Digital Polyphony

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Armond White is a Piece of Shit

Posted on January 13, 2011 at 1:02 AM

Time for an overly-opinionated piece from yours truly, I just got set off, I suppose.

So, do you need more proof that critic Armond White, who is inexplicably the head of the New York Critics Circle, is nothing more than a self-serving trashy movie critic? Read this nice (and I might add slightly daring) article from Entertainment Weekly and Liz Schwarzbaum. You can read it here.

Nobody can defend him on this, not even White, but I’m sure he will. After all, he wants the page hits, as he even says himself. It's a pathetic display if I've ever seen one and I'm surprised the NY Ciricle hasn't stripped him of his title for his action.


Well, you might be thinking “Aronofsky started it.” Did he? Did you read White’s review?


I’m not saying you can’t not like something, but let’s look at his review for a moment:


-Ballerinas figure prominently in Kanye West’s half-hour film “Runaway,” and are among its many symbols of the agony and beauty of artistic struggle. But in Black Swan, one ballerina, Nina Sayers (played by Natalie Portman), becomes director Darren Aronofsky’s mechanism for a ridiculous psychological thriller that is genuinely less thrilling and revealing than West’s magical mystery movie.  (here, a Kanye West Video is better than Black Swan...and that video is ten times as nonsensical)


-Aronofsky’s ethnic denial and escape into Nina’s psychological trauma actually trivializes her artistic pursuit. Turning art into genre movie silliness is a careerist’s dance. (here he notes how Aronofsky’s film is entirely white-based but, more importantly, it has an agenda to show how non-whites are not a part of this world)



-Rapper-musician West is an inveterate dancer trying out unpredictable sounds, influences and gestures. He understands careerism as a maneuver fraught with real tension and frustration, and thus uses the ballerina to represent his own objectives and physical and emotional sweat. “Runaway” is the most ambitious of West’s adventurous music videos. (again he goes on about Kanye West and how amazing he is..he does this for three paragraphs)


-Our dumbed-down film culture is likely to prefer Black Swan precisely because: 1.) It is insipid; 2.) It glamorizes white petulance without specifically identifying its sociological or cultural sources; 3.) Its nonsense is familiar.   (here he notes how it’s not nearly as good as the Kanye West video which also has ballerinas in it)


-Insert more paragraphs of Kanye West praise here-


-Balletic grace and surrealist ingenuity are his responses to a race-based sense of oppression—a reality Aronofsky might have claimed for his Upper West Side schizophrenic but that he tellingly overlooks. Black Swan falsifies the whiteness of elite Western culture and the pressures it puts on its practitioners.  (again, bringing up the desire of the film to not have any black characters)


-Insert more paragraphs of Kanye West here - White must have seen Black Swan and Runaway on the same week.


“Who will survive in America?” That’s a black artist’s eternal question. Black Swan avoids it in favor of junk movie decadence. (his ending statement...but hey, at least he didn't claim Aronofsky's mother should have got an abortion ala Noah Baumbach which he stated)




My ending statement: Fuck Armond White. He brings up nothing regarding Black Swan and instead gives a dissertation on a Kanye West video that he feels is better than Black Swan and therefore Black Swan is a horrible movie as a result. No, not once critiquing the film’s points or utilizing an unbiased comparative analysis, but instead saying “Kanye West’s video is amazing, this movie sucks (and it’s too white).

I remember White saying that he felt Ebert was the worst thing to happen to film criticism. Really? Just read the article from Entertainment Weekly. Is film criticism juvenile behavior, lashing insults and carrying a pompous attitude? As I said in my film review video, none of that stuff should be a part of any type of criticism, especially "legitimate" criticism that White so hypocritically heralds. He can dish it out but can't take it in return.

He's a self-promoter. He says it right there in the article. He just wants readers. Is that "legitimate" film criticism as well? If that's the case, then maybe I should start writing reviews as viciously as I write blogs about a hack film critic. What little bit of respect I had for him, and I did as a writer of words, is gone. Somebody throw this guy out on the street. I would say out on his ass but we don't want to hurt his head too bad.



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1 Comment

Reply Gerald Bernhart
10:25 PM on February 24, 2011 
Thanks for bringing this guy to my attention. I read some of his reviews at nypress, and I gotta tell you, the man is a genius. No other living critic has the socio-political and spiritual awareness/ articulation that this man has. He speaks truth, which is jarring in this age of consumer-driven critical cant. He gives me hope for post-kael serious criticism. I pray that he becomes more famous. If he does, I believe his influence will inspire criticism to rise above the current status quo.