Mailbox: 11.17.09-11.17.09

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Crime Never Pays

No big revelation that Justin’s cellmates were where they were in “On A Tear” (Nov. 4-10). And if he ends up stupidly adopting their linguistic suggestions, he better get used to that steamy, warm jail cell.That kind of vocab (indicative of mentality) just breeds ignorant, thoughtless, criminal behavior. I hope his girlfriend broke up with him after hearing the crassly vulgar final words that wrapped up his little “article.”

—Deborah Fenker, Chelsea

Breakfast of Champions 

Armond White’s review of The Men Who Stare at Goats (Nov. 4-10) resulted in some annoyed responses, such as: “I’m sorry but this guy is the worst movie critic out there. He has no idea what he’s talking about and the suggestion that only ex-military people are allowed to criticize the military is practically fascist. (Though I guess he’s a Kurt Vonnegut fan?) Armond White is the Glenn Beck of movie critics, only without the popularity.”

“I know you probably think you’re kind of intelligent with a pocket thesaurus, but how about you review the movie instead of trying to impress us with your diction,” wrote in one anonymous critic. “You know how people have certain movie ‘critics’ they like to follow, almost religiously? Well, I’m your new biggest fan. Except instead of seeing the movies you like, I’ll see the movies you don’t like.

Another reader cleared it up succinctly: “If Clooney can’t criticize the military because he never served, how can you criticize actors when you’ve never acted?”

A Fan From Iran

An anonymous online commenter also wrote in regarding the Goats review: “Mr. White, Thank you for your insightful reviews. All these idiots have no idea who Dusan Makavejev is and, even if they do, they cannot understand his amazing achievement in finding the right satirical tone. True satire is not about degrading people but questioning their ideas and bigotries. A big fan of yours from Iran.”

Emotion-Porn Propaganda

Armond White’s lengthy analysis of Lee Daniels’ film Precious created quite a stir, with plenty of comments on both sides of the debate. One online reader wrote:“Listen, all of you idiots need to SHUT UP. Armond White is America’s greatest self-hating, gay Republican film critic. Just because you troglodytes can’t understand his (batshit insane) vision doesn’t mean you have the right to criticize him. For the record,Tyler Perry is America’s greatest self-loathing gay black filmmaker. He and Armond should huddle (shudder) or something.”

A reader calling himself Luis wrote: “As a Latino male who grew up on welfare in the Bronx and worked very hard to now be a success in film marketing, I can CLEARLY see both sides, and I can affirm that your review REEKS of self-hatred and insecurities. This movie is brilliant. Shame on you. Saw it twice: once at Sundance and [then] paid my $12.50 to see it again today. Readers, please go watch for yourselves just to see how off Armond is here.”

But then another went for Daniels himself, writing: “For anyone who doesn’t think that this exploitative piece of propaganda is anything other than emotion-porn, one need only listen to Terry Gross’s interview with Lee Daniels this week on Fresh Air. He is a sociopathic, egomaniacal liar. I never thought I’d say this, but thank you for the illuminating review, Armond.”

Precious Little Patience

“I have yet to see this movie but, even reading your review, I HAVE to laugh! Your observations about black life are so very skewed and disgustingly off-key that it’s laughable. Here is a news flash for you: Your observations on how all the light-skinned people are cast as good and that her wanting a light-skinned boyfriend smacks of self hatred, that is EXACTLY what they are trying to portray, and it’s a LARGE problem in the black community. And the other view, perhaps she thinks this way because all the light-skinned people in HER life ARE good to her, that’s why she thinks this way. And the whole ‘chicken is stereotypical;’ oh honey, come ON.

“It may very well be but chicken is also cheap and prevalent in the poorer neighborhoods, which is why there is a high obesity/diabetes/blood pressure problem in poorer neighborhoods. I think you’ve ever never BEEN poor or are so far removed from it, you don´t remember what it was like. And if you happen to be a person of color…shame on YOU for missing the message this movie portrays.There are indeed little girls AND boys going through the situations that this character goes through in this movie, and perhaps this will help them see a way out and not to give up. Or perhaps you’d rather them keep quiet because their situation is too stereotypical to be real. Gotta love closet racists. They try to hide it with education and civility but truth is you’re still a redneck backwoods racist. At least wear your sheet openly.”

—Cori Roberts