Friday, October 03, 2014

The Argument Continues

I recently watched The 50 Year Argument on HBO.  Directed by Martin Scorsese and David Tedeschi, it tells the story of The New York Review Of Books. I used to read TNYROB regularly, but that was back before the internet when I'd go to the library. (It is available on the web, but many articles are locked.) It was a place for lengthy pieces on a wide range of subjects--politics above all, but also the arts, science and whatever else tickled the fancy of the public intellectuals that gathered there.  The pieces were well-written and the authors knowledgeable, even if their beliefs were sometimes a bit insular and even shallow.  And though the Review was generally the voice of the Left, the positions inside weren't always predictable.

The 50 Year Argument could have told a fascinating history of how the magazine came to be and how it works behind the scenes. It feints in this direction, but most of the time is spent concentrating on one piece or another. Even if many of these pieces are famous, there's not enough context, not enough story. There's also a framing device dealing with an issue that was big when the film was shot, Occupy Wall Street, that's already dated

Then there's the self-congratulatory tone.  I understand this is a celebration of the magazine, but there's an attitude that they got it right when others got it wrong that I'm not sure the evidence justifies. (Their piece on Rathergate, backing Mary Mapes, is still the most intellectually shameful things I've ever read in a periodical with any sort of reputation.  Not that this article is mentioned in the documentary.)

I could imagine a better documentary on the subject, but as I'm guessing this is the only one we'll get, it'll have to do.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ideology poisons your posts

3:56 AM, October 03, 2014  
Anonymous Denver Guy said...

Anon, isn't that what he said about the documentary? Talk about your 50 year argument!

7:56 AM, October 03, 2014  
Blogger LAGuy said...

Please point on where this post is poisoned.

9:48 AM, October 03, 2014  
Blogger ColumbusGuy said...

I think your time in LA is turning you into a masochist, LAGuy.

1:27 PM, October 03, 2014  

Post a Comment

<< Home

web page hit counter