It’s definitely not welcome news that departing Los Angeles Times film critic Justin Chang is joining The New Yorker as its senior film critic, or at least as a co-senior bigmouth with Richard Brody (i.e., “the Armond White of the far left”).
Chang is a brilliant, first-rate critic who has passed along many valuable judgments and perceptions over the years. But over the past six or seven annums he’s become a bit of a social justice warrior (at least in my eyes) and something of an identity ideologue. Example: Last October Chang panned The Holdovers over a single depiction of racist cruelty between two minor characters.
The Chang hire means two things, and both are breaking my heart.
One, The New Yorker film desk is now doubly woked-up and, in my opinion, half-fanatical. I’ve been an occasional fan of Brody’s essays, but there’s no forgetting that in his 10.13.22 Tar review he actually doubted the existence of wokeism and cancel culture. That, good sir, is fanaticism.
Lane will be “expanding to writing [on] a wider range of topics,” Remnick has announced — a polite way of saying that Lane’s senior stripes have been torn off.
This is not the end of my online New Yorker subscription, but Remnick is downgrading and more or less humiliating one of the very few non-woke (or mostly non-woke) critics of a senior status. Not cool and rather shitty in fact.