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Film: Stuck-Up

By Henry P. Raleigh
ART TIMES Spring 2016

henry_p_raleigh_drawingStuck up

I ignored it as long as possible. I mean my last born child’s (a millennial techie, if there ever was one) incessant carping about my stubborn willingness, if not ignorance, to sit before an outdated TV missing the visual splendors the new machine could offer. They, at least, are called “smart”. I think I caught the innuendo here — it’s true I do a good deal of researching movies on a TV monitor so shouldn’t I view these under the best conditions? Isn’t this the fair thing to do? Would it be right to know a Rembrandt painting only from a half page black and white reproduction in Gardner’s Art Through the Ages? Well sir, having made peace with those devilish algorithms —they leave me alone, I don’t disturb them—I’m ready to advance to the next technological level.

Now it turns out the next level, in fiscal terms, requires a lay-out of up to $4,500. Maybe I’d best not aim for the maximum viewing experience all at once—film critics are notoriously underpaid, you know. Smaller, less ambitious sets do have rather attractive prices in the $200-$300 range and are know somewhat insultingly I think, as petites. Still, it’s not proper to chose on only the basis of dollar amounts— professionally speaking. Certainly the very first thing to know is the optimal screen size best for you and I’m told that takes little more than dividing up some numbers somewhere, by 1.5, multiplying by 12, or was it 14? — in any case I will probably be purchasing a LCD set being sure not to confuse this with LED TV with OLED’s secure in the knowledge that LED TVs are just LCDs with LED backlights and who doesn’t know this, for goodness sake’s? OK, some people don’t — I need to brush up on these newer terms like 802.11 AC Dual Band Wi-fi, which can do just fine on 2.4 Hz and 5GHz if you have a dual band router. All that’s left for me now is to call in my last born, remind him that this mess is his damn world and I say to hell with it.

This really brings me up to something far more disturbing than my lack of familiarity with quantum dots or Hz refresh rates. Not long ago A.C Scott published a mea culpa of sorts, sadly, yet courageously admitting he finds himself a “fossil . . . the last devotee of an obscure and obsolescent creed” namely, the once proud profession of film criticism. How do you think that makes me feel? I like to think that I am to Art Times as Mr. Scott is the to New York Times. If he would bravely accept the denigration of being called a “film snob” can I do less? Isn’t truth telling, critical integrity worth it? Am I up to receiving the ridicule of every self-styled critic on the Internet, to be seen as a mere poseur, a pretentious stuck-up? Oh, I have been known as a curmudgeon, which is not the same as a snob— it’s a gentler word, you see, hinting amusingly that someone is in or on the brink of senility so take it easy on him. It’s customary to stone critics, I know, curmudgeon’s however, are simply sent to their rooms without dessert. Thinking it all over, I guess, it would be prudent to hold off a bit— That goes for LED too, with or without High Dynamic Range. Better wait to see how Mr. Scott fairs and I certainly wish him luck.

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