Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Date Which Shall Live in Infamy


The Man From Porlock commenced blogging two years ago to the day: September 22, 2007. My first post, a long-winded defense of The Graduate, managed to contain at least one thought worth repeating: What I responded to immediately in that film (and still do) is how it evokes "the possibilities of cinema." Similarly, the possibilities of online criticism have opened doors that the print media, to its detriment, still hasn't fully grasped. I'm not without sympathy toward the original form. My first real job was at a professional newspaper; I've even been paid twice for cultural critiques in The Chronicle Review. I got hooked on reading movie reviews in my teens and I'm still hooked today. Some print critics are still worth reading, but the hard truth is that Internet criticism is now heads and tails more topical, versatile and stimulating than its hard-copy counterpart. The creation of this blog was a modest yet overt effort to go where the action is. To contribute to the discussion. 200 or so posts later, I hope in some small way to have accomplished this.

Marking my 2nd anniversary will be equally unassuming: no "Here are links to 18 posts that inexplicably nobody commented on!" from yours truly. I'm always grateful when anyone takes time to leave a comment, and frequently surprised about what provokes a response. A year and half ago, my pan of the little-seen indie comedy Rocket Science stirred an angry rebuttal from an anonymous reader. And little did I guess that my latest post, a snarky doodle about Legends of the Fall, would prompt some impassioned defenses. Of course I'm susceptible to compliments and have been inspired by the generally positive response to my stuff, especially those longer "think-pieces" every few months when I have a bug up my ass about a topic and need to vent. I appreciate the huzzahs when you think they're warranted. But I hope it's clear that I enjoy disagreement too.

I want to extend thanks to everyone who has ever posted a comment, with special acknowledgements for regular FoPs (Friends of Porlock) Jason Bellamy, Ed Howard, Fox, Hokahey, Edward Copeland, Steven Santos, and Fernando Croce. Relative newcomers (for me) FilmDr, Kevin J. Olson, Adam Zanzie, and others have also contributed vitally to the general discussion. Additionally, I want to thank Helen, Mary, Caius, Robin, and the many incarnations of Mr. & Mrs. "JD," a handful of real-life friends and family who are aware of my double-life on these pages and stop by to visit now and then. (Helen has also contributed as a guest-blogger and will hopefully do so again.) If you are a regular reader that has never commented, that's okay too. You have my deepest gratitude.

Except for the aforementioned, The Man From Porlock came into being largely due to the absence of real-world counterparts who shared my enthusiasm for movies. (Which is more than fair; I suspect many of them have eked out private domains for their own obsessions.) I spent about a year leaving the occasional comment at The House Next Door before a "Close-Up Blogathon" finally spurred me to build an online home. (I was inspired enough to make not one, but two contributions to that blogathon.) For this, as well as providing several "Links of the Day" to my stuff in its tenuous early months, Matt Zoller Seitz is an indirect founder of this blog. More currently, Keith Uhlich has welcomed my sporadic contributions to The House and has been a constant source of encouragement. Thank you, Matt and Keith.

Readers can expect more of the same over the coming year. (A cause of personal amusement in looking back was my initially frenetic pace: about 15 posts per month. That's dwindled to approximately 8 or 9, a more reasonable number for my own time, energy and sanity, so thanks for your patience between posts.) Two things that I think more or less distinguish The Man From Porlock are A) comparisons between different films or media; and B) forays into television and the odd book. The Fall TV Season promises more of the latter and I'm looking forward to delving into my favorites again. That said, movies will undoubtedly occupy the majority of my attention. They are my passion and always will be. The day they stop being so will be the day I stop writing.

Not gonna happen any time soon.

Onto Year 3!

Best,

Craig

13 comments:

Kevin J. Olson said...

Congrats! I'm glad I found your blog this year. I think I stumbled upon while I was reading Ed's blog...I love how this whole film blogger/cinephile online community thing works. Yours is one of my favorite stops. Keep up the outstanding work!

Oh, and thanks for the shout-out (although you have me linked to FilmDr's site, hehe).

Craig said...

Sorry about the link, Kev. It's fixed.

FilmDr said...

Congratulations! Your impressive blog is a pleasure to read.

Steven Santos said...

Congratulations, Craig! I enjoy reading this blog and your takes on different films. You are a writer who contributes greatly to the dialogue on film and look forward to coming here.

Just as a side note, thank you for tipping my Basterds piece to the House, essentially doing for me what you describe Matt and Keith did for you. It makes me truly appreciate how much of a community we have here.

Jason Bellamy said...

Happy anniversary! I very much respect the busy lives we all have that make regular blogging difficult (which is why we really need to beat the crap out of Ed Howard for his ridiculous ability to produce quality content at a breakneck pace that makes the rest of us look like slackers). So you have my full understanding when Porlock grows quiet. But I love it when it's bustling. Always one of my favorite stops. At whatever pace, keep it going ...

Craig said...

Steven - apologies if my hat-tip brings the rabid fanboys down on your site. Hopefully it will stimulate thought for others as well. In any case, it's a piece that deserves to be read.

Ed Howard said...

Hey Craig, congratulations. I always love stopping by and I know that any new post here is worth reading. Keep up the good work!

And Jason, I'm sure my breakneck pace is on the verge of slowing down. In other words, please don't hurt me... Heh.

Hokahey said...

Craig - Keep it up. I always find your posts to be fresh and original - and I appreciate your comments on my blog. As Jason said - we're all busy people, but we have this passion for movies that keeps driving us, so we might as well write about the movies we see and share our thoughts with readers who respond.

Caius said...

Happy anniversary! Also, I totally agree with you on the complete superiority of the web for criticism: no constraints of length or from advertisers, and plenty of space for people to talk about what they really care about. Porlock is one of the examples I have in my head when I get into conversations about why I don't get a newspaper at home--it, and the things like it, are so much better than the hack work at all the local papers I've ever read.

Ryan Kelly said...

Happy Birthday! Or is than anniversary? Either way, here's hoping for many more!

Craig said...

Ryan, good question. I guess technically it is a birthday. Yet there are elements of a marriage too. Either way.

Fernando F. Croce said...

Congratulations, Craig! Love the site, love the posts, and am deeply honored by the shout-outs--here's to more years of great stuff ahead.

Adam Zanzie said...

As you said, Craig, I'm a newcomer, but I intend to continue following this blog. I must learn as much as possible about the party going on over here!

Happy anniversary, man.