Snark hater and Gawker Least Important Writer, 2012 David Denby is stepping down after 16 years as a New Yorker film critic, Indiewire reports. According to the magazine, Denby will "give up his fortnightly reviewing in early 2015 but will continue as a staff writer, contributing longer critic-at-large pieces."
Last month, Isaac Fitzgerald, the newly hired editor of BuzzFeed's newly created books section, made a remarkable but not entirely surprising announcement: He was not interested in publishing negative book reviews. In place of "the scathing takedown rip," Fitzgerald said, he desired to promote a positive community experience.
Oh, what a shock: David Denby's book, The Internet is Mean and I Am Smart, is full of either intentional misreadings and factual errors or inadvertent glaring mistakes because he is a lazy thinker and a poor writer, who really needs an editor, which is why he would not actually be a successful blogger, because he'd get called on his shit by those "snark-merchants" or whatever the hell he calls people who call people like David Denby on their obnoxious bullshit. Thankfully only two people have actually skimmed his book.
James Stewart is the most respected financial journalist of our time. The author of Den of Thieves (about financial shenanigans) and DisneyWar (about corporate greed), he is on a first-name basis with corporate greed and financial shenanigans. But he also has personal finances, about which he writes a personal finance column in the Wall Street Journal and Smart Money, and today's column is a little reminder why they don't give out Pulitzers for "sage investment advice." Because he was tricked into buying those auction-rate security things! Which is, like, fair enough: I don't understand them even after reading this long explanation and consulting the helpful graphic. But, oh god, his excuse for getting suckered in!!
When Juno, the 16-year-old heroine of the movie being marketed hardest to my generation this holiday season, tells her best friend she's pregnant, the friend's first reaction is, "Honest to blog?" CLUNK. But in spite of being forewarned about that line in the movie's ubiquitous T.V. spots, and in spite of David Denby's New Yorker rave—"Juno is a coming-of-age movie made with idiosyncratic charm and not a single false note"—I still held out high hopes for alternastripper memoirist turned screenwriter Diablo Cody's collaboration with 'Thank You For Smoking' director Jason Reitman. But guess what? There are false notes aplenty in this trytoohardy movie. Honest to blog!
Like you, we're always overjoyed when the alternating New Yorker film critic is David Denby rather than Anthony Lane; it's one less review we have to read that week. Today's issue, however, produces something of a master class in why Denby is despised by all right-thinking people: "The New Disorder" is a four thousand word essay in which Denby lets you know that nonlinear narrative (apparently invented by Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avery in 1994) is difficult to follow. As Denby examines "the overloading, the dislocations and disruptions," you realize that this piece is equally, if not more, difficult. We're not sure what the bigger mistake is here. Is it the sheer pointlessness of attempting to codify narrative techniques that have been in place for at least a century, or the idea of having Denby as the explicator in the first place? In any event, in a fit of postmodernism of our own, we've recut and remixed Denby's essay. If you somehow have the fortitude and the free time, you can read both and decide which makes more sense. Or any sense at all.