Richard Brody points to this extraordinary piece of meta-criticism by a writer named Paul Brunick, unknown to me. It's a VERY detailed examination of a short, and apparently quite controversial, review of "Toy Story 3" by Armond White. Brody has his own views, which are also interesting, but Brunick is pretty devastating -- especially to someone like me who admires White's spirit and verve. Brunick's conclusion:
So where does this leave us? By my count there are about three declarative statements in this entire piece that are not categorically inaccurate. The rest is a seething tissue of factual errors, self-negating examples, glaring elisions, logical inconsistencies, specious industrial analysis, mystifying rhetorical constructions and basic grammatical errors. It speaks for itself. As White's critical hero and much invoked "mentor" Pauline Kael once said in an interview, "No one should trust any critic who does not take the art form he is writing about seriously enough to write a decent paragraph. I simply do not trust the observations of people who write sloppily or in illiterate hyperbole." Of course, all of these mistakes would be far less objectionable if they weren't used to prop up some of the most misanthropic mudslinging that any "professional" reviewer has passed off as criticism since, well, the last outrageous thing Armond wrote.