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In 2009, I read Marjorie Baumgarten's review of The Stoning of Soraya M.
, July 31, 2009] and was horrified by her statement that the film was "a kind of dramaturgy that will be overly simplistic for most Western viewers." The implication that Western thought was somehow more complex than some "Eastern" way of thinking struck me as a despicable form of Social Darwinism.
This week, her review of Baggage Claim
, Sept. 27] again racializes an audience she judges as inferior: "Although there’s a strong likability quotient for everyone onscreen here, which ought to keep the movie minimally afloat among its target audience of black viewers starved for a new Tyler Perry offering, Baggage Claim
should be left behind at the carousel."
This is what the social construction of racism today looks like – distinguishing between groups and identifying them as lesser-than (in their taste or in their mental capacities).
These types of statements should never be published in The Austin Chronicle
, and the editors ought to do a better job of having them removed. As a proud Austinite, I am truly disgusted.
Once again, the Chronicle
's movie reviewer sadly missed the mark [Film Listings
, Sept. 20]. OK, I get it. If you watch umpteen movies every week as part of your job, you can't be over the moon about every film. But Thanks for Sharing
was so good on so many levels that when I read Kimberley Jones' ho-hum and actually negative review, my head just about exploded! WTF? I'd say it's borderline sociopathic to discourage anyone from seeing this film. Not only is it well written and very well acted (being a guy who doesn't easily tear-up, I had at least two unexpected sobby moments), it's a movie that has profoundly positive social value and messages. Addiction and obsessive/compulsive behavior are epidemic in our world, more so than ever. Jones' opinion that the film “isn't really about a disease, only the cure" is blatantly inaccurate. Perhaps she'd prefer to see two hours of out-of-control depravity with no redemption. Perhaps she's uncomfortable with – and quick to denounce – anything that lifts the lid on her own shadows. Who knows? What is important is that people disregard her arrogant condescension and go see this worthy and poignant film. It not only shines a needed light on the problem itself and shows very clearly how it can and does ruin lives, it portrays real people helping each other out of dysfunction. Wow, what a concept! That Jones thinks this is "a sham as a portrait of actual human beings," only belies her own dysfunctional mind, in my opinion. But people, forget Jones and her pettiness. Her assessment of this movie is the only real sham. Go see it. You will enjoy it and you will learn something. You might gain more compassion. If you've ever been in recovery for anything, go see this film. It has enough grit to be very real and it's uplifting, life-affirming, and it has heart. Don't let movie snobs convince you there is anything wrong with that.
Kate Thornberry needs to get out a bit more often [“Garbo's Fresh Maine Lobster
,” Food, Sept. 27]. She mentions knowing of only one place in town to get a lobster roll and notes the cost-prohibitive price tag. Dock and Roll Diner has been on the food scene for a while now, serving up excellent lobster rolls from both their South First and Westlake locations. At $13, they match the prices she lauds at Garbo's. Dock and Roll also offers a full assortment of non-lobster treats; everything we've tried has been fresh and delicious.
Although I think the focus on "The Corner" can yield many positive results, I'm curious to see a follow-up on why APD only recently began this comprehensive approach [“Reclaiming 'The Corner,'
” News, Sept. 20]. Was it budget constraints, new law enforcement methods that have been studied and only recently promoted, or the fact that the area is now one in a long line of Austin neighborhoods being gentrified? It's beneficial to see a long-neglected area revitalized, but why must deep-rooted residents be ignored for so long until that happens?