[Marxism] Encounter with a NY Times film critic

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Jun 9 19:32:01 MDT 2016

Just before Werner Herzog’s latest film “Lo and Behold, Reveries of the 
Connected World”, which is an idiosyncratic take on the Internet as 
might be expected, I mentioned to my colleague Harvey Karten of NY Film 
Critics Online that hardly anybody in the Magno screening room on 7th 
and 49th looked like a critic. Mostly they were in their 20s and looked 
like NYU students. He said that they get invited by the publicists they 
are friends with so they can see a free movie. He added, pointing to the 
opposite side of the screening room, that A.O. Scott was in the 
audience. I should mention that Scott is the lead critic of the NY Times.

As the film ended, I began making my way to the elevator and spotted 
Scott checking his IPhone. What the fuck, I said to myself, let me go 
introduce myself (I am not shy.)

“Hi, A.O., I’m Louis Proyect the Unrepentant Marxist”, I said offering 
my hand.

He shook mine and said, I read your blog. This led to a conversation 
about the film and Werner Herzog. He said that after getting my take 
that he was surprised I didn’t mention capitalism. It took me a second 
to figure out what he was talking about. Oh, you mean how he didn’t deal 
with Amazon, the NSA and all the other crap? I never imagined that he 
could have been tuned in to the lack of a radical critique that I 
missed. As we continued chatting, we agreed that Herzog is a genius 
always worth seeing.

On my way home, I wondered how many people at the paper have left 
politics as he obviously does. In the 1930s when the CPUSA was huge, 
people at the Times either joined or were very friendly to the 
party—especially Walter Duranty who backed Stalin.

If the fucking radical movement had only been smart enough to build a 
mass party in the 60s and 70s instead of imploding trying to carry out 
idiotic sectarian attempts to replicate the Bolshevik party, people like 
Scott, Hedges, et al could have been part of a powerful workers movement 
instead of isolated intellectuals.

Let’s hope that the new left that is emerging doesn’t repeat our 
boneheaded mistakes.

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