In Michael Powell‘s N.Y. Times profile of Andrew Sarris, it is noted that the legendary film critic has been entirely cut loose by the N.Y. Observer. Which wasn’t supposed to happen. Life is hard and people lie. The solution, of course, is for Sarris to immediately switch to an online berth. As I wrote about his situation on 6.11, “All writers need to keep on chooglin’ until they drop. There is no spoon and there is no retirement.”
The initial reports on 6.10 and 6.11 were that diminishing revenues had forced Sarris’s Observer editors to whack him. It was soon after reported by Dave Kehr, who’d spoken to Sarris’s author-critic wife Molly Haskell, that rumors of Sarris’s dismissal were “not true” and that he would”continue to write on a freelance basis, exactly as Rex Reed does currently.”
A reversal of strategy only three or four weeks later suggests that the editor who assured Sarris/Haskell that everything would be more or less jake (albeit on a freelance basis) was being disingenuous.
“There’s a part of me that looks beyond everything now,” Sarris tells Powell. “I don’t approve of Woody Allen‘s view of death. I acknowledge it, but I hope there’s more time, as there’s a lot of movies I’d like to see and think about.”
What Woody Allen view would that be exactly? The only one I can think of is “I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work — I want to achieve it by not dying.”
I said last month that writing is brutal or difficult or at least a slog for most of us, but not writing is a death sentence. Writing keeps you in the game, sharpens your mind, makes you inquisitive, feeds the engine, keeps you on your toes, etc. It is the only thing for a writer to do.