Someone please put Pauline Kael out of her misery

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Donald Brown
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#1 Post by Donald Brown » Thu Mar 10, 2005 12:32 am

Pauline Kael was an idiot and should be read with great skepticism.

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skuhn8
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#2 Post by skuhn8 » Thu Mar 10, 2005 3:58 am

Donald Brown wrote:Pauline Kael was an idiot and should be read with great skepticism.
Let me guess: she slammed one of your favorite flicks, and so as a response you shitcan her entire career as a critic.

Much of the slamming of critics is just envy: they make a living doing what we wish we could do--make money watching and talking/writing about films.

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Donald Brown
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#3 Post by Donald Brown » Thu Mar 10, 2005 5:28 am

No, she was an inelegant writer who placed more value on gut-feelings than on thought, and stubbornly refused to re-elvauate anything. I've had favorite films slammed by critics I love, and if one is jealous of Kael for being a critic, why is one not similarly envious and dismissive of Sarris, Rosenbaum, et al.? She was a middling writer and an idiot who appeals to people who admire strong personalities more than critical thinkers.

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Alonzo the Armless
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#4 Post by Alonzo the Armless » Thu Mar 10, 2005 9:54 am

Wasn't Kael one of the few critics who praised LAST TANGO IN PARIS? And I thought I read in EASY RIDERS, RAGING BULLS that her reviews were important to the success of young directors in the 70s like Scorsese and DePalma. She was a fresh voice in film criticism that was dominated by stodgy, out-of-touch critics.

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Lino
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#5 Post by Lino » Thu Mar 10, 2005 10:14 am

Donald Brown wrote:Pauline Kael was an idiot and should be read with great skepticism.
Badmouthing a woman and a deceased one? That my friend is very "inelegant" as you so elloquently put it.

Never expected this from you, Donald.

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#6 Post by swingo » Thu Mar 10, 2005 11:00 am

I'm not that familiar with Pauline, but I have a rule to myself that I shall not take sides on a particular critic.

Ebert dissed and prayed some of my favorite movies, and must probably Pauline, and so was Emilio García Riera (The best Mexican critic and Mexican film historian), etc.

It serves pretty good to strengthen your criteria, whether a critic may add richness to your view of a particular movie, or a critic may diss it, then you take on the role of defending that particular movie by explaining your thoughts, either way it is good for me.


Axel.

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Michael Kerpan
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#7 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Mar 10, 2005 11:08 am

All I know is that I never agreed with Pauline Kael -- even when she and I liked (or disliked) the same things. Her approach to films was so utterly different from mine that her opinions were totally unuseful -- and I hated her snarkiness.

May she, nonethless, R.I.Pl

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Andre Jurieu
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#8 Post by Andre Jurieu » Thu Mar 10, 2005 11:10 am

So let me get this straight. We can criticize dead people and men who are alive, but not women, and definitely not women who are dead, because doing so goes against some stupid notion of critical etiquette?

I find that kind of idea offensive! It's a moronic, distorted notion of equality. Kael should be subject to the same standards as any other critic - dead, alive, male, or female.

Just because someone is dead and is a woman does not make her untouchable from criticism of her work. Donald has every right to criticize Pauline Kael's perspective, tactics, and writing style and I say he should speak his mind without having to deal with people who somehow find opinions offensive just because they go against their own sensibilities and tastes. If someone believes he is wrong in saying Kael is an idiot, they should defend her work by addressing Donald's claims, instead of dismissing his comments as offensive. I can definitely see where Donald is coming from. Kael's writing should be read with skepticism. In fact, you should read every writer's opinionated comments with skepticism.

What did Eastwood once say when he was told about Pauline's death and asked about Kael's incessant attacks upon his films? I believe he simply replied "Well I'm still around and she's not".
Last edited by Andre Jurieu on Thu Mar 10, 2005 11:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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#9 Post by unclehulot » Thu Mar 10, 2005 11:42 am

"Put her out of her misery"?? My friend, she's been dead for some time. Did you not know this, or do you have a problem with tenses....or would burning a stack of her books shaped in her image do the trick? Please explain.

