Saturday, December 9, 2006

Do the White Thing

No, no, no, the title of this inaugurating post isn't a terrible pun putting across some pernicious racial agenda (although we readily concede our name is a terrible pun putting across absolutely nothing) -- it's actually an opening battle cry announcing the completely cinema-related intentions of Armond Dangerous, the new blog dedicated entirely to, as our subtitle puts it, "parsing the confounding film criticism of Mr. Armond White." Our goal is to gain a better understanding of this pop culture-minded, provocative, reactionary, often writing-impaired critic currently penning head-scratchers for the New York Press. Film- and culture-wise, who is White? What is he getting at when he admonishes critics (often labelled "hipster" or "smug") for unthinkingly lauding films with political agendas while he unabashedly defends the Bush administration from artistic attacks? How does he reconcile the hatred of one of his starred auteurs, Jean-Luc Godard, for another of his favorites, Steven Spielberg? Is White for real or fucking with his readers when he draws polemic lines in the sand such as his now infamous challenge: "It can be said with certainty that any reviewer who pans [Mission to Mars] does not understand movies, let alone like them." Is White the most courageous African-American critic at work today, or a moral conservative unwittingly selling-out to the system he rails against? Or is constructing such binaries an insufficient way of attempting to unravel the mystery of Armond?
Thus, our blog: we can't say we really like the nasty, superior tone and frequent sloppiness of White's writing, but it's damn fascinating and sometimes even possible to agree with. An incisive look into its rhyme and reason may not only make sense of the contradictions of our man's work, but perhaps even illuminate the contemporary state of American film criticism, the mainstream and intellectual strands of which White vehemently opposes or "resists."
Armond Dangerous will operate accordingly: once a week, after the New York Press hits local newstands, our blog will be updated with an analysis of the latest Armond White reviews or articles. This means, of course, having to obtain an informed opinion by watching a ton of the absolute crap (The Cat in the Hat or Little Man, anyone? Anyone?) White contrarily adores and champions, but we're that hardcore in our commitment to this project. The site will then devote the remainder of the week to catching up with White, going into the NYP vaults, scouring old City Suns and Film Comments, thumbing through The Resistance: Ten Years of Pop Culture That Shook the World and deepening our approach to all things White. So stay tuned and drop a line -- Armond Dangerous is as much a forum as a blog, and participation and communication is encouraged. God knows we'll need some help cracking this nut. No pun intended, of course.

96 comments:

varrick said...

great idea!
armond white is fascinating and thought provoking, but recently increasingly irritating, politically questionable and sometimes out of his mind.
I first discovered his work in film comment 1992, where he attacks in my opinion falsely overpraised films like "basic instinct" and "menace II society" (as "violent shit"). So I bought the book "The Resistence" and became a great admirer of his critical writings.
"Whatever Happenend to Armond White" in the last years (rspecially since "The Passion of the Christ"), is the big question. For a long time I thought, he is critical against the politics of his country, but now he behaves more often like a supporter of the bush administration and the iraq war. "Road to Guantanamo" is not a good film, but White simply denies, relativizes or defends the inhuman conditions.

Rowin said...

Thanks for the feedback. We feel similarly about the "big question" -- what we also want to discover through Armond Dangerous is why exactly White became so reactionary, to the point of supporting positions one suspects he would never prop up if they weren't so out of fashion in largely liberal critical circles. Was it a personal move -- possibly religiously motivated -- toward the even farther right, or did the rhetorical shenanigans of the left send him over the edge? Or is it all provocation? Just more questions to add onto the big one.

Anonymous said...

Judging by your prose, I would guess that you are very attractive.

Marg

Anonymous said...

Sheesh,

you dudes are something else. What did Armond White do to you guys?

-Steven Speilberg

Rowin said...

Steven, Your Eminence,

Armond has done nothing to us. In fact, we enjoy a lot of his writing. We're simply dedicated to sussing the contradictions and complications of his criticism. Why, are you upset that anyone should critique a man who often positions himself above reproach?

Anonymous said...

Folks,

I didn't think I left the impression that I was angry. Sheesh is usually expresses exasperation. But that's neither here nor there.

In any event, I can't help but wonder about the intentions of your blog. I imagine it will take an enormous amount of energy to keep up with this blog and being that there are so many american critics out there, why specifically focus on examining the work of Armond White? What is it about Armond White's work that has you obsessed?


Best,
Steven Speilberg

Anonymous said...

dear "Steven Speilberg,"

Please learn how to spell your name (that's SPIELBERG).

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