I’m getting sick of the relentlessly cheap snark and the non-stop allusions to my being deluded or sloppy of thought and/or constantly dispensing troll-bait with increasingly eccentric riffs and articles. Yes, okay, I write stuff that I think will be catchy as opposed to dull but sometimes certain items just come across the screen and I respond to them. All I know is that I work too hard on this column to put up with intemperate poisoned darts from low-rent contributors, and I am un-sheathing the sword. I’m ready to quickly and impulsively smite.
I get things wrong from time to time and occasionally don’t think things through enough, like anyone else doing a daily column, but I’m not sitting here and tossing fruit-loops in the air and catching them in my mouth like a seal. The column right now is a late 2012 synthesis of where things have evolved and where my voice, which has taken me many, many years to find and modulate in just the right way, takes me. If a thought feels good or intriguing or amusing before it’s fully articulated, I go with it and work it out and give it shape and propulsion. Except for libidinal longings and that line of country, I trust what surfaces.
If I wanted to I could bang out the straight-laced mainstream journalistic stuff that I used to write in the ’80s, ’90s and early aughts. But things have evolved. It’s a process. And one of the aspects of the here-and-now is that I’m no longer editing the impulse to share my occasionally eccentric views, when and if they happen to arise. When I was writing in the ’90s for Entertainment Weekly and the L.A. Times and L.A. Times Syndicate and Mr. Showbiz and all the others, I restricted that stuff to private memos. In the late ’90s and early aughts I stared to let some of it out. And now if it’s in my head, it pretty much goes right on the page. (Except for icky-intimate stuff, I mean.)
So this is where things are, and as far as I’m concerned people slamming me for saying stuff that they consider to be loopy or beyond-the-pale (like my aspect-ratio rants, which are about what should be by Movie Godz standards as opposed to what Variety reported in a review printed in 1954) is like people complaining about Pablo Picasso painting people with both eyes on the same side of the nose, and asking “why didn’t he stay in his blue period”? I am in no way comparing myself to Picasso in any substantive way, of course, but I understand what he meant when he said in the ’50s or ’60s that it had taken him decades to learn how to paint as simply and directly as a child. What I’m doing isn’t analagous in that respect but I’m letting the personal out more and more and blending it with industry jottings and critical views and coming up with a new synthesis of some kind. Bit by bit, stroke by stroke, you prune away the crap and deliver what is essential and true.
And one of the things that will definitely be true from this point on is that anyone calling me fruit-loopy or wild-eyed or incomprehensible henceforth is going to get heave-ho’ed so fast they won’t know what hit them. Personal insults have been a no-no for years. I’m just re-emphasizing that malignant dissers (including those who write about films for a living) had better watch it.
Note: I wrote this in response to an HE reader who emailed the following three or four hours ago: “I love your site, visit daily and will continue to no matter what, but the right wing dildos in the comment sections, especially DuluozGray and various “Ray’s”, are becoming unbearable. Their smug bile is nauseating. I just had to let you know I very much look forward to any future purge!”