Wednesday, February 25, 2009
He missed the point
I re-watched Roger Ebert’s review of Blue Velvet and it seems to me that his anger and dislike of the movie stems from his own insecurities. He is supposed to be an authority on movies and reviews them for a living, but he didn’t understand Blue Velvet and it pains him. He says it isn’t about how the character Dorothy reacts to be naked and beaten; it’s about how HE reacts to seeing it. I’m reminded of Nabokov’s idea that to be a good reader, you can’t connect too much with the work you are reading. Ebert is taking Lynch’s imagery as almost a personal attack on the viewer, a shock tactic with no real purpose. He fails as a close-reader (viewer?) by not even attempting to look for a deeper meaning in the scene. Maybe it’s because he reviews so many films that Wallace would call low art, films who just aim to make money and flood the box office with customers, that he can no longer recognize art when it hits him in the face (and stuffs a piece of blue velvet in his mouth).