In the spirit of summer housecleaning I have removed to the left a couple of no-longer-functioning links. "Newcritics," begun by Tom Watson, Lance Mannion and a all-star cast of extras, closed up shop a few weeks ago. It was an interesting experiment that attracted plenty of talented people, but by and large I enjoy their political writing a lot more than their cultural criticism. (Where, frankly, as in the case of Mad Men, they don't know what they're talking about.) Additionally, with deep regret, I removed Larry Ardylette's "Welcome to L.A." and am too exasperated to add any further incarnations. For those not in the know, Larry is a fine and engaging writer with a perverse habit of deleting his blogs without warning, starting up a new one, then abruptly nuking that one too. (Before "Welcome to L.A." he was "The Shamus," and he should have stopped there.) I suspect this may be Larry's profound postmodern social experiment that means to explicate for us the slippery tenuousness that is life, but in practice it's just fucking annoying. No mas. In their place, I added Hokahey's (friend of Jason B.'s) fine "Little Worlds."
Assuming the video comes back up (it's vanished for some reason), Matt Zoller Seitz's latest vid-essay on Do the Right Thing is worth a looksee. I remember vividly the controversy surrounding the film when it came out, which prompted thunderous acclaim (see Roger Ebert's original review) and hysterical denouncements more or less equally across the board. (I saw it a year later at my university, sitting in the second row of a packed house with a few friends, one of whom had his view hilariously obstructed by an African-American gentleman seated directly in front of him wearing a giant cowboy hat.) My favorite howler remains Steve Vineberg's negative review in No Surprises, Please, his anthology on 80s cinema (really a blow-by-blow parroting of Pauline Kael's criticism from the same decade), where the author claims that Do the Right Thing had "coded" for the black community a secret message of violence and intolerance. (And if anyone can crack that code, it's a white upper-middle-class theater professor from Holy Cross.) I'd say Ebert nailed it better then, and MSZ nails it now. It's a movie that's looking more timeless and essential with each passing year.