Fencing Match

Slate‘s L.V. Anderson and Belief.net’s Nell Minow ragged on some Hunger Games comments, including my own. Anderson accuses me and two others (Hollywood Reporter critic Todd McCarthy and N.Y. Times critic Manohla Dargis) of “bodsynarking on Jennifer Lawrence,” which he calls a “baffling, infuriating trend.” Minow called my remarks in this alleged vein “truly horrifying.”

I took no shots at Lawrence. I merely said that in a romantic context she “seems too big” for her jockey-sized costar Josh Hutcherson. Yes, Hutcherson’s Hunger Games character (called Peeta) is a bit of a candy-ass, which is why Ross cast an actor of smaller stature, but the vast majority of real-life women tend to pair up with guys their size or taller, so what’s so horrifying about saying Lawrence-Hutcherson look like a curious romantic fit? I posted a photo that showed their size disparity.

Minow suggests that instead of saying Lawrence is too big for Hutcherson, I should have said Hutcherson “is too small for her.” Okay, fine — he’s too small for her.

Minow also says I advised HE readers “to beware of the reviews of The Hunger Games by female critics ‘as they’re probably more susceptible to the lore of this young-female-adult-propelled franchise than most.’” I didn’t actually say that. I said to be wary of “certain” female critics who “may” be susceptible, etc. The use of “certain” and “may” make the difference between a blanket statement and a carefully phrased one. The p.c. goose-steppers will always assert that no one is ever more susceptible or responsive to a film with particular point of view than anyone else. We’re all neutral, all Switzerland, all the time. As I explained yesterday, that is laughable bullshit.

30 thoughts on “Fencing Match

  1. Jesse Crall on said:

    Yeah, I don’t seen any “snarking” on Jennifer Lawrence in what you said. She’s very, very, built and will always look “big” compared to guys who are under 5’9. So what? She’ll match up well with the Armie Hammers of the acting world. Takes all types.

  2. Yeah, I don’t seen any “snarking” on Jennifer Lawrence in what you said. She’s very, very, built and will always look “big” compared to guys who are under 5’9. So what? She’ll match up well with the Armie Hammers of the acting world. Takes all types.

  3. I think the WHOLE laughable thing Is not bullshit, like you say, it’s that you said “female critics”. IT DOESN’T MATTER that you said “certain” or some. I have found that whenever you lump humans into any ‘group’ you are going to hear about it.

    All ‘writers’ are not alike, All ‘women’, All ‘men’ All ‘file-in-the-blanks’. THAT”S what caught my eye the other day.

    You could have said, ALL FEMALE CRITICS or even SOME FEMALE CRITICS, it’s the ‘Female critics’ that pissed people off.

    If you had said ALL MALE CRITICS WITH GLASS you have faced a shit storm.

  4. I think the WHOLE laughable thing Is not bullshit, like you say, it’s that you said “female critics”. IT DOESN’T MATTER that you said “certain” or some. I have found that whenever you lump humans into any ‘group’ you are going to hear about it.

    All ‘writers’ are not alike, All ‘women’, All ‘men’ All ‘file-in-the-blanks’. THAT”S what caught my eye the other day.

    You could have said, ALL FEMALE CRITICS or even SOME FEMALE CRITICS, it’s the ‘Female critics’ that pissed people off.

    If you had said ALL MALE CRITICS WITH GLASS you have faced a shit storm.

  5. “As I explained yesterday, that is laughable bullshit. ”

    Wait THAT was an explanation?? I thought that was an *apology*.

    I’M SO CONFUSED.

  6. “As I explained yesterday, that is laughable bullshit. ”

    Wait THAT was an explanation?? I thought that was an *apology*.

    I’M SO CONFUSED.

  7. I’ve read so many reviews and articles that I’m not sure where I saw this, but someone in a review did say that Lawrence looked too well-fed to play someone from a place with perennial food issues, and noted that no one was saying anything about Liam Helmsworth also looking pretty buff.

    I think what Jeff said was probably just accurate in terms of the characters.

  8. I’ve read so many reviews and articles that I’m not sure where I saw this, but someone in a review did say that Lawrence looked too well-fed to play someone from a place with perennial food issues, and noted that no one was saying anything about Liam Helmsworth also looking pretty buff.

    I think what Jeff said was probably just accurate in terms of the characters.

  9. Considering the participants in this debate and the context of the remarks, you might want to ensure that readers know that “Nell” Minow is a woman, and “Neil” Minow is presumably a nonexistent male person you imagined.

    Wells to Discman Whoops! Fixed.