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#10 Post by GringoTex » Thu Mar 10, 2005 11:42 am

Donald Brown wrote: I've had favorite films slammed by critics I love, and if one is jealous of Kael for being a critic, why is one not similarly envious and dismissive of Sarris, Rosenbaum, et al.?
Because Kael is one of the few reviewers who can make you feel stupid for loving a film. She's pissed me off, too. Hell, Sarris is still pissed off at her 40 years after she gang-banged his auteur theory essay. You have to take her for what she is- a reviewer for the masses, not a critic for the cinephiles. She was also instrumental in selling such filmmakers as Godard to a wide audience and was a champion of the Hollywood genre film when most people were dismissing it out of hand. Yes, she was bullheaded, close-minded, played favorites, and lost almost all relevance in the late seventies. And is she had a clue about a film's formal considerations, she never let you know about it. But she was also exceptionally intelligent and an exceptional writer.

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Lino
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#11 Post by Lino » Thu Mar 10, 2005 11:58 am

I've always known that misogyny ran amock on this forum and it's always a sad day when I see it happen in such a way...

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Michael
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#12 Post by Michael » Thu Mar 10, 2005 12:02 pm

Annie Mall, help me to understand what you mean.

Is it simply wrong to badmouth Kael because she's a woman? And does that mean it's okay to badmouth a man?

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#13 Post by Pinback » Thu Mar 10, 2005 12:33 pm

Though I don't always agree with Kael, I haven't used 'idiot' to mean 'someone I disagree with' since I was about eight.

Matt, maybe you should change the title to 'someone please put Donald Brown out of his misery'...

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#14 Post by David » Thu Mar 10, 2005 12:38 pm

Michael wrote:Is it simply wrong to badmouth Kael because she's a woman? And does that mean it's okay to badmouth a man?
A woman who's a critic is in most people's eyes "a woman critic", the same thing as "woman writer" & "woman filmmaker" etc etc etc...
And this is clearly what this is about: a "woman critic", not just a critic.
Most of this discussion is not visible on the board, but I strongly sense it "behind the scenes".
I've never read anything by Pauline Kael, so please specify your (you who so strongly dislike her) criticism against her writing. So far I've understood that she's a woman, an idiot and should be read with great skepticism.

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#15 Post by Michael » Thu Mar 10, 2005 12:44 pm

Does it make any difference whether Kael is a woman or not? It's perfectly fine to criticize her works but Annie Mall was obviously offended that Kael was criticized by Donald Brown simply because she was a woman. That's the part I don't understand.

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Lino
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#16 Post by Lino » Thu Mar 10, 2005 12:50 pm

Hey, can't a woman be a feminist anymore? And yes, I do enjoy her writings. And yes, I do think it is very tacky to "put someone out of her/his misery" especially when that said person is dead/deceased.

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Andre Jurieu
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#17 Post by Andre Jurieu » Thu Mar 10, 2005 12:51 pm

Annie Mall wrote:I've always known that misogyny ran amock on this forum and it's always a sad day when I see it happen in such a way...
:-({|=

You haven't even backed up your claims against Donald, et al. You just make a blanket statement, drop a loaded word, and then act above it all. What's the difference between you calling Donald (and others) a misogynist and some random person claiming you are a racist without proper reasoning? If they aren't correct in their assumptions against you, how are you justified at attacking forum members?

