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June 18, 2011


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I know we all hate the "cultural vegetables" metaphor but I want to run with it for a bit. I think it's odd that Mr. Kois seems to have place himself into what he thinks is the defensable position of someone who doesn't want to eat their vegetables. If there were a culinary critic who disdained vegetables (or all Mexican food for that matter) would we take him seriously? Of course not, and it wouldn't be because we were all offended on behalf of broccoli.

Who complains about not wanting to eat their vegetables? Children. But as we get older, and experience more tastes we learn that vegetables can be quite good. No we'll never like all of them but shouldn't we always be excited to try new things and shouldn't be willing to revisit old things because, well, tastes change, which is why I'm glad I tried cole slaw again last week.

I kinda pity the man who thinks the experience of art and culture is to dig our feet into the sand and define what we like and dislike. I imagine Kois sitting at the table, with his lips squeezed tightly shut as we cinematic snobs call out, "C'mon Dan, open wide, here' comes the airplane!"


"@ George: I don't have any relationship with Longworth, nor any especial feeling of particular ill will toward her. Sometimes though, the jokes just write themselves, and I can't stop them."

You two were an entertaining duo on podcasts a few years ago.

She did sort of turn herself into a caricature of a hipster, with the hairdo and glasses that made her look like Hope Davis in "American Splendor." (I wondered if that was intentional or just an accident.) I wonder if she's recovered from that stage ... and the fashionable snarkiness that went with it.

Glenn Kenny

Well, George, like the man says, things change. If I had to choose a definitive tipping point with Longworth, I'd say it was that stunt she pulled with "Harmony and Me;" that is, writing it up from the completely fraudulent perspective of a disinterested critic making an exciting discovery, when in point of fact she was failing to disclose some not-entirely-insignificant social ties with the filmmakers. I understand I'm in a very poor position to be judgmental or self-righteous in such matters, but my purely subjective response was one of something more than mere distaste. Of course in the somewhat long run the piece didn't have any traction, so one could say "no harm, no foul." But still.

William Friedfood

What does "from England" mean?

A guy who doesn't understand your most commonly used twitter hashtag


Re: Longworth.

Yikes. This might have been forgivable when she was just blogging. (A lot of bloggers are really just fans, not critics or journalists.) But if it happened when she was at the LA Weekly, it's ... pretty bad.

And, yeah, the glowing review had no impact on the film's box office or critical standing. I had never heard of it until today.

Tom Russell

Mr. Friedfood, I believe this might explain it: http://somecamerunning.typepad.com/some_came_running/2010/10/these-guys-are-from-england-part-mclvii.html



Late to the party, and I don't often agree with you, but that blog post was spot on.


Clicked through and enjoyed the "These guys..." post. That Tosches line crushes it.


Y'know what? I've seen this happen before. I was a music critic, but I wasn't that good, so I left it to Michael McCall.

He's now working at the Country Music Hall of Fame. Which is great, because they have a Serious Library.

But Michael can capture that visceral way that music touches you and put it into words. He takes his work, and the history involved, seriously.

Yet this self-professed dilettante is published in Our Nation's Paper of Record. I guess he must be generating pageviews and hits with this bullshit about broccoli. It's tailor-made for right-wing whines about Cultcha and its Lefty Bias.

Fuck him in the heart.

That Fuzzy Bastard

Hunh---I missed that post, in which GK and friends delight in not knowing basic facts about major figures in the field in which one is professionally employed. I look forward to his thoughts on the influence of Kubrick's British upbringing on LOLITA.

Glenn Kenny

Don't forget "not caring," TFB. "Not caring" is pretty important there too.

But c'mon: it's pretty clear that Tosches gave the Carver book a pretty thorough reading! And the Kasem thing's an OUTTAKE! The correct information did get out on the air after all. No harm, no foul. I bet Kasem didn't give a shit about the lineup of Davie Allan and the Arrows back in the day either, so I have to give him points for consistency. Didn't know you were so sensitive about U2.

That Fuzzy Bastard

Well, I'm not a U2 fan, but it's just weird to have that piece linked in the middle of a thread arguing that a professional in a field is obligated to know some basic facts about that field! I mean, U2 was arguably the biggest band of the decade, and "Sunday, Bloody Sunday" was a major hit single---just basic historical knowledge would prevent such a dumb error, no matter how little you care about the most commercially successful practitioners of your chosen art form. Given U2's prominence in music of the 80s, this is less like not knowing the lineup of the Arrows and more like thinking the Rolling Stones were actually from Mississippi---whether or not you like the particular band, it really is a glaring and laughable display of professional ignorance. The film equivalent, I think, wouldn't be so much getting Kubrick's birthplace wrong---he's a considerably less prominent figure than U2---and more like referring to Julia Roberts as one of the many talented English actresses to break into American film.

It's not an outrage, just a weird slippage of standards. Unlike tweeting (not, I hope, on an illuminated screen) during a rare screening of AT LONG LAST LOVE!

Glenn Kenny

Dude, it's CASEY KASEM? Don't you get it? Negativeland did!

