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Edward Wilson on: White Power

The Reeler Blog

White Power

By S.T. VanAirsdale

Film culture undoubtedly lost a valuable sounding board when the commentary blog Armond Dangerous stopped updating last spring. Dedicated to "parsing the confounding film criticism of Mr. Armond White," the site was a must-read analysis of White's obtuse, antagonizing and otherwise impenetrable NY Press riffs on everything from Inland Empire to We Are Marshall. It's never just enough to have Armond out there writing about cinema; life was that much better when we had had someone -- whoever it was -- out there writing about Armond.

So thank God for Steven Boone's double-barreled AW blast today via The House Next Door, one of which cuts through to the first half of a thorough and thoroughly staggering interview with Armond. Smack Spike Lee and Sidney Lumet? Check. Smack The New York Times? Check. Optimistically characterize filmmaking as "the art of the middle class"? Let's see...

SB: Why can't-- why can't-- I'm looking to the left and to the right of me and I'm seeing young kids making music with portable digital tools. The rise of hip hop-- turntables and mixers, samplers, cheap equipment--

AW: Well, hip hop has become a bourgeois pursuit as well.

SB: Right. So let's go back to that pure place where it started.

AW: Can't go back brother.

SB: Let's revisit--

AW: Nobody's painting in caves anymore, either. Can't go back there. But you've got paper and pencil. If you're an artist, that's sufficient.

SB: I'm depressed. (laughs)

AW: Don't be depressed. (laughs) Just accept what it is and make the most of it.

OK. Check. Elsewhere, Boone has also has narrowed down "Ten Armond White Quotes that Shook My World," noting:

The best White writings agitate, scold, flail, balk, intimidate, insult and weep for the state of the world. But they're not an act. They give movies and pop culture a messy, personal reaction. ... Though he writes in a kind of crisp, omniscient-sounding voice, White's work expresses heartbreak at most folk's refusal to make/let culture enter their hearts/minds and change their lives/worlds.

Click through to read Boone's selections, as infuriating and challenging -- and sure, even occasionally brilliant -- as you'd expect. Love him or hate him, it's a fantastic way to close out your Monday.

Posted at December 10, 2007 2:55 PM

Comments (1)

Silly me. Upon first glance, I thought the headline said: White Powder. And I expected a capsule about Kevin DuBrow's untimely demise.

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