Mailbox: 02.11.09-02.17.09

Written by NY Press on . Posted in Posts.

German Redeemer

Halfway through, “A Room of Her Own” (Feb.4-10), Alyssa Abkowitz’s cover story account of communal living and dining at a women´s residence,I saw the words,“And then, there are the Germans.” Look out! Deutschland vs. the German/Jewish American. I read on with trepidation: “…they’re everywhere. And they like to eat.” If that wasn’t painful enough, we then learn that between them, three of,“these German bitches”… have left on, “their plates: two juicy Brats, untouched…”

Lucky for world peace,Alyssa uncomplainingly continues, “I won’t complain…I won’t let these Germans get to me." And then this passive/aggressive gem: “I have nothing against Teutons…” I bet some of her best friends are Mongoloid and Negroid.

Perhaps it’s the one-eighth part of me that is German talking here, but I don’t think you’d have published five paragraphs by a German complaining of three Jews who left two sausages uneaten. Hilariously, the final paragraph reveals that the author and her friend, "”…stay in the dining room a bit longer. Our uneaten veggies are cold and forgotten on our trays…” Gute nacht. — Stephen Johnson, Hell’s Kitchen

Animated Discourse

Re: Armond White’s review of Coraline (Feb.4-10): Usually I ignore the blatant stupidity and pretentiousness that comes from Mr.White’s brain. But I felt inclined to write this time—for the first time—due to the especially high BS level on display. I agree with Mr. White that Coraline is a wonderful animated movie for kids and adults. However, it continues to amaze me that he seems incapable of discussing the merits, or lack of them, for any movie without insulting another film that has absolutely nothing to do with the movie in question. In this case, he slams Wall-E and nearly every other Pixar movie in recent memory, along with Ice Age. It’s one thing to compare a film one is reviewing to other works by the same filmmaker, or even other movies that might have starred the same actor. It’s also completely understandable to compare a remake or sequel to the original movie or film that came before it in a series. But to bringWall-E and the other animated movies into this argument was an absolute waste of time. His criticism of the other movies was murky at best anyway.

In saying that they “keep animation infantile,” he seems to be complaining that they’re made for kids and don’t feature many adult elements.Well, duh.They are children’s films.

To say that Coraline, Monster House, Waltz with Bashir and Persepolis make many traditional Hollywood animated movies look like “a babysitter’s ghetto” is an idiotic comment.

For one thing, Persepolis and Waltz with Bashir are movies made for adults. Bringing them into the conversation just because they’re animated is ludicrous. Should we compare Fritz the Cat to Wall-E also? Seems that Mr.White can only like an animated children´s movie if it’s dark like Coraline or Monster House. As a former critic who now writes about other subjects (to keep food on my table) let me offer Mr.White a suggestion: Try and review each movie for what it’s trying to do and how well it succeeds at that, rather than reviewing each movie based on whether it meets your own narrow criteria. Insulting other movies in order to defend a movie you like does nothing but further alienate potential allies to your cause.

What made Mr. White´s ranting for the week even more hilarious was that he went on to say in the review following the one on Coraline that Fanboys “offers democratic counterpoint to snobbish cinephilia.” Funny.

I can think of no movie critic alive more guilty of “snobbish cinephilia” on a regular basis than Mr. White, whose tone often comes across as so full of contempt, to boot, that he seems to be calling any viewer who liked a movie he wisely hated an imbecile.

One more point: If one were to ONLY read Mr.White’s reviews (God forbid) one would get the impression that the vast amount of movies made each year are near worthless pieces of garbage, with most of the rest being near-masterpieces. Mr. White seems incapable of realizing what many rational adults do:The vast majority of movies fall somewhere in between. —Jeff Berman, Levittown, NY

Such a Hoser

Re: Joseph Alexiou’s review of East Village gay bar The Hose (Feb. 4-10), one reader commented: “The best way to shut down a cool spot is to write about it.You might as well be writing the club’s obit.Yeah, the world knows you’re so cool that you went there before you sealed its fate.Your article stands to do a few things, none of them good things: 1.) Alert a bunch of people that should already know about it and…make it even more crowded and harder to get into and more difficult to enjoy, 2.) A bunch of assholes that have no business there will go to be cool, thus making it even more crowded and unpleasant, 3.) As a result of 1 & 2, the noise level will go up and complaints from Stuy Town across the street will start to pour in. 4.) Already alerted to the smoking and “hippie weed” and prodded on by upset neighbors the police will intervene and ruin the place for everyone. Luckily this article is in the NY Press and so almost no one will read it.”