And no, I didn't tweet during the screening of "At Long Last Love." I saved all my aper├žus for afterwards, as I walked from Anthology to a birthday dinner for a friend. My Lovely Wife, who I shanghaied to the screening and who is still mildly traumatized, would never sit still for my even TOUCHING my Blackberry during a film. Nor, as a matter of fact, would I! What do I look like, Eric Kohn?

That Fuzzy Bastard

Well that's a relief! I was at the screening (and much to my surprise, loved it), and saw no screen, but I woulda been shocked! Appalled!

But yeah, it is indeed Casey Kasem, who is indeed dumber than a box of rocks. But as the scourging of Kois demonstrates, "I don't care" isn't a defense for ignorance.


Thank you, lipranzer.


I've had no luck digging up the date of Kasem's rant, but U2 likely was not yet a commercial phenomenon at the time, given that he goes to the trouble of spelling out their name ("that's the letter U and the numeral 2"); he clearly doesn't expect the average listener to know who they are. And now that I check, it appears that U2 didn't land a song in the U.S. top 40 until "Pride (In the Name of Love)." And even that barely squeaked in, peaking at #33. Not until "With or Without You" did they really make it big stateside. So it's more as if Kasem got Julia Roberts' nationality wrong when she was in MYSTIC PIZZA.

Also, he doesn't give a shit.


If, as Glenn says, Kasem was introducing "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" when he got all ranty, it's harder to believe he wouldn't have known who the band was. That song came out in 1987 and became the second consecutive Billboard #1 single from The Joshua Tree LP (after "With or Without You"). And "Pride (In the Name of Love)" had previously hit the Top 40 in 1984 (my guess is that's the song he was doing the intro for). But, yeah, still, these guys are from England, etc.


I doubt Kasem was introducing that particular song. That's just the song Negativland used. Very hard to believe he'd be saying "that's the letter U and the numeral 2" after the band had hit #1. Makes much more sense if he was introducing a minor hit from a band who'd never charted before.

jim emerson

Then there was the one where Casey had to do a death dedication when coming out of an up-tempo record: http://j.mp/lw9lSo

But what I really wanted to say was this: When I encounter something like Kois's article I don't think it's a question of "taste." Sure, taste is something you're born with, or you acquire and develop as you learn and grow. This, I think, is more a matter of core values -- as if I were to try to have a conversation about morality with a religious fundamentalist. Even if we reached the same conclusions, we wouldn't be likely to do so for the same reasons. When I read Kois's article I quickly realized we don't value the same things in movies. (I've run into the same thing with the Nolan fans at my blog, too. Some think movies are puzzles and that as long as everything is explained, one way or another, they're satisfied.) So, I think it's a little too easy to say (not that anybody here was) that, "Oh, we have different tastes." More like, "Oh, we have entirely different value systems, conceptions about what movies are, and what we find worthwhile in them."


"And I gotta come out of a record that is a fuckin' up tempo record, and I gotta talk about a fuckin' dog dying! And I also wanna know what happened to the PICTURES I was supposed to see this week!"

I've always wondered about those pictures.


I'd just like to point out that Andrei Rublev is available to view in HD on Youtube.


Yum yum.


This discussion needs to start over with an honest appraisal of the current situation for real film critics, as Glenn defines them here.

The NY Times piece implies a kind of freedom and freewheeling critical community that doesn't exist. In actuality, it's more dependent upon consensus and safety than any time since Kael and Sarris started quarreling.

And for the record, I know Tony is carrying the weathered Kael party line on "Marienbad," but if you actually go back and read her dismissal of the film, it's clear that a) she didn't understand the film and b) the other thing she lost at the movies, at least at that one, was her sense of humor.

Viva Robbe-Grillet.

Jorge Semprun RIP.

Tom Russell

The thing is, in the clip Emerson linked to a couple days back-- Kasem is *right*. Like Orson Welles and "In July", people often act like they're behaving badly, or like they're assholes or something, but they're not-- they're 100% right, they're professionals, and they're expecting the people they're working with to also act like professionals; they know their shit, and expect that others do the same.

Shit Stirrer

Just curious if you've read "A Visit From The Goon Squad" and if so I can't help but wonder if you noted some familial resemblance.

Posts like this are why.

Glenn Kenny

@ S. Stirrer: I have the book, but have yet to read. Hope it's better than "The Emperor's Children."

Shit Stirrer

Chapter 9.


Sam: The version of ANDREI RUBLEV is the official Mosfilm's release, not the Criterion director's cut. At least that's what the running times indicate.

Glenn Kenny

@ Shit Stirrer: Yeah, ar ar ar. I can see that being "clever" isn't working out too well for you, either.

That Fuzzy Bastard

Haven't read Goon Squad or the not-really-related Emporer's Children, but Egan's "Look At Me'" is one of my favorites of the decade.


Fuzzy Bastard, I really liked "Look at Me" too, which I nearly gave up on initially. The premise and the first few chapters led me to think it'd be a chick-litty, Alice Hoffman-esque sort of book. But I'm glad I stuck with it, because it turned out to be an intricately plotted, ambitious and eerily prescient novel. I really recommend "Goon Squad" as well, which, for me, lived up to the hype.

I'm also not sure what the "Emperor's Children" connection is, but I hated that book.

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