Moving Pictures
Apr 24, 2008, 07:42AM

Whither Real Film Criticism?

New York Press film critic Armond White dissects the growing elitism and anti-intellectualism of his industry. You can disagree with his taste in movies, but his defense of criticism as "a true journalistic profession and a necessary intellectual practice" is a welcome sentiment in the post-Ebert era of "thumbs-up" discourse.

"There’s more writing about movies these days than ever before. In print and online, it’s never been worse—especially on the Internet where film buffs emulating the Vachel Lindsay-Manny Farber tradition are no longer isolated nerds but an opinionated throng, united in their sarcasm and intense pretense at intellectualizing what is basically a hobby.

"Although criticism is everywhere, and some online reviewers prove themselves honest and less beholden to the power elite than print critics, the problem is this: So many Internetters get to express their “expertise,” which essentially is either their contempt or idiocy about films, filmmakers or professional critics. The joke inherent in the Internet hordes (spiritedly represented by the new REELZ-TV program The Movie Mob) is that they chip away at the professionalism they envy, all the time diminishing cultural discourse—perhaps as irreversibly as professional critics have already diminished it themselves...

"If the current indifference to critical thought is a tragedy, it’s not just for the journalism profession betraying its promise of news and ideas but also for those bloggers. The love of movies that inspires their gigabytes of hyperbole has been traduced to nonsense language and non-thinking. It breeds a new pinhead version of fan-clubism."



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