[Marxism] Armond White is the Kanye of film criticism | NOW Magazine

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Jan 18 07:56:36 MST 2014

When 12 Years A Slave premiered at TIFF last year, studio honcho Harvey 
Weinstein chalked up the success of such films to a post-Obama 
renaissance. “He’s erasing racial lines,” Weinstein told The Wrap’s 
Sharon Waxman. “It is the Obama effect. It’s a better country. What a 
great thing.”

Like Kanye, Armond White poses a threat to this idea of the “Obama 
effect.” The election, then reelection, of Barack Obama, and the arrival 
of a film like 12 Years A Slave (if we're to believe that the latter is 
contingent upon the former) signals the erasure of racial lines only in 
the sense that they deny the continued existence of such lines. These 
lines are not being erased. They’re being matted over. As White put it 
in his review, the film “makes it possible for some viewers to feel good 
about feeling bad…12 Years A Slave lets them congratulate themselves or 
‘being aghast at slavery.’”

That many are similarly aghast at White’s disruptive behaviour at the 
New York Film Critics Circle Awards only certifies this point. Of course 
it’s rude and coarse, etc., to call someone “an embarrassing doorman and 
garbage man.” (The specific insults are also loaded with racial 
connotations that square with White’s criticism of McQueen; he’s 
basically calling the filmmaker a steward of white liberal America’s 
metabolic repression of its own racism.)


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