortage of intelligent cinephiles, certainly plausible. I'm unfortunately in Michigan, and my social group contains far less cinephiles and far too many passionate gorehounds. Discussions of ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST or THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER are hard to come by.

Using twitter has helped me to understand Facebook/social networking media in general, though I still prefer twitter because it has, (1), this conversational feel and, (2), to my mind, a greater capacity for that social networking. Most twitter feeds are public, so you don't have to wait for someone you don't know to accept your friend request before you start to get to know them. The highest number of hits we get to our website are from twitter (the second highest, from people clicking on my name on the bottom of my comments on this site). The pull quote we have on our SON OF A SEAHORSE poster was one we took from a tweet. For me personally it's been a lot more successful than facebook, both in terms of making friends, "contacts" (ugh, what a terrible word), and in getting other people to pay attention to us.

[And I would be remiss if after expending these words about twitter if I didn't point out the livetweet of Jim Jarmusch's GHOST DOG: WAY OF THE SAMURAI this Saturday (2/13) at midnight that I'm leading as @tomandmary. Joining me will be Ugo.com horror critic & New York Post blogmeister Simon Abrams (@simonsaybrams), cinephile and underscore enthusiast @patrick_pogo, and West Coast filmmaker/producer Marya Murphy (@maryamurphy). Follow along under the hashtag #ghostdog. It'll be keen.]

Roger Mexico

Following "The Pam Meister" nicknaming it is only appropriate that Rob Schneider, or Norm Macdonald by way of Schneider, who provides the proper response to this hullabaloo:

Sgt. Sisk: Ladies and gentlemen, our suspect is not human. He is at home in the bush. Shoot to kill. Any questions?
Mob Member: Oh, yeah, yeah, I got a question there. When do we get to light our torches?
Sgt. Sisk: When it gets dark.
Mob Member: Ah, I see. Oh, hey, I got another question there. Suppose, hypothetically, you know, a guy had already lit his torch. I mean, it'd be cool if he could just keep it lit, huh?
Sgt. Sisk: Yes.
Mob Member: Oh, excellent. Excellent.
Sgt. Sisk: Now, if there are no more questions...
Mob Member: Oh, hey, hey, hey, I got another question. Hey, uh, if one part of the mob gets separated from another part of the mob, shouldn't there be a place that we can get together? Maybe a secret place the two mobs could reunite, and we'd be a big mob again.
Sgt. Sisk: Stay with the mob.
Mob Member: Stay with the mob. All right.
Sgt. Sisk: Right.
Mob Member: Hey, hey, hey, I got another question. Hey, uh, doesn't this guy deserve a fair trial?
Sgt. Sisk: You - back of the mob!
Mob Member: "Back of the mob"? What? This is my spot! I came early!
Sgt. Sisk: Okay, *out* of the mob!
Mob Member: Ah, this mob blows.

The Siren

Ebert tweeted our Film Preservation Blogathon, thus validating the whole damn service in my view.

He has also been publishing reviews in which his politics are apparent for lo these 40 years, so anyone subscribing to his Twitter feed can hardly claim to be blindsided, unless they haven't actually read his writing.

The rich kid from Dead End is an odd reference; the plot turns on the fact that when the kid does come down, he gets the stuffing kicked out of him. And then gets kidnapped. But hey, at least Nolte maybe prompted some people to rent it. Good movie.

Ryan Kelly

Man, that was hilarious what you said about how that Big Hollywood writer should call herself The Pam Meister.

Glenn Kenny

See, people? How hard was THAT? Even if Edroso did get there first (that being another reason I don't often address such topics.)

Owain Wilson

Cute kitten.

dogandpony

I laughed hard enough to spray spit out on my computer screen when I read "my conclusion came out different..."
I also liked the effortless succinctness of "give Vincent Gallo a call sometime".

Jimmy

Say Glenn...did ya see "Valentine's Day" yet?

hisnewreasons

A few stray thoughts in regards to "Regarding Roger" --

-- Truck drivers and beauticians can spend hundreds of dollars to hear Sarah Palin speak? They must have good unions.

-- I haven't seen "Dead End," but I did see "Other People's Money" when it was still running off-Broadway. So imagine my surprise when John Nolte cited Larry the Liquidator's climatic speech as an examplar of "compassionate" conservatism. You know, the monologue where Larry greets the prospect of workers losing their jobs with a sneering "Who cares?" I wonder if any of the salt-of-the-earth types that Nolte seemingly praises would find it so compassionate.

-- Of course, listing the occupations of Tea Partiers is not a very coherent defense of their actual politics. But, as others have noted, coherency isn't Nolte's speciality.

Gonzalo

Let's say it twice just in case
mate, that was hilarious what you said about how that Big Hollywood writer should call herself The Pam Meister.

Tom Russell

It goes without saying that The Pam Meister, or "master of Pam", is a terrible cook! Everyone knows you're supposed to use butter or olive oil.

Ed Hulse

There's no point in trying to discuss anything, especially politics, with someone whose primary gambit is, "If you don't agree with me, you're an imbecile." I've been down that road before, and it's a waste of time. If the Big Hollywood guys are such jerks, why give their comments any additional bandwidth?

John M

That last comment you cite--"Poor Roger Ebert. He has no God."--reminds me of a short verbal scuffle I had with a woman in an airport. I can't remember what it was about, exactly--something involving me trying to make a connecting flight and her making sure her small dog was comfy in his cage--but I do remember it ending with her saying, "May you die and go to heaven."

To this date, the most passive aggressive thing I've ever been told.

Steven Santos

Isn't this the usual "I am outraged, just outraged that someone speaks ills of other's political beliefs" schtick when we all know if Ebert had tweeted pot shots that agree with Nolte's views, Nolte would be more than okay with it? And that isn't something restricted to one political party as much as it is about the ability for people in this country to go into self-victimization mode in record time.

This is the internet. If you don't like what anyone says, you can write and formulate your own argument about why they're full of crap and publish it as opposed to trying to create some bullshit high moral ground by taking down someone's character as opposed to their logic.

You would think the internet was invented so that people could exclaim that they are angry without bothering to explain why they're angry. It's like all those people in "Network" screaming out their windows that they're mad as hell only because they saw Howard Beale do it on television.

P.S. Glenn, I laughed at Pam Meister, but this blog definitely needs more stoner cat.

Ripshin

I don't Tweet or Book, or whatever, and I've learned not to read Ebert's political blogs on his web site. But, I love his film reviews, and never confuse the two. And, hey, I agree with only about half of the movie comments. It was once a fun "hobby" to participate in blogs at various film/social sites, etc......but now, the experience involves a bunch of screeching idiots. And, yes, "teabaggers" IS an appropriate nickname for that group of, um, folks.

Dan Coyle

Hey, Nolte probably lurks here- a man who bleats about "cool kids" and the "palace guard" and other high school level bullshit at much as he does can't NOT gravitate towards a place like this- so, John, why not say hello?

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