The official announcement on the cancellation of the syndicated film review program "At the Movies" is one of the more classic pieces of corporate-speak I've had the privilege to read in quite some time. Here's the statement in full:After 24 seasons with us in national syndication, the highly regarded movie review show "At the Movies" (formerly known as "Siskel & Ebert" and "Ebert & Roeper") will air its last original broadcast the weekend of August 14, 2010.This was a very difficult decision, especially considering the program's rich history and iconic status within the entertainment industry, but from a business perspective it became clear this weekly, half-hour, broadcast syndication series was no longer sustainable. We gratefully acknowledge the outstanding work of the program's current co-hosts A.O. Scott and Michael Phillips and top-notch production staff, and it is with heartfelt appreciation that we extend very special thanks to the two brilliant, visionary and incomparable critics that started it all, Roger Ebert and the late Gene Siskel.
Connoisseurs of the idiom will of course revel in the concentration of the standard-issue weasel words and phrases. For those lucky enough to have had little or no exposure to the argot, here are some translations.
"Highly regarded"="Christ, this show gets lousy ratings."
"This was a very difficult decision"="This was pretty much the easiest decision I/we have ever made, ever."
"Rich history and iconic status"="Holy fuck, is this show STILL ON THE AIR? And we're still paying for it?"
"From a business perspective"="Even if the thing IS relatively inexpensive to produce, it's still eating into profits."
"No longer sustainable"=See "From a business perspective."
"We extend very special thanks"="We are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of executives removed from the clowns who green-lit this antique in the first place."
Don't get me wrong; I suppose the decision "makes sense" from the aforementioned "business perspective." I've enjoyed the episodes of "At The Movies" that I've seen, and, friendly relations with both fellows aside, I have much professional admiration for Scott and Phillips; they're knowledgeable, engaging, and they both know how to use the word "existential" correctly in a sentence (that is: rarely, if at all), all that sort of thing. But in the Changing Media Landscape, such as it is, critics and critical thought have become less, shall we say, telegenic, and...oh, my, I don't believe any of us are here for a rehashing of stuff that's being so thoroughly rehashed time and time again, and I'm certainly not the ideal person to contemplate the fact that in some respects the "A Couple Of White Middle-Aged Guys Sitting Around Talking About Movies" model maybe is, well, a little antique, so I'm going to leave this at that.