Gene Siskel: “You have to summon the courage to say what you honestly feel [about a film]. And that’s not easy. There’s a whole new world called political correctness going on, and that is death to a critic, to participate in that. Wanting be liked is another…forget even the world of political correctness. Wanting to be liked, wanting to go along with the group [is] death to a critic. [Forget all that and] take your best shot.”
Roger Ebert: “When you said the word ‘political correctness’ it made me think of college students working for the student papers or writing papers that are going to be read out loud in class…political correctness is the fascism of the ’90s. This feeling that you have to keep your ideas and your way of looking at things within very narrow boundaries or you’ll offend someone. Certainly one of the purposes of journalism is to challenge that kind of thinking. And one of the purposes of criticism is to break boundaries. But what politically correct students are training themselves to do today is to lie…to lie.”
HE to Siskel and Ebert in heaven: Those politically correct college students of the late ’90s are now in positions of power and running the show. You wouldn’t believe what’s happening today at the N.Y. Times, for example. And that p.c. culture has become extremely censorious and punitive. They’re meting out punishment to transgressors and contrarians, and the ultimate p.c. punishment is called “cancelling’ — they’ll murder you on a digital platform called Twitter and get you fired if you persist in saying the wrong thing…so in the film realm if you depart from the officially sanctified view of this or that topic according to, say, Guy Lodge or Jessica Kiang, you’ll get beaten up by the mob. You could even be forced to drive for Uber or work in fast food if you’re not careful.
And you know what else? Many of the smartest big-time critics are just going along with this. Because they’re mice…because they’re afraid of standing up. It’s not that different from the Commie witch hunts of early to mid ’50s. [Thanks to Jordan Ruimy for passing along clip.]
Ebert text from heaven, just received: “Let’s say, for example, that you’re not as much of a fan of the great Ennio Morricone as others. That might brand you as being less perceptive than you should be, but you are absolutely entitled to say that without dodging punches.”