Today is one of those days when inspiration seems to have struck pretty much everyone but me. In other words: a happy day! There’s so much to read!
But am I out of touch? It’s not a critic’s job to reflect box office taste. The job is to describe my reaction to a film, to account for it, and evoke it for others. The job of the reader is not to find his opinion applauded or seconded, but to evaluate another opinion against his own. But you know that. We’ve been over that ground many times. What disturbs me is when I’m specifically told that I know too much about movies, have “studied” them, go into them “too deep,” am always looking for things the average person doesn’t care about, am always mentioning things like editing or cinematography, and am forever comparing films to other films.
I’ve “forgotten what it’s like to be a kid,” another poster told me. One of the most-admired contributors to this blog, who signs herself “A Kid.,” is 12 years old. She hasn’t forgotten. Neither have many other readers of middle school age. Their posts give me hope for the future. For them, to be a kid is not to be uncritical or thoughtlessly accepting. They seek magic, and don’t find it in the brutal hammering of “Transformers.”
So let’s focus on those who seriously believe “Transformers” is one of the year’s best films. Are these people wrong? Yes. They are wrong. I am fond of the story I tell about Gene Siskel. When a so-called film critic defended a questionable review by saying, “after all, it’s opinion,” Gene told him: “There is a point when a personal opinion shades off into an error of fact. When you say ‘The Valachi Papers’ is a better film than ‘The Godfather,’ you are wrong.” Quite true. We should respect differing opinions up to certain point, and then it’s time for the wise to blow the whistle. Sir, not only do I differ with what you say, but I would certainly not fight to the death for your right to say it. Not me. You have to pick your fights.
Here’s something to think on: everything he wrote about that movie is true… yet, it’s still not as bad as Kambakkht Ishq. Aaargh!
Talking of which, KI‘s music director was the man who gave us the immortal ditty, Dekho baarish ho rahi hai – It’s raining. It’s raining. Harini has the much appreciated antidote.
Next, did you know this is the 30th anniversary of the walkman? It’s true! Until 30 years ago, when people wanted to listen to music on the go, they had to hire a personal singer to walk hand in hand, singing them their personal favorites. It’s why generations of Indian women were married on the strength of their singing voice.
But as revolutionary as the walkman was, these days all the kids are playing with these things called teapots or peapods or something. They don’t know what they’re missing! So the BBC got a 13 year old from today to review the original! the bestest! the revolutionary-est! walkman. These were the results:
My dad had told me it was the iPod of its day. He had told me it was big, but I hadn’t realised he meant THAT big. It was the size of a small book.
It took me three days to figure out that there was another side to the tape. That was not the only naive mistake that I made; I mistook the metal/normal switch on the Walkman for a genre-specific equaliser, but later I discovered that it was in fact used to switch between two different types of cassette.
Which leads me to Nick Kristoff’s column about his top picks for children’s books. Now I had an atypical childhood as far as children’s literature is concerned and graduated fairly quickly to books that, in retrospect, I had no business reading. So there are some recommendations on that list that I’d never so much as heard of, much less read, like Freddy the Pig or Alex Rider. But I was happy to find that I’d managed to read the majority of them despite my odd reading habits.
And apparently I wasn’t the only one who felt strongly about the column – his attached blog saw more traffic on this one topic than any other (including endocrine disruptors – a.k.a. reason #435719 why parents are nervous wrecks).
Last, by way of dessert, I present this interview with Mavis Leno – one of the few celebrities I’d love to meet:
When did you have your feminist “click,” your epiphany?
My parents were not sexist, and my father thought I could do anything in the world and then some. When I was 7, I wanted to be a jockey. My father told me women weren’t allowed. I couldn’t believe it. I was perfectly willing to fail on my own merits, but to be flunked at birth? What kind of crap was that? That made me insanely angry. I read everything on the original suffragists, and they became my heroines, because the only women who ever did anything in the history textbooks of my childhood were Sacagawea and Betsy Ross and Marie Curie. That’s it. And Betsy Ross sewed. When feminism first became a high-impact issue at the end of the ’60s, flaming liberals like Mort Sahl turned out to be pigs, just pigs. Many of them have since recanted and apologized, but it shocked me.
As the LAT points out, Mavis has long been a campaigner for the rights of Afghan women. A country just one over from India. Which is something we might want to keep in mind, y’know?