A movie log formerly known as Bookishness / By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Monday, November 9, 2009

Snobbier Than Thou

Michael Bérubé beautifully takes down Benjamin Schwarz's critique of "Mad Men."
There really should be a name for this kind of criticism. Begging Amanda’s pardon, this is not merely about “feeling superior to the writers of ‘Mad Men,’” though it certainly is that. It’s also about feeling superior to the rest of the show’s audience, who are clearly insufferably middlebrow, like that Charlie Rose fellow, “who can always be counted on to embrace the conventional wisdom”: “not just Rose but also Mad Men’s affluent, with-it target audience are particularly susceptible to liking what The New York Times’ Arts and Style sections tell them to like (30-plus articles in two years!).” Unlike the Arts and Style sheeple, however, Benjamin Schwarz likes this extraordinarily accomplished show—but for the right reasons.