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Monday, March 21, 2005

Knee-Jerkism is Alive and Well

Once again, I’m going to riff off of a comment from Maria Benet. (Keep those comments a-comin’ Maria! You save me from trying to find material for a post).

Thanking me for the link to Jonathon Delacour’s post, she comments:

“Funny thing is that two nights ago, at dinner with old friends, we were discussing much the same issues that came up in relation to Bertolucci and Paris in 1968 (the way Jonathon mentions it)”

It sounds like Maria has more stimulating dinner companions than Jill and I have been having lately. Yes, I know, this is Berkeley, but there's a hell of a lot of closed-mindedness in the guise of intellectualism around here that can make dinners as stifling as an obligatory feed at Grandma's back in the redneck area where I grew up.

For example, our most recent dinner guests -- advanced degrees and all -- when the subject of Scorsese's "The Aviator" came up--raised their noses and proclaimed that they wouldn't set foot in any theatre showing this flick because Hughes was a fascist creep and Leo DiCaprio is just a vapid Hollywood smart-ass airhead, or something like that..

They’re probably right about Hughes, but it took some real effort to transcend the loosening effects of the dinner wine and refrain from guffawing at their learned opinion of a performance they hadn’t actually seen. The distinction eluded them, however, when I brought it up with as much politeness as I could muster.

My discretionary remark elicited a swift rejoinder: “You don’t have to actually GO SEE DiCaprio to know he’s terrible,” or something like that.

So much for advanced education. We should have discussed Bertolucci. I presume he would have been safe.


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