I'm hoping feminism is attempting to achieve equality, instead of attempting to create superiority.
Last edited by Andre Jurieu on Thu Mar 10, 2005 12:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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#18 Post by Napier » Thu Mar 10, 2005 12:52 pm

CUT! let's let Pauline R.I.P.This thread is cruising for a lockdown in 1,2,3

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GringoTex
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#19 Post by GringoTex » Thu Mar 10, 2005 12:53 pm

David wrote: A woman who's a critic is in most people's eyes "a woman critic", the same thing as "woman writer" & "woman filmmaker" etc etc etc...
And this is clearly what this is about: a "woman critic", not just a critic.
Most of this discussion is not visible on the board, but I strongly sense it "behind the scenes".
I've never read anything by Pauline Kael, so please specify your (you who so strongly dislike her) criticism against her writing. So far I've understood that she's a woman, an idiot and should be read with great skepticism.
So we're supposed to supply specific evidence to demonstrate Pauline Kael's idiocy while you're allowed to use ESP to demonstrate our sexism?

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Michael
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#20 Post by Michael » Thu Mar 10, 2005 12:58 pm

So we're supposed to supply specific evidence to demonstrate Pauline Kael's idiocy while you're allowed to use ESP to demonstrate our sexism?
:lol: Most hilarious sentence in a long time. I needed a good laugh especially after losing my ten-year job today. Thanks, Langlois.

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#21 Post by Napier » Thu Mar 10, 2005 1:01 pm

I agree Michael, that was well said Langlois =D>

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#22 Post by backstreetsbackalright » Thu Mar 10, 2005 2:25 pm

Some of the first film criticism I read was Kael's, and so she's responsible for turning me on to a lot of great film. But our tastes diverged quickly and wildly- both tastes in films and tastes in film writing. Anymore I don't read her at all. But close friends of mine do, and her writing matches their tastes pretty well. Those friends' taste in film is all but completely uninteresting to me, but whatever.

Anyways, what I wanted to say is that Philip Lopate wrote an article about Kael that I think is really excellent - both admiring and critical. Its called "The Passion of Pauline Kael," and can be found in the collection Totally, Tenderly, Tragically. I seem to recall a piece by Jonathan Rosenbaum too, but I can't locate where (or if) that is.

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#23 Post by glueman » Thu Mar 10, 2005 4:11 pm

I, too, find that my urbane catholicity has never prevented me from being a twat.

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#24 Post by hearthesilence » Thu Mar 10, 2005 4:33 pm

Because Kael is one of the few reviewers who can make you feel stupid for loving a film. She's pissed me off, too. Hell, Sarris is still pissed off at her 40 years after she gang-banged his auteur theory essay. You have to take her for what she is- a reviewer for the masses, not a critic for the cinephiles. She was also instrumental in selling such filmmakers as Godard to a wide audience and was a champion of the Hollywood genre film when most people were dismissing it out of hand. Yes, she was bullheaded, close-minded, played favorites, and lost almost all relevance in the late seventies. And is she had a clue about a film's formal considerations, she never let you know about it. But she was also exceptionally intelligent and an exceptional writer.
I think this nails it for me. That's how it is with most critics, but in the end, EVERYONE's a critic, Kael et al just get published.

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#25 Post by David » Thu Mar 10, 2005 5:34 pm

Langlois68 wrote:So we're supposed to supply specific evidence to demonstrate Pauline Kael's idiocy while you're allowed to use ESP to demonstrate our sexism?
Rightly so...I shall try to explain more in detail my earlier post:
In my eyes and by my experiences, there's a common tendency to give woman who are controversial more harshen critic than men so and this controversy is also a very common and popular way to place woman in the light. Woman writers not controversial though, "just good writers", are sadly still given less attention than men.
And further, Annie Mall being a woman, saying what she's saying, usual makes a bigger stir, than if "Bennie Mall" would've made the same statement.
If you don't want to see this pattern, of course you won't and instead be deeply offended being a man (and trust me, at every lecture concerning feminism I've attended there is always the typical bunch of men throwing out stupid counterarguments, being deeply offended.)
Unfortunately this kind of discussion always turns in to a "mockery and bashing contest" and so far this thread has led nowhere.
Last edited by David on Thu Mar 10, 2005 6:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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