Friday, December 16, 2005

MY WAR ON IDIOCY, HOWEVER, PROCEEDS APACE. Rod Dreher, former film critic of the New York Post and professional Ned Flanders impersonator, tells his fellow anti-aesthetes at NRO why he don' gotta see no Brokeback Mountain to know them critics only like it because it's gay and thus appeals to their insatiable hunger for novelty:
Without quite realizing it--this happened to me as a conservative -- critics become suckers for novelty, especially of the transgressive sort. At its worst, you end up with a theater full of the most important film critics in North America at the 1998 Toronto Film Festival, roaring their approval of the creepy and misanthropic Todd Solondz's film "Happiness," which featured, among other transgressive delights, a comic set piece showing a suburban dad trying to drug his son's little playmate so he could anally rape him (he succeeded). It was one of the sickest movies I've ever had to sit through, but it received rave reviews--and, unsurprisingly, flopped at the box office.
The critics had to be wrong, see, because John Q. Public preferred.. what? Let's look at Happiness' opening week U.S. grosses. The box office champ was Eddie Murphy in The Holy Man, by the noted auteur Steven Herek. The title has the word "Holy" in it, so maybe Dreher interprets this as a victory for his pal Jesus. Also, #2 was One Tough Cop, starring noted Republican Stephen Baldwin. Clearly America was sending Solondz a message.

Yeah, critics are frequently out of step with the People. Like that arty-farty Citizen Kane? Those fairies still think it's some kind of masterpiece, but us normal people know better. Hell, it ain't even in color!

Fortunately we have people like Dreher around to tell us that his opinion and, he includes generously, the opinions of all professional critics, from Manny Farber on down, are no more meaningful than that of any brain-damaged cineplex trawler. That's the kind of conservative he is -- the kind that apparently really needs to identify with the LCD, despite his book-larnin'.

Just don't let the boys know ole Dreher gave thumbs-up to American Beauty. In no time he'll be screaming "But I was suckered by its trangressive novelty!" as they back him up against the fag-killin' wall.

UPDATE. I will point out that Dreher hasn't even seen Brokeback Mountain -- though that should go without saying, as the new schtick in rightwing circles is to mouth off about pictures you haven't watched!

For instance, get a load of this Freeper thread about Munich -- it's almost semiotic: they don't know what happens in the movie at all, but boy do they respond to the signifers "Palestine" and "Hollywood"! (Favorite quote: "I love movies about historical events. I would like to see this, but if it becomes a platform for making excuses for what these terrorist scum did, I'll ask for my money back." Oh, boy, wouldn't you love to be there: "Ah done come all the way down t' the city, leavin' behind mah wife an' kids an' giant TV an' the hitchhiker I was rapin' and torturin', an' ah has to put up with this here moral relativism? Fill mah hand, you son-of-a-bitch!")

And there's always Ann Althouse, who blows a gasket when one of her commenters asks why she's talking so much about (unseen by AA) King Kong:
...I'm not "posting a review." I'm blogging, which means I can write about my thoughts however I see fit. I try to make it interesting for myself and for readers. Dutifully seeing movies and reviewing them -- why would that be better? Because I ought to be fair to the guys who make movies? They don't deserve fairness! They try to con us into going to see junk that we end up not liking -- and they get our money all the time for that.
"Seeing movies and reviewing them -- why would that be better?" And a college professor is asking this question! The next time someone tells you that blogs are the wave of the future, show him that. He may still think they're the wave of the future, but he won't be so happy about it.

UPDATE. Professor Althouse declares me a "silly man," links to a movie timetable in Madison, WI, and issues what I believe is called a bleg ("Any examples of an actor or actress that does nostril-flaring spoofily, for deliberate comic effect?"). A commenter notes that Ellsworth Toohey is a bad guy in The Fountainhead. The blogosphere: is there anything it can't do?

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