Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Re film critic Armond White and the New York Film Critics Circle's expulsion of him.

From Walter Biggins, writing for the late Roger Ebert's website:
And even if you accept that White—or if not White, the tablemates that he failed to control—behaved badly at an awards ceremony, does that offense necessitate an emergency meeting, much less an outright dismissal from a group in which was a three-time president and dues-paying member? Isn't this a behavioral issue that could have been solved by disinviting White and his entourage from future dinners, or perhaps asking the wait staff and security at next year's dinner to keep an eye on White's table and nip any problems in the bud before they had a chance to become problems? 
Even if we agree that rude behavior at awards dinners is unacceptable—and I do—what does it have to do with anything beyond the dinners themselves? 
White has always lacked decorum, often to his detriment. He can be appallingly childish. But this contretemps exposes a deeper, more systemic childishness, an unwillingness to tolerate dissenting opinion under the guise of promoting "respect" and decorum. Sometimes it is decorum itself that is stifling, that shuts down debate, that maintains a harmful status quo, and that needs to be dismantled so that rigorous, full-bodied, multifaceted criticism can flourish. Isn't that what a critics' circle should be striving toward?

A link to the entirety of Biggins' article:

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