Monday, January 9, 2012

taking my medicine department, Dana Stevens edition

Just a note: years ago, I wrote a snotty post about Dana Stevens's work as film critic at Slate, over at the American Scene. While I don't take back all of the specific points I made in that post, I have since regretted it, and talked about the reason for my regret and the nature of the Internet here.

Anyway-- to take it a step further, just let me say that I loved this year's installment of the Slate Movie Club, and I found Stevens to be engaging and well-written in her role as host.


Anonymous said...

I don't blame you, you were writing for a conservative site after all, you HAD to throw them some bone and shit on a leftish site (at least leftish in the eyes of conservatives). But nooooo, you're the only progressive who would never ever sell out, unlike those other bloggers like Yglesias, Klein, Coates and all those horrible people, right?

Freddie said...

Didnt read!

sweet tooth said...

Read your link over breakfast. Can't believe you would expend so much vitriol and plain nastiness criticizing someone reviewing movies. I'm done commenting here. I love your political posts and your sympathy for the suffering and the alienated but you appear to have some kind of internet or cultural derangement syndrome. Not trying to be harsh, I've known it myself, but the whole thing is such a tiresome and bloated echo chamber and there is just no reason to criticize so cruelly and gleefully someone who is simply reviewing movies. Ephemera swatting ephemera. It is a waste of passion.

sweet tooth said...

Okay, just realized my post was unfair, because you did call it snotty, and you did regret it.

My apologies.

I was so irked that I forgot about the context.

But damn, man.

Maybe next time you get upset at some person writing silly things on the internet you should go buy some whiskey and drink it where the homeless are and hang out and talk to them and then when you come back I promise you will not give a shit anymore what that silly person wrote on the internet.

cheers and have a good day!

Freddie said...

That's actually in keeping with my experience online: people don't give a shit about apology or appreciate reform.

jcapan said...

"I love your political posts and your sympathy for the suffering and the alienated but you appear to have some kind of internet or cultural derangement syndrome."

Agree on both counts, which adds a layer of irony to the resentment machine post, as you seem to be a one-man cottage industry for the phenom.

I haven't been around for a while like some, but I keep thinking back to this comment:

It seems that many readers agree with a good deal of your work (except for the Yggles obsession) but could do without the personalized flame wars, which are a distraction. You may be right that your content alienates the kewl kids club, that you'll never be admitted to Versailles on the Potomac, but who gives a shit.

And perhaps the above, snazzy post indicates a looming change.

Freddie said...

But you'll understand my dilemma: one of my principle objections is about how people couch their disagreements online. There's an awful lot of disagreements that, in their commission, reaffirm the relational and procedural aspects of online discourse that I find corrupt. You're of course free to reject my definition of that corruption. But what I never want to be is one who objects in just the right way. I find being a bit of a punk generative and necessary. That doesn't mean that I'm not trying to change. I do want to be more constructive. But what is constructive must be defined by me, and not by a community that I find comprehensively unfair.

I don't know.

Anonymous said...

"I find being a bit of a punk generative and necessary. .... But what is constructive must be defined by me, and not by a community that I find comprehensively unfair."

So it's necessary to make ad-hominem attack on other people's personal lives, for no other reason than you want to show that their ideology is corrupt? And what is the ideology of a movie reviewer that is so corrupt that you have to employ the same method you employ to bash people like Yglesias, Klein and TNC? And you consider it constructive to say things like TNC's commenters are closet racist who actually think he's stupid but only praise him and agree with him because of white guilt, yeah, that's above and beyond being a "punk", that's sailing close to being a racist yourself. Not to mention a coward who doesn't have the guts to come right out and say that you think TNC is an untalented hack who got where he is because he's black, since it's obvious to everyone that's what really bothering you about TNC.

Anonymous said...

I mean, obviously what could be more "punk" and sticking it to the establishment than calling a black guy unfit for his job, right?

sweet tooth said...

Some thoughts.

First time I found your blog was a link on FDL directing me to that lengthy and eloquent essay about how there are no Leftists on the blogosphere, etc.

I liked it a lot, it encapsulated my own thoughts quite superbly, and so I sent it to a bunch of my friends. However, I did cut out a bunch of sections, namely all the griping about "liberal" centrist bloggers you despise, and which, in the world-historical context of the essay, seemed trivial and small-beans, like you suddenly started swatting at flies buzzing about you. (Accept the flattering metaphor!)

Here's how I see it. Not many people comment on your blogs. Maybe most of them are like me, people who never or almost never comment on blogs but feel a certain solidarity or kinship with your worldview but simultaneously a repulsion for your willingness to PUBLICLY attack people -- not just their ideologies -- for the sin of being popular.

I wonder, tho, is it possible "your readers" are also like me in that we don't actually read all these bloggers you get so pissed off about! I mean, geez, aren't they what you say they are? Unoriginal, cliquish, trite, toadying, bland, aggressively mediocre, etc etc.

