Armond White - Career - Relations With Other Critics and Filmmakers

Relations With Other Critics and Filmmakers

White has bemoaned the state of contemporary film criticism, describing it as "intellectual anarchy" and saying that "the profession is in dismal shape, fucking dismal condition". In an online discussion with other film critics, White emphasized that "I don't read criticism for style (or jokes). I want information, erudition, judgment, and good taste. Too many snake-hipped word-slingers don't know what they're talking about". He has singled out Roger Ebert for particular condemnation, telling an interviewer that "I do think it is fair to say that Roger Ebert destroyed film criticism" and accusing him of "talking about movies as disconnected from social and moral issues, simply as entertainment". He has called Village Voice critic J. Hoberman "pathetic", "despotic", "traitorous", and "racist", describing him as "the scoundrel-czar of contemporary film criticism" whose malign "influence (as NYU instructor to the Times' Manohla Dargis and innumerable Internet clones) stretches from coast to coast, institution to institution"; he also categorically described Hoberman's associates in the film community as "brownshirts", "fascists", and "backward children". Other film writers he has singled out for criticism include A. O. Scott, David Thomson, David Denby, Gary Indiana, David Bordwell, Georgia Brown, Karina Longworth and Lisa Schwarzbaum, who along with J. Hoberman he has accused of racism. Of such accusations, White has written that

I have called critics out by name, but when I do so, I don't call them names. I'm after the vigorous defense of an idea. Sometimes that means going at certain ideological and professional suppositions that other critics take for granted. I guess that's when they feel personally attacked. They call it "bullying" or "slightly nuts" simply because their unexamined values or arrogant prejudices have been shown up.

White has been an outspoken opponent of online film criticism, which he associates with "amateurism, gossip cliques" rather than the "education, expertise experience" he attributes to professional film criticism. He has cited film review aggregators in general and Rotten Tomatoes in particular as examples of how "the Internet takes revenge on individual expression" by "dumping reviewers onto one website and assigning spurious percentage-enthusiasm points to the discrete reviews" and "offer consensus as a substitute for assessment". He has also stated his opinion that "there should be no film critics younger than 30" since they would lack the necessary scholarship and life experience.

In interviews he has repeatedly demurred when asked to identify critics other than himself whose work he values. However, in other settings he has praised the writing of Molly Haskell and GayToday.com critic John Demetry. Among film critics of previous generations, in addition to Kael and Sarris, White has credited James Agee and former New York Times critic Bosley Crowther.

Because of his consistently negative reviews of Noah Baumbach's and Spike Lee's films – and his ad hominem attacks on their creators – he was barred by publicists from press screenings of their films Greenberg and Get on the Bus. In the case of Greenberg, the ban was rescinded in time for White to watch the film with other critics. Director Darren Aronofsky also publicly disparaged White's film criticism.

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