Mailbox: 05.13.09-05.19.09

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Tops is Tops

“Although I enjoyed the article on Brooklyn Bodegas (“Brooklyln Bodegas vs.The Brothers Khim, May 6-12),” one online reader commented, “I can’t believe that it didn’t mention Tops Grocery Store! I’ve lived in Williamsburg for 20 years and have been shopping there the whole time. About 15 years ago they started carrying organic vegetables (and related healthy products)—to please the shoppers but also because the owner actually believes that they’re better for you! Now with all the newbies coming home on the subway with bags from Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, I always have to laugh— there are way more organic vegs at Tops than one finds at WF. People like that tend to go for appearances rather than substance. For anyone who wants good local shopping, check it out on N. 6th between Berry and Wythe.

Armchair Critics Bare Their Teeth

Armond White’s review of J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek (“Where Young Boys Have Gone Before,” May 6-12) retread committed the unforgivable sin of critiquing the flick—and set off a flurry of online vitriol. One commenter, calling himself FireArmondWhite, went on a blitzkrieg to argue why White is the worst critic in the world. Someone calling himself Troy went on to defend White this way:“I’ve found that sometimes a trip to Planet Armond can be useful in order to challenge precepts I’ve grown comfortable with, to consider things from a different perspective. Even when he’s wrong, it’s useful because there is some kind of worldview behind his writing, which used to count for something.”

Then there were the backhanded compliments, such as: “Wow,White got through an entire review without using his favorite fallback word: “nihilist.” It´’s like his Reader’s Digest “Word Of the Week.” Fincher/Lynch/ Haneke/Cronenberg and a score of others are nothing but nihilists. They can have nothing of value to say.Their filmmaking is fraudulent because they are nihilists. White is therefore able to give them all his high-handed dismissal. He is free from having to engage with them.There is nothing to incite engagement because they are nihilists. Although, he did liken Abrams to Fincher, so, that makes Abrams a nihilist by association?”

Another commenter used the handle SayNoToArmond and posted a comment that read: “It is NOT that he doesn’t like THIS movie… but that he simply doesn’t like movies to get attention as a critic: Slumdog Millionaire, The Wrestler,The Dark Knight… I can’t take anyone seriously that actually is quoted at saying, ‘Forget the Oscar bait, Transporter 3 is the only movie you need to see this season.’ Somebody get rid of this movie illiterate HACK.”

While one reader went to so far as to recommend Peter Travers as an example of good movie criticism, others began to come to the rescue:“Another brilliant piece of movie culture writing by White.Armond is still the only film critic worth reading, and it’s sad that most of the commenters here haven’t realized that yet… a comment on our pop culture in itself. I was hoping the review would mention the silly puffy hands/numb tongue sequence. Ugh.White’s mentioning of Tiny Toons is perfect and hilarious. This new Star Trek is not only for the tweens, it’s for kids also.”