  10. Considering the participants in this debate and the context of the remarks, you might want to ensure that readers know that “Nell” Minow is a woman, and “Neil” Minow is presumably a nonexistent male person you imagined.

    Wells to Discman Whoops! Fixed.

  11. Read all about it in the upcoming Film Quarterly article, “My Favorite Dessert is Pear Shortcake: Gender Acrosomaticnormativity in Film Criticism”

  12. Read all about it in the upcoming Film Quarterly article, “My Favorite Dessert is Pear Shortcake: Gender Acrosomaticnormativity in Film Criticism”

  13. Does your last paragraph really hold water as a defense? Because in fact the original wording on your post was:

    “Be wary of reviews by female critics, as they’re probably more susceptible to the lore of this young-female-adult-propelled franchise than most.”

    You can see that in a number of places, including here: http://bit.ly/GJoQux

    You went back to that post later, presumably after taking well-deserved heat for the remarks, and added the watered-down “certain” and “may” disclaimers. The after the fact editing, along with using said edited comments as a defense, seems cowardly.

  14. Does your last paragraph really hold water as a defense? Because in fact the original wording on your post was:

    “Be wary of reviews by female critics, as they’re probably more susceptible to the lore of this young-female-adult-propelled franchise than most.”

    You can see that in a number of places, including here: http://bit.ly/GJoQux

    You went back to that post later, presumably after taking well-deserved heat for the remarks, and added the watered-down “certain” and “may” disclaimers. The after the fact editing, along with using said edited comments as a defense, seems cowardly.

  15. I didn’t actually say that. I said to be wary of “certain” female critics who “may” be susceptible, etc. The use of “certain” and “may” make the difference between a blanket statement and a carefully phrased one. The p.c. goose-steppers will always assert that no one is ever more susceptible or responsive to a film with particular point of view than anyone else. We’re all neutral, all Switzerland, all the time. As I explained yesterday, that is laughable bullshit.

    There is nothing more passive-aggressively p.c. and fascist than couching bigoted views with a “carefully phrased” “may” or “certain”. It’s called having your caking and eating it, too, Jeff.

  16. I didn’t actually say that. I said to be wary of “certain” female critics who “may” be susceptible, etc. The use of “certain” and “may” make the difference between a blanket statement and a carefully phrased one. The p.c. goose-steppers will always assert that no one is ever more susceptible or responsive to a film with particular point of view than anyone else. We’re all neutral, all Switzerland, all the time. As I explained yesterday, that is laughable bullshit.

    There is nothing more passive-aggressively p.c. and fascist than couching bigoted views with a “carefully phrased” “may” or “certain”. It’s called having your caking and eating it, too, Jeff.

  17. Yeah, what Noiresque said. It is to laugh. “Here, let me move the goal posts on being an asshole some more! Have I called you a ‘goose-stepper’ today?!?”

  18. “Be wary of reviews by female critics, as they’re probably more susceptible to the lore of this young-female-adult-propelled franchise than most.”

    @ty Webb

    You are correct, those were Jeff’s original comments then we went back to add modifiers to the statement. He should fess up to it because many people screencapped it . Those original comments were uncalled for and sexist.

    I will however defend Jeff when it comes to the statement about Lawrence. It wasn’t a negative statement about her body. It was aimed more at her shorter love interest.

  19. The thugs and goons in this thread are invited…no, asked to go eff themselves. “Get him! Hold him down…hit him…kick him!” Disgust and repulsion, fellas. Effing p.c. ruffians. Sometimes a thought comes out a little more bluntly and less qualified than you intend, and so you change it…okay, asswipes? Everything I say and write & fart out of my system is movable, malleable, adjustable, revisable, finessable, rethinkable…whatever I make it, when I feel like it. It’s a process, a journey, a daily discovery. Except for the opening 15 words of this post. That you can take to the bank. Effing wankers. Liberal brownshirts.

  20. Perfect, man, perfect. The only way you could improve it would be to add a Barbara-Bush-esque fillip about what you’re not gonna waste your beautiful mind on. Which you could totally do, being so malleable and all.

  21. Wells, there is an open code of conduct on the web. You are free to correct or update all you like. But you MUST at the very least strikeout the original text and leave it available for examination. Everything’s transparent now, man. Editing without acknowledgment, in this age, says one thing to your readership: I think you’re all suckers, and I can fool you.

    But you can’t. Your tracks are everywhere. So note the trail of edits yourself, before it bites you on the ass.

  22. It is how it works. Check out Andrew Sullivan’s column, for starters. No destructive editing. If nothing else, it’s enormously illustrative of a thought process, and I think healthy. I’d be a big supporter of this tack if you chose to take it, that’s for sure.

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