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Geoff Klock politely savages Anthony Lane of the New Yorker and his ridiculous review of "Kick Ass"

Remarkable: An Open Letter to Anthony Lane, in Response to his New Yorker Kick-Ass Review I'm a big fan of Dr. Klock's, and occasionally find Anthony Lane interesting, though I feel he often smudges the facts of a story to make it fit into his preconceived meta-narrative. Klock takes Lane to task here for maliciously spoiling the ends of films he doesn't like, and for saying outrageous things (Kick Ass is akin to child porn?) without sacking up and defending them. Please read the whole thing.
Nearly a year ago I wrote on this blog a response to your colleague David Denby for his review of Inglourious Basterds, in part because he felt the need to spoil the ending of a movie he did not like. In that open letter I mentioned something you did that bothered me: you spoiled the ending of the movie Watchmen, a movie you did not like. I have heard arguments that movie reviewers should be able to spoil movies, because now they are too straightjacketed by "rules." I am sympathetic to this. The ending of the movie is part of the movie, and as a reader I might need to know about it to understand if it is any good. I never really got into Seinfeld until the brilliant final episode, and it was a wrongly mailed to me copy of Entertainment Weekly that spoiled the season 2 ending of Alias for me and got me into that show -- and from there to LOST, a show I love. And a lot of times I want the review instead of the movie. I am never going to see Remember Me, but I totally wanted to hear about the absurd ending in which it turns out this dumb love story -- surprise! -- does not take place in the present day, but in 2001, and ends with our guy going up the Twin Towers the morning of September 11. So if you guys decided to open reviews up to discussing the endings, this could be a neat thing. It would put you ahead of the game maybe. But the New Yorker has not done this. I know, because after your review of Watchmen your magazine printed a letter to the editor from a reader who was bothered that you spoiled the ending. This was, I think, a gentle rebuke from your editor surely. In printing the letter the New Yorker was saying "hey, we think this guy has a valid point." That may seem like a dumb thing to point out to someone like you, but the fact that you later spoiled the ending of Kick-Ass shows that you were unable to see that. And I don't think that you want to have a spoiler-ific discussion of movies anyway. I think you believe that movies should NOT be spoiled. That is why you only spoil movies like Kick-Ass and Watchmen -- movies you hate. You are spoiling these not for discussion, but for spite. . . .
{much more at the link]

April 22, 2010

Military worried that American kids are too fat to fight

I wonder if they're too fat to pilot remote drones that murder civilians? Report says school food making kids unfit to serve - Yahoo! News
WASHINGTON – Too fat to fight? Many American children are so overweight from being fed french fries, pizza and other unhealthy foods at school lunchrooms that they cannot handle the physical rigors of being in the military, a group of retired officers say in a new report. National security is threatened by the sharp rise in obesity rates for young people over the last 15 years, the group Mission: Readiness contends. Weight problems are now the leading medical reason that recruits are rejected, the group says, and thus jeopardize the military's ability to fill its ranks. In a report released Tuesday, the group says that 9 million young adults, or 27 percent of all Americans ages 17 to 24, are too fat to join the military. The retired officers were on Capitol Hill advocating for passage of a wide-ranging nutrition bill that aims to make the nation's school lunches healthier.