04 April 2010

Hey Everybody! I'm Part of a the Nattering Gaggle!

New York Times film critic A.O. Scott has an article in the Arts and Leisure section of today's paper about the slow demise of newspaper film criticism. I was reading said piece with much sympathy and agreement when I came upon this: "Where once reason debate and knowledgeable evaluation flourished, there are now social networking and marketing algorithms and a nattering gaggle of bloggers." (Emphasis mine.)

Hey! I thought. That's me!

One of the sins I'm frequently accused of (and arguably am guilty of ) is that when it comes to films I'm somewhat of a snob ("somewhat?"). But never have I penned anything so high brow as what Old Man Scott is guilty of.

That print edition film criticism is dying off is, cinematically speaking, a tragedy. But that on line Joe Schmoes like yours truly are flourishing is nothing to get all high hat about. Many amateur film bloggers undoubtedly possess the brains of gnats. But the same can be said of many member of the United States Congress and virtually everyone on Fox News. There are also many film bloggers who can string together words to form coherent sentences and have reasonably intelligent things to say about films. Indeed I've read some film blog posts that far surpass the "natterings" of  many print critics.

So there!

There's not a lot worse than the hoi polloi screaming and moaning about higher ups when they don't know what the deuce they're talking about (see the Tea Partiers). But one thing is as bad is when hoity toity crowds slings mud down at us plebes.  Lay off, Scottie. You've got a job writing about films at a decent enough newspaper and no doubt make a decent living at it.

Us members of the nattering gaggle perform a most valuable service indeed. When the latest blockbuster from big name director with big name stars hit the screens we are another voice with another perspective tossing in our two cents. But more importantly we're the ones renting DVDs and watching Turner Classic Movies and re-watching favorite classics and reminding the world of what a great actress Garbo was or how many terrific films Guy Kibbee was in or turning each other on to a relatively obscure French film, or Italian director or forgotten performance by Trevor Howard. (And we often do it without resorting to run on sentences like that last one.)

We alert fellow cinephiles to what's coming out on DVD and what's coming up on TCM. We recount the great films of an era, an actor or of a genre. We find  and post great photos of great starts. We share and share alike. We are community of people who love films and don't get a nickel for our troubles but don't care because like I said at the beginning of this sentence we love films.

I admire and revere the great and well known film critics of past and present but I can no longer imagine a world without the nattering gaggle of film bloggers of which I am a very proud member.

Suck on it, Scott!


Meredith said...

hear hear! i think it's a sad thing indeed that there are film critics and writers that blame us for their demise as someone that generally champions such professionals. I do my more serious film work in school, and often I just like to have some fun with my blog because I'm passionate about movies. My ravings about Deborah Kerr should in no way replace the likes of Roger Ebert or Robert Osborne, but at the same time I think it's such a snobbish thing to say that just because you aren't employed by the new york times it means that you can't know a hell of a lot about film. There are some great blogs out there and I count yours as one of them.

Jess said...

I think the demise of criticism on paper has something to do with the stringent restrictions they place on film for it to be good. I use the blogosphere to find people who have opinions in common with mine, and then when they see something I haven't, I tend to believe that I will like or dislike it as well. Even with bloggers I follow regularly whose opinion I don't share, I know based on their opinion where mine will fall.

KC said...

That was some fine nattering!