Armond White’s NYFCC Rebuttal: Actors Were ‘Naive,’ Fellow Critics Were ‘Racist’

It was only a matter of time before notorious New York Press film critic Armond White would respond to the controversy over the recent New York Film Critics Circle Awards, where NYFCC chairman White called other critics “fascists,” then came in for criticism from invited guests Darren Aronofsky (who said, “You give all of us another reason not to read the New York Press“), Michelle Williams, and Mark Ruffalo. The only question was how the famously contrarian White would respond; perhaps he’d fake us all out and make yet another 180-degree turn away from the conventional wisdom? Well, his essay on the matter is in, and White not only sticks to his guns, but finds additional targets: After calling Williams “naive” and Ruffalo “gullible,” he goes after two of his fellow critics who publicly commented the ceremony – the Village Voice’s Jim Hoberman (who spoke to Gawker) and Entertainment Weekly’s Lisa Schwarzbaum – and isn’t afraid to ascribe racist motivations to both of their criticisms.

Hiding behind the facade of publications with larger circulations, they assume professional integrity that doesn’t exist. Oddly, they welcome being pissed on by movie people, then display the obnoxiousness of middle-class cowards who resent less-empowered people not like themselves.

Yes, racism motivates Schwarzbaum and Hoberman. They pretend to be hip and ladylike, but they’re simply the type of class oppressors unique to the bourgeoisie. Blue-collar people would likely be straightforward and more honest, but these pseuds harbor unexamined ethnic prejudices, political partisanship, intellectual pretenses and jealousy.

Fact is, they’re shills: uninterested in free expression or different points of view. Their lives are committed to promoting Hollywood and controlling culture and criticism. Their dishonesty is symptomatic of the media’s corruption. For years now, Hoberman hasn’t been able to stand the heat of the New York Press’ competition. They cannot abide any challenge to their influence – a danger epitomized in the dubious consensus surrounding The Social Network, which is nothing more than a memorial to in-group ruthlessness. Tellingly, the film remains unsupported by public enthusiasm. Yet Hoberman is so incestuously positioned in media and suspiciously connected to the bohemian and art scenes that he’s got New York film culture toadying and cowering before his most sinister whims.

Is anyone else imagining an exciting new trio of critics for Ebert Presents at the Movies? (Assuming, that is, that Roger Ebert could let slide White’s assertion that Ebert destroyed film criticism.)

Indecent Exposure [NY Press]

Armond White’s NYFCC Rebuttal: Actors Were ‘Naive,’ Fellow Critics Were ‘Racist’