Wells to Lodge: “So I can’t voice a distaste for Japan (actually Tokyo) without being slagged by the likes of yourself? My reservations about this or that city, region or culture are about tradition, aesthetics, architecture, atmosphere. I said in one of my Japan riffs that I found Tokyo lacking in character and personality for the most part. (Though not entirely.). I said it reminded me of Cleveland or Houston; I also said Seoul reminds me of Newark.
“On the other hand I adore Hanoi and much of Vietnam. But not Nha Trang (impersonal, overbuilt, Cannes without the personality) or the overdeveloped, skyscraper-heavy Ho Chi Minh City. I’m told that much of Bangkok has fallen to the same corporate influences.
“All in all my objections are about certain standards and appreciations for native flavor and urban design that I’ve developed over the decades. Racial animus has never once entered into it. I don’t even know what it is. How dare you accuse me of anything in this realm…how fucking dare you?
“You’re a brilliant critic who knows his stuff, and then you turn around and tweet like the lowest troll. And you also eat up my time as I have to rebut your sloppy tweet darts. Don’t be an ass.”
Lodge responds: “When you boil it down to ‘I’m not a fan of Japan’, that says something far less specific to me, as does your routine dismissal of most Asian cinema, for example. So maybe choose your words more delicately.” Wells to Lodge: “What I wrote was that I’ve ‘never been a huge fan of’ Japan.” which can be translated as ‘while I haven’t seen that much of Japan, the small section of Tokyo that I’ve seen has not enthralled me.’ I didn’t say that I dislike the whole country, which would be pretty close to ridiculous.
“Yes, I hate Asian cinema as a general rule — the general sword fetish, action ballet, wire ballet, machismo, intensely-colored tunics, hundreds of arrows in the air, etc. A Great Wall, blah blah. Obviously there have been and will be exceptions, but otherwise stab me in the throat.”
Posted on 7.1.11: “I don’t know what I’d do if a supreme authority were to tell me I’ll no longer be allowed to see any more Asian films about (a) ‘young Japanese women whose breasts double as machine guns,’ (b) ‘light-on-their-feet martial arts caper[s],” (c) “reasonably credible seventh-century mystery stories with supernatural elements” by way of Asian kung-fu, (d) “a beautiful courtier using her martial-arts skills to dress herself while dodging hundreds of arrows,’ and blah blah. I imagine I’d probably exhale and nod my head sagely and look at the supreme authority in the face and say, ‘All right, okay…I don’t like this but I accept it. I’ll no longer have the joy of pulp-popcorn Asian cinema in my life but c’est la vie.'”