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October 1994


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Murray Pomerance <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 22 Oct 1994 09:43:21 -0400
text/plain (98 lines)
On Fri, 21 Oct 1994, Shawn Levy wrote:
> To the list as a whole:  I apologize for one final missive from me in
> this petulant flame war.  I have e-mailed Murray in response to his
> e-mail to me earlier today, and I have no intention of carrying this
> any further than this final message, but I just don't feel like
> letting some of his points to the whole list go unchallenged.  So this
> one message, then I let him 'win' with my silence.  I appreciate your
> patience...
> On Fri, 21 Oct 1994, Murray Pomerance wrote:
> > Truffaut, who didn't finish highschool in *Paris* in the 1950s was not in
> > the same position as someone, say, who doesn't finish highschool today in
> > New York City.  He was, when he made Les Quatre cent coups, an alumnus of
> > several years' standing from Les Cahiers du Cinema, where he had studied
> > at the side of Bazin and in the company of Godard and Scherer.  Give me
> > that to any highschool you can name.  His competence in literacy is
> > undisputed (as you know, many of his films are testimonies to his own
> > studies in literacy of various kinds:  see the bookburning in Fahrenheit
> > for just one example).  And surely you do not put PF in the boat with 400B?
> Well, yes:  I do.  But that's my problem.  See, I don't think that MY
> taste can be somehow VERIFIED with an appeal to an outside authority.
> How, for instance, would you differentiate being an "alumnus" of
> "Cahiers" from being a movie-obssessed video store clerk, Tarantino's
> most famous occupation?  Don't you think the young Truffaut would've done
> the exact same work if he could've?  I wrote what I did about
> Truffaut's schooling because earlier somebody had tried to point out that
> Welles, et. al., were somehow more qualified to be thought of as important
> because their backgrounds were "less narrow."  Well, narrow is as narrow
> does, and my definition of narrow would include eliminating or including
> people from an aesthetic canon because of their exposure to some
> predetermined set of great works.
> >    Michael Crichton was an MD--still is--as was--and is--Jonathan
> > Miller.  There's a contrast!  Crichton's WESTWORLD doesn't belong in the
> > festival with 400 Blows, sorry.
> Here's where we begin to get to the root of the problem.  You seem not to
> be able to follow what you're reading.  I said that Crichton was an
> example of an educated director who produced shit, trying to refute the
> argument that it was the well-rounded directors who produced the best work.
> Now you tell me Crichton's movies aren't as good as Truffaut's and
> apologize!  It's obvious we don't share an aesthetic, but don't we share
> a language?
> >    I don't mean to be affronting here.
> But......?
> > But I really would like to hear
> > what you have to say about a film I know and care about (along with many
> > other people), like, for instance, Kane, before I commit to reading what
> > you have to say about Pulp Fiction.
> Ooooooh!  Well, why didn't you say so to begin with!  Let me get this
> straight:  I'm allowed to talk about a subject of interest to me (and
> many other people) so long as I FIRST pass a kind of litmus test of your
> devising, namely speaking in terms you'd admire about "Kane"!  Well,
> silly me.  I thought it was SCREEN-L, not SCREEN-M!
> > This is *not* because I'm
> > ostracizing Pulp Fiction.  Indeed, I'm reserving
> > judgment, a process made
> > exceptionally difficult by the kind of verbal meandering that's going on
> > on these screens.
> Frankly, I don't care what you think of "PF," but I'm not going to be
> bullied into silence by some censorious bunch of hogwash about what's
> GREAT, what's a LEGITIMATE SUBJECT, what films I have to talk
> 'intelligently' about, or any of the other arguments you seem to be
> propounding.
> As for verbal meandering (a nice way to follow up on your earlier comment
> about not "affronting" [sic], by the by), give me a long, slow, wet,
> passionate break.  Originally, I wrote about the ending of "Pulp Fiction" in
> precise terms having to do with the content of the film and specific images,
> words and edits in specific response to an earlier post.  You took this
> as an occasion to belittle my taste for not being as canonized as yours,
> offering nothing but what you thought was wit as your basis of argument.
> And speaking of meandering:  Get enough sense to cut someone's .sig before you
> respond to their mail....
>                         |"I'm a multi-faceted, talented, wealthy,
>       Shawn Levy        | internationally famous genius.  I have an
>   [log in to unmask]   | IQ of over 190.  People don't like that."
>                         |                       -- Jerry Lewis
Shawn Levy,
I honestly did not mean to affront.  I'm sorry you took it that way.  I
was making, at the beginning, what I thought was a honest comment on a
discussion I was reading.  Sorry to have barged in.