Tuesday, May 27, 2008


I love the Chicago Reader. Where else is one to read an article like this: http://www.chicagoreader.com/features/stories/moviereviews/080522/ that trashes one of America’s most loved movies, Raiders of the Lost Ark? Granted, they give a good review to the Crystal Skull movie, and this piece is clearly designed to prop up the cultly DIY home movie adaptation (which, from what I’ve seen of the first ten minutes, is pretty impressive) but I feel the formula of this new generation of Reader critics is pretty much set up like this:

1. Trash a loved/respected icon.
2. Celebrate a more whimsical/obscure dabbler in the medium.
3. Snark, snark, snark.
4. Establish all-important indie cred and secure position as someone in the know.

Hey, who among us is not guilty of some form of this behavior? We like to be the source of knowledge, to show-off to anyone who’ll listen, to demonstrate how much we know and how deeply we’ve thought about it all. We like to introduce others to things and we like it more when we can do so in a way that calls attention to the lesser tastes of others. It’s exhilarating. Sort of.

Of course, I’m guilty, though I at least acknowledge that guilt. Anyway, I fought it a while back when I sent the Reader a letter in response to a critic’s dismissive and ridiculous review of the last Mark Strand collection. And I’ve read every issue of the Reader since then and will continue to, despite (or, perhaps, because of) the guarantee that I will at some point shake my head and softly laugh.