About a month ago I wrote Criticizing A Critic. In this diatribe I blasted LA Weekly film critic, Scott Foundas, for wasting ink and paper with what I considered to be ineffectual reviews. Below is his response which I have reprinted in its entirety.
How lucky for you that, effective January 1 of next year, I will be leaving the Weekly to assume the position of Associate Programming Director at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. You’re less lucky, I suppose, that my bosses here at the Weekly have kindly invited me to continue to make occasional contributions whenever my schedule allows, and that the editors of Film Comment, the official magazine of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, have already added me to their masthead as a Contributing Editor.
But I guess I’m really the lucky one, seeing as how you’ve only just outed me now as such a know-nothing bore. I mean, had it happened sooner, it might have dissuaded my bosses here at the Weekly from giving me so much support over the last seven years; or stopped the editors at our affiliate papers in the Village Voice Media network from reprinting my reviews, interviews and essays from coast to coast; or at least given pause to the editors at The New York Times, Slate and Cahiers du Cinema who have asked me to make guest contributions over the years. Who knows?–it might even have prevented the Cannes Film Festival from making me the first American critic to serve on an official jury there since Pauline Kael, or the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis from inviting me to conduct master classes with such visiting filmmakers as Milos Forman and Mike Leigh, or filmmakers from Paul Thomas Anderson to Clint Eastwood from granting me a level of access to them and their working methods extended to few if any other working journalists. I guess we’ll never know.
For whatever it’s worth, a lot of readers of the Weekly (much less discerning than you, it goes without saying) have seemed appreciative of the products of these labors over the past seven years. But now that the job is officially open, I humbly suggest that you submit your own resume to the appropriate agents, or at least help to publicize the vacancy among the next group of rowdy teenage moviegoers you encounter.
3861 Sepulveda Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90230
I felt petty when I received this e-mail. I obviously upset a sensitive individual and he was decent enough to even give me a heads up about a job opening. So this was what I wrote back to him.
Dear Mr. Foundas,
Thank you for responding. I apologize if you took my pointed criticisms of your work personally. I have never met you and I am certain you are a fine and decent individual. I wish you only the best as an associate program director, but I can not help but feel proud that my words lit a fire under your behind.
Your three paragraph letter was the most passionate writing I’ve read from you. Perhaps in your future contributions you can channel those same emotions and bring readers something equally soul baring. (Although you did lose me for a bit in paragraph two with your list of accomplishments.) I will take your advice and throw my resume in the direction of the LA Weekly. Is it inappropriate to ask you to be a reference?