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October 16, 2009


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Fuzzy Bastarrd

But Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel was a *fantastic* act!


Oh, that's not so nasty. It's very, very good, and very to the point, but it ain't exactly mean.

Glenn Kenny

@ Fuzzy Bastard: I actually admire the hell out of Thirlwell and his music, but I really didn't feel he quite CONVINCED in his Jim-Morrison-with-backing-tapes mode. What can I tell ya?

trooper york

Wow. That was great. Absolutely great.

Joseph "Jon" Lanthier

Quite entertaining. Makes one wonder, though, what inchoate critics Mr. Glenn Kenny may have looked askance at. With harmony, now: Will the circle be unbroken?


Joseph (or Jon) - Unless I'm completely misreading Glenn's piece, the point is more about the reaction to the look than the look itself.

Joseph "Jon" Lanthier

Bill: I picked up on that, but could see myself, in my semi-youth, reacting similarly to a perceived look or remark of disapproval from someone I greatly admire, such as Glenn. So I was trying to make a joke out of what I see as the cyclical nature of Glenn's implied point here. This is why I probably shouldn't attempt humor too often...

Joseph "Jon" Lanthier

Ok, here's where I went wrong. The comment above should read:

"Makes one wonder, though, how many inchoate critics think that Mr. Glenn Kenny has looked askance at them."


Merci, cher Glenn (orthographe correcte).


Damn Kenny and I thought I was paranoid...I like how you don't name names(last names) although 90% of blog readers don't even remember what
bloggers write about mostly crap films the week before..I guess some of
your friends read you.Otherwise keep up the good work


Nice, Glenn. Being younger both professionally and chronologically, not to mention as a West Coaster, I had only one brush with La Kael.

Back when I was Senior Editor of American Film, I went to a very long lead screening of "The Grifters" on the Sony lot in Culver City. The only other soul in the room was Kael. We shared neither word nor glance, but when Mark Pogochevsky called me the next day to find out what I thought of the film, I said, "Hah: I'm not falling for *that* trap. You just put me down for whatever Pauline Kael said."

Does anyone in arts criticism of or in any medium today have anything like that sort of effect on peers? I think not. In fact, I'm sure not.


PS: Is that a "Grandmaster Flash at the Wheels of Steel" nod at the end? Niiiiiiiice.


You should have seen Foetus in his Wiseblood incarnation, backed by Roli Mosimann out of Front 242, plus, er, backing tapes. They were something to behold.


File under Nits comma picking of: "Passionate Kisses" was on Lucinda Willams' third album, which came out in 1988, indeed on Rough Trade.

The First Bill C

I'll bet I'm the only one here who actually discovered you via "Video Review", Glenn, which I had a subscription to from the age of 12 on. (I was a weird kid, too.) And Molly Haskell and Andrew Sarris, too, if memory serves. (Seems to me Sarris--or was it Ed...Something?--always had the lead review, and you got the weird, culty shit towards the back.) I really gotta dig those back issues out of storage someday.

But I dunno, you can throw a dismissive glance with the best of 'em, so this piece strikes me as sort of...eye-ronic.


So the moral of the story is : if you find employers who hates the same people as you do, they will find your papers great. But editors who don't share your taste will find your papers not good enough for publication...?
To me, it sounds like partisanship and self-indulgence. That doesn't speaks well of the kind of press that would act this way. At any rate, this is far from true (independent) criticism. Let alone inherant literary qualities that would warrant immediate publication, regardless of the opinion it purports.
Oh well. As long as you can keep selling autobiographical material... ;)

Glenn Kenny

Okay, I was gonna keep my mouth shut and let those who got the joke enjoy it, but Mr. Tuttle's complete incomprehension of what's going on here compels me to make a clarification. Even though the mention of a "pastiche" in the prior post, a "burlesque" in the post at the Auteurs', a direct link to the post I'm pastiching/parodying/making fun of in the prologue to my "remembrance," and my adoption of a persona from an episode of "The Mighty Boosh" might serve as indications of a certain amount of leg-pulling, I apparently need to put up a neon sign reading "joke" every time I want to make one. Not to compare myself to S.J. Perelman, but I wonder how he would feel about working under such circumstances.

So, let me just make it clear: the story related above never happened. Sure, it's packed with real-life factual details to give it "verisimilitude"—including a tribute to my old friend Rosemary Passantino, who's still a pal and got out of this racket while the getting was good, nods to real-life friends of Kael (some of whom are friends of mine still, and I trust they're not offended), and an authentic-seeming timetable viz my own career.

However. Just to set things straight. I never laid eyes on Kael my whole life, and she never laid eyes on me. I never wrote, let alone tried to publish, an essay called "Pauline Kael Glared At Me At A Press Screening, etc." and I was never hired at any job because of any such essay. And I shudder to think that anyone in their right mind would believe that doing so could actually have gotten me a job. There is no "moral" to the story, HarryTuttle. It's a JOKE, motivated by the self-serious response of an online critic to a snub that even she admits may not have happened. Hence, by the way, the title, "The time Pauline Kael looked at me funny, I think."


jim emerson

I thought I'd already thanked you for this, but maybe I forgot to submit it. Anyway: A belated Thank You. I grinned all the way through. Except now I'm worried: Are there Armondettes?


Even with your explanation I don't get it. I don't know, I'm trying to make sense of your joke. Is there no moral in jokes? Freud knew otherwise...
The analogy with the Armond-Longworth feud is rather tenuous. Your fantasized situation is not comparable, especially not regarding their respective moral. You equate Armond White's public declarations with an unrelated overheard (seen) private fart joke? Did you mean to ridicule the legitimacy to engage with the talking points stated at an official critics' panel.
Now I'm wondering why The Auteurs would censor a "joke"? why do you need to poll your readers for the permission to post this "pastiche"? or was that part of the "joke" build up too?

Are you the same Glenn Kenny who sent "quote whores" to a Middle East oil emirate in a recent Soderbergh movie? Abud Dhabi is not Dubai, but close enough. The irony of the situation is more convoluted it appears...
How funny that critics focused on the realism of this call girl's life, while Soderbergh's point was just a clever metaphor for movie reviewers.

Steven Santos

Actually, I don't care what Glenn says, this piece is an allegory for the war in Afghanistan with Kael representing Afghanistan and young Glenn representing the United States. Don't let the author's explanations fool you.

Plus, it must have really happened because Sweet Dreams is a real movie and the Brill Building actually exists, so the rest of it must be true, right?

Tom Russell

I might not always agree with you, Mr. Santos, but that bit cracked me the hell up. Thank you for that.


Methinks HarryTuttle should probably go back to guerilla air conditioning repair and cease trying to put words together.


Funny, I interpreted the post as a cautionary tale if anything...

you know kind of like that voice in the old horror movies that wails "get out!"...but in this case it was more like a "don't try" and sort of whimpered.

In any event those movies were boring...


"When you don’t have laurels to rest upon, when you don’t hide behind a reputation made-up by a self proclaimed corporation, an anonymous must earn respect with each new article."

The most interesting thing i've read on any of these threads

The Confidence Man

I'm just curious about one thing: how *did* Greil Marcus make his living?

Glenn Kenny

@ Confidence Man: He had/has what they call "family" money. For a while there was a rumor that he was a scion to the Neiman-Marcus fortune, but that was not true. Would've been damn pretty to think so, though.

Just for the record: I am an intermittent admirer of Marcus' work, and I have nothing at all against wealthy people who write. I might have liked to have been one myself.

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