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March 18, 2009


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Once, on another blog, I called David Edelstein an asshole, and then he showed up out of nowhere and started yelling at me. The internet truly is a dangerous place.

Glenn Kenny

Well, Bill, you DID call him an asshole. I didn't do anything close to that. I wrote something entirely innocuous and self-deprecating about my non-relationship with Edelstein's preferred mom, Pauline Kael, that solicited a couple of creepily hostile e-mails from Mr. E. In on of them he said "if I ever blog so boringly I hope somebody shoots me." This was before he began blogging. And yet, he remains, strangely, unshot. Anyhow, said e-mails upset me, very nearly ruining an evening in which I had invested nearly $500 in theater tickets. Fuckin' jagoff.

So remember, kids, when you see that blandly smiling guy with the brown jacket talkin' all purty about movies on that CBS Sunday morning program, remember that one slightly twisted dude lies behind that benign, putty-like facade.


Aw, for shame! As far as I'm concerned, your function was to vote for the good stuff and keep the marathon meetings entertaining at our end of the table. Marcy & I will miss you come December -- if we can keep up with our own word count requirements...


Well bill I think that Mr Edelstein definitively prove his non-asshole status there! ;-D


"Well, Bill, you DID call him an asshole."

Well, yeah. But still. I assure you, and colinr, that I had my reasons.

On another, more positive note, I believe that Paul Rudd is a force of good in this world.

Glenn Kenny

Sorry Jurgen! Nice to know I'll be missed, but I'm sure you and Marcy and I will find some social opportunities at which to keep each other entertained.

In other news, some bizarre form of professional courtesy compels me to point out that, of the irksome colleagues cited above, Mr. Edelstein is, all else aside, far and away the best writer, in a walk yet. But still something of a dingus.

Tom Russell

You've made the case for Mr. Edelstein's dingusness, and Armond White's dingusocitude is, I think, a matter of public record. But what is it that makes Dana Stevens so irksome?

Glenn Kenny

@Tom Russell: I found Stevens to be a very engaging film blogger, but really think that her going to work for Slate transformed her into a humorless social-concern troll of the highest order. Her seemingly endless complaints about the lack of abortions in "Knocked Up" were not just puling and sanctimonious, but stupidly self-serving.

Tom Russell

Ah, yes, that makes sense.

I think Stevens can still be engaging and quite funny at times-- I really loved, for example, her snarky dismissal of The Reader: "Boohoo, I Bonked an Illiterate Nazi". Even when I disagree with her opinions-- which is frequently (seriously? how can you hate The Darjeeling Limited?)-- I find that I enjoy reading what she has to say.... when she stays away from the social concern high horse.

When she does get all "social-concerny", I do indeed find my level of enjoyment rapidly dwindling. The same thing happens/happened whenever Elvis Mitchell stopped one of his reviews to masturbate to Zooey Deschanel and whenever Roger Ebert completely and totally misinterpets the tone of a film (Napoleon Dynamite is mean-spirited? Really?).

Darn; I was hoping there was some kind of Edelstein-type hostile e-mail anecdote to account for your glaring. Not that I wish ill feelings between anyone, but because (loathe as I am to admit it) I do love little bits of gossip/sniping.


>>Once, on another blog, I called David Edelstein an asshole, and then he showed up out of nowhere and started yelling at me.<<

That, Bill, and you did chant "I summon thee" three times.

Glenn Kenny

@Tom: Sorry to disappoint. I actually met Stevens years ago, when she was blogging as Liz Penn, and she struck me as very decent and very nice. It's possible she still is, although given the self-importance that's infected her writing since, I couldn't authoritatively say.


I've always enjoyed Edelstein's writing, but I emailed him once and he didn't write back, and you do make him sound quite mental, so screw him. You could outblog him with both hands tied behind your back, btw. You have a particular talent for it.

But I'm assuming there was some give and take in that email exchange, no?

Glenn Kenny

Well, since you bring it up, Josh, I might as well say now that I've got some word-eating to do.

My quarrels with White and Stevens are based solely on what they put into print, and I stand by my statements about them. (I wonder if the folks out there who insist on White's greatness are going to start attending church more often, given his sneering at the "secular movie mob" that praises Steve McQueen's "Hunger." I won't bet on it.) My squabble with David Edelstein was of a more private nature, and my hurt and confusion over it led me to nurse a grudge. But it really wasn't a grudge that I ought to have aired in public, and I'm sorry for doing that.

If any good has come out of this, it's that through a subsequent recent exchange with David, which I will keep private, we've arrived at, I think—I hope—at least a detente. Which I intend to keep in place. Allow me to suggest a clean slate here, and if you think that means I'm wimping out, so be it. One picks one's battles, and David is someone I'd prefer not to fight with anymore.

Michelle Orange

You really quit? How come? That saddens me.


Prompted by your comment, I just read Armond's review of Hunger (which I saw yesterday). Leaving aside whether he's right about the substance, I just couldn't get over how astonishingly bad his writing is. It reminded me a little of watching a presidential debate, where there's often no effort to engage with the questions but instead a mindless reiteration of pre-planned but half-cooked tropes: cinema/art, art-gallery, museum charade, artiste, art-major, artsnobbery, art postures, art school, art students, art project. Some of his paragraphs are completely nonsensical.


I'm really glad that you and Mr. Edelstein have worked things out. So many could learn from your example.

Mike De Luca

Is it off-topic to say that "I Love You, Man" is one of the more unabashedly-likeable films to come down the pike in a while? "All the world's a stage and we are merely players".

Glenn Kenny

Not off-topic at all. And agreed. It is, for all its crude humor, an unabashedly sweet-natured picture, which quality some of its more priggish detractors have willfully missed.

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