According to a story by Larry Carroll of MTV News, Rob Schneider took offense when Patrick Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times listed this year's Best Picture Nominees and wrote that they were "ignored, unloved and turned down flat by most of the same studios that ... bankroll hundreds of sequels, including a follow-up to 'Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo,' a film that was sadly overlooked at Oscar time because apparently nobody had the foresight to invent a category for Best Running Penis Joke Delivered by a Third-Rate Comic."I suck at writing shitty reviews. I just don’t have it in me for whatever reason. I hate doing it. My enthusiasm for grindcore always gets in the way. Maybe it’s because I, too, lack a Pulitzer (but I do possess a closet full of other, lesser journalism awards, if I may brag), but I also don’t think having hardware is necessarily a prerequisite for cultural criticism as Rob Schneider would aver.
Schneider retaliated by attacking Goldstein in full-page ads in Daily Variety and the Hollywood Reporter. In an open letter to Goldstein, Schneider wrote: "Well, Mr. Goldstein, I decided to do some research to find out what awards you have won. I went online and found that you have won nothing. Absolutely nothing. No journalistic awards of any kind ... Maybe you didn't win a Pulitzer Prize because they haven't invented a category for Best Third-Rate, Unfunny Pompous Reporter Who's Never Been Acknowledged by His Peers."
But Schneider is correct, and Patrick Goldstein has not yet won a Pulitzer Prize. … As chance would have it, I have won the Pulitzer Prize, and so I am qualified. Speaking in my official capacity as a Pulitzer Prize winner, Mr. Schneider, your movie sucks.
And while that is one of the great smackdowns in cinematic criticism, what’s always struck me most about Ebert’s writing is that he’d much rather discuss what he loves about film then be bogged down dissecting disposable Hollywood tripe. Consider his recent evisceration of the new Conan movie. Ebert seems bored, exasperated to have to waste time and pixels critiquing a film that he knows will be forgotten within a fortnight of its release. You can practically hear the audible sighs as he counts out the minutes being wasted. Compare that to the loving, luxuriant tribute to Ingmar Bergman’s classic Through a Glass Darkly. Given something positive to linger over, Ebert gushes over every nuance of a wonderful cinematic experience. His enthusiasm is palpable in his writing.
I’ve previously bloviated about how Ebert’s writing has been an inspiration to me over the years, and this is another instance where I can relate to his perspective. I absolutely hate trashing somebody’s album. I’m terrible at it. It's probably lingering anxiety because I'm not a cultural producer. Rather, I'm a cultural parasite who draws from someone else's creativity for inspiration. Maybe that's why I’m just not good at being an asshole even though, if you were to meet me off the web, there’s a good chance I’d come off as an asshole.
I’m still flattered and astounded people actually care enough about my opinion that they ask me to check out their music or bother reading me at all, and I hate having to rip music apart knowing somebody, somewhere has invested so much of themselves in their art. It’s actually uncomfortable for me to give something a bad review. It causes me a lot of anxiety when I post something negative. I tend to put off writing about those albums, hoping some time later I might be able to find some redeeming quality that will mitigate my distaste.
When I find something that engages me, I get excited. I want to talk to other people about it. I want to hold it up to the light and study the sparkling of all of its facets. I want to peek inside its cranium to figure out how it performs its magic. When the time comes to write, the words are just there. It’s effortless, ideas flow, an organizing conceit comes easily. When I write about bad albums, I may as well be cracking rocks on a chain gang for all the enjoyment it gives me. It’s a labor, not a pleasure. I enjoy nothing more than nerding out with others who share my enthusiasm, endlessly dissecting our favorite artists, albums, songs, riffs, drum fills. That’s far more fun than squatting over a laptop to drop a deuce on somebody’s well meaning but amateurish album.
I really love grindcore (I’ve used “blastbeat” as a network password at the office, ferfuckssake). I know the internet is infested with anonymous assholes who feel free to shit on everything (*cough* Lambgoat message boards *cough*), but I’d much rather spend my time connecting with other people over something that genuinely moves me than ripping down someone else’s hard work. Unless it’s Rob Schneider. That guy fucking sucks.