Here's a followup to my posting on why people believe movies. Read the previous posting first if you want to know exactly what I'm talking about. If you're all set, let's proceed with another demolition of writer Russell Bates.
Reading, 'riting, and reviewing
To remind everyone, I've written fiction before: published short stories and comic books as well as unpublished attempts at novels and screenplays. By that I mean good fiction, unlike Russ's mediocre episode of animated Star Trek, the main thing he's known for. I'll put up my writing abilities against his any day of the week.
Not that someone has to write fiction to read and review it. As I've said before, you don't have to serve as president to criticize the president. You don't have to fight in Iraq to criticize the war in Iraq. You don't have to fly to the moon to criticize the manned space program. Etc.
I could go on and on with these analogies. Russ has never addressed them because, well, he can't. It's not even clear to me that he understands them, although they're painfully obvious.
Hilariously, Russ misstates the "logic" of his own analogy. If one should read a book before writing one, then one should see a movie before writing one. Not write a movie before criticizing one. Duh.
If you can write a book after reading one, it follows that you can criticize a book after reading one. And that you can criticize a movie after seeing one. Why? Because both writing and criticizing a book or movie require an understanding of plot, characterization, and so forth. Yet criticizing a book or movie is a simpler task than writing one. If you can write a long book or movie script, you probably can write a short critique.
Newspaper Rock's posting policy
After two years Russ still hasn't grasped this blog's methodology. Even when it's staring him in the face. How dumb can you get? Pretty dumb, apparently.
Again, to state the painfully obvious: The majority of the items I post are excerpts of other people's writings. I post them because I think they have valuable things to say...because they've experienced things I haven't...and because they're (often) Native and I'm not.
I follow this practice for every subject. I've literally posted thousands of articles on matters I have no personal experience with. Tanka Bars. The Hualapai Skywalk. Nike's Air Native shoes. Chief Illiniwek. Ward Churchill. The Makah whale-hunt controversy. The Crazy Horse Memorial. The Trail of Tears. Pine Ridge Reservation. Etc., etc., etc. Why should movie reviews be any different?
Journalists like me often interview the actors or directors of films, or write about the making of films, without seeing the works in question. Although Russ doesn't seem to realize it, this is standard journalistic practice. Similarly, I post people's articles about films and reviews of films even if I haven't seen the films myself. In each case I'm letting the writers (the journalists and the critics) speak rather than speaking for them.
Of course, I've also written hundreds of my own reviews. Russ has written about one. Yet because he's penned some half-forgotten TV episodes, he thinks he knows the art of reviewing better than I do? Based on what, exactly?
The evidence proves this isn't about me. Sure, Russ slams my reviews, but when I post other people's reviews, Russ slams them too. The common denominator is that he can't or won't dispute the reviews themselves. It's a classic case of attacking the messenger when you can't attack the message.
TV writers aren't filmmakers
Let's note that Russ is a screenwriter at best, not a filmmaker. He's more of a fading TV teleplay writer than anything else. His "major" claim to fame is his Star Trek and Isis scripts from the mid-1970s. If he's ever had a screenplay produced, it isn't listed on IMDB.com.
In other words, he's about as much of a filmmaker as I am. Not being a filmmaker, he has no credibility on the subject of whether it takes a filmmaker to judge a film. Moreover, I've never heard of a filmmaker who holds this opinion.
Conclusion: Russ's view is stupid and childish. Clearly he's trying to inoculate himself and his Hollywood buddies from having to defend their flawed works. Too bad he can't do anything except complain about criticism he doesn't like.
I suggest you learn how to write better, Russ. Feel free to share this advice with George Lucas, Mel Gibson, Larry McMurtry, and the other white writers you shill for. If the lot of you learns how to fashion better movies, people like me won't have to criticize you so much.
For more on the subject, see Educating Russ About Criticism and Why Does Rob Keep Criticizing?
Below: One of dozens of historical flaws in the Spielberg/Lucas Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.