So I guess for some of us it just doesn't make sense why you get so worked up about the banal thoughts of the banal mediocrities you've written three thousand posts exposing? I mean, you say they're not worth reading, and we agree with you, but then you seem to keep reading them and getting irate about it!

At any rate, keep doing what you want to do, it's your blog, I'll either keep lurking or not. It is fun over breakfast cereal to clink on one blog belonging to a singular voice (as opposed to the Times, FDL, the New Yorker blog, the NYRB, etc), but it's no big deal either way and my opinion shouldn't matter much to you.

If you do want advice, I say, keep your educational/pedagogical stuff to yourself (or write a book), and blow your blog up, do what the others really aren't doing, I don't know, something like FUCK THE NEWS OF THE MOMENT street-level reporting propelled by a noble Leftist dream of helping us find some way forward beyond revolutionary Marxism and reflexive statism.

At the end of the day people want to be moved and they want to see and feel things afresh.

Be well!

jcapan said...

Hey, I’m not calling for false civility. A world without punks would be way boring. Plus, I’d instantly go poof. Some of the folks you take on need to hear an ad-hom on occasion. Living in closed discourse loops of doublespeak as they do, being jolted with a defibrillator just might do some good. But from my objective stump, in that our politics largely align, it’s distracting and sometimes--the Julian Sanchez snafu comes to mind--way overblown.

Finally, when you say their “community ... [is] comprehensively unfair,” I’m a little puzzled. They’re either part (or are actively auditioning for the part) of a corporate spin-apparatchiks. As interlocutors, do you expect them to be fair to folks who’ve not sold out or virulently call them on their patently obvious b-s?

Look to Greenwald, who manages to be devastating in a more detached way.

Freddie said...

Anonymous: no joke, I haven't read those posts, and won't. Sorry.

Freddie said...

Incidentally-- you guys all know IOZ exists, right?

jcapan said...

"Incidentally-- you guys all know IOZ exists, right?"

Yes, but IOZ is funny.

"Digby, DailyKos, and the rest of the Netrootsia isn't serious about ending the war in Iraq. That much is patently clear. Against efficacy they weigh respectability, whose measure is a Congressional majority and respectful copy by Tim Russert's staff writers. Ennobling, isn't it? Respectability wins every time, because respectability brings institutional authority. 'Dirty hippies' is the grossest of self-flattery. The real dirty hippies are the black-masked anarchists, the sign-waving ANSWER kids who the imagined leftwing of the Democratic party roundly condemn for daring to bring up the School of the Americas or IMF shock-therapy economics at an antiwar rally. The real dirty hippies don't care what Katie Couric calls them."

Anonymous said...

"Incidentally-- you guys all know IOZ exists, right?"

So what? You're immune from criticism for being an asshole jerk because a bigger asshole jerk than you exist on the Internet? Hey, at least IOZ never goes around polluting the comment sections of these bloggers you claim to hate so much. Almost as if what you're REALLY mad about is they don't pay attention to you - LOOK AT ME, I'M SLAGGING YOU OFF, YOU MUST PAY ATTENTION TO ME, I'M IMPORTANT!!!!

sweet tooth said...

IOZ. Ugh.

It’s possible, you know, to dismantle the Pinker book deftly and powerfully and in plain language. And maybe actually convince someone who didn't start among the converted.

IOZ I would prefer to have as a drinking friend; we could match wits, partake in a fabulous buzz and more fabulous drunk, then part ways insulted and fuming at each other.

As a writer of prose? Sorry. Too show-offy. Maybe it’s cause I’m in my early thirties, maybe it’s cause I was born old-fashioned, but I have zero tolerance for super-hip, pop culture-name dropping, epilipetic, Look At Me prose.

I feel for the fellow, tho, and certainly think we coulda had great fun killing a bottle.

I feel for the fellow because in many ways his voice is where the Left is right now – a screaming fountain of resentment(and, surely, a good dollop of sheer ressentiment) trapped and wriggling like a fly that won’t die in the technological morass it legitimately and rightfully despises.

Okay, off to my own pastures! Be well!

Freddie said...

I'm trying to transition to something else. Ultimately, I guess the prescription is the same, which is to read me or ignore me-- most people do the latter just fine!

If the question is only whether I recognize that I need to reform, the answer is yes.

Anonymous said...

Huh, I appreciated the original Stevens post, way too much crap freelance writing goes unexcoriated. Oh, well!

pogonisby said...

you should see poetry: it's one of the great feminist works of cinema

Balthasar Middleton said...

Ah, I see.

Well...don't be surprised to find that nothing changes when you remove your critics, apart from the fact that you tend to think you're talking to yourself. Good luck with your personal reformation.

May you find fame and glory. Or something. I'll be the one waiting for someone with the power to filter out the riff-raff (one 'o them nefarious "Inside Bloggers" or "Big Media Types") to tell me you've written something worth reading.

Plus ça change.

Freddie said...

I'm surprised people haven't caught on to the fact that I am immune to patient explainers patiently explaining to me.

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