While idly wandering the internet on business hours I was lucky enough to discover the following bit from Reverse Shot's favorite critical punchline and probable Log Cabin Republican, NY Press film critic Armond White, here holding court on the three alternate videos for Kanye West's song "Jesus Walks":
"West, Coodio and Chike boldly confront this secular, disbelieving culture. While joking, they assert the principles of faith and endurance against hip hop's usually profane standard. ("They said you could rap about anything except for Jesus/ That means guns, sex, lies, videotape/ But if I talk about God then my record won't get played. Huh?") As daring in its own way as Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ was in confronting atheistic culture, this still-religious parody reminds the hip hop audience of the ennobling examples taken from Christian faith, sacrifice and martyrdom."
For those keeping track, Armond is positing that the College Dropout album (10 Grammy nominations, 440,000 copies sold in its first week alone) and The Passion of the Christ (some $611 million worldwide box office) are in some way counter-cultural monuments, standing up to the author's favorite boogeyman, the dominant cabal of godless nihilists, hipsters, nihilist hipsters, and godless nihilist hipster critics—all of which interchangeably stand in as targets for his unfocused invective and sanctimonious humanism.
Armond's myopia never ceases to amaze; of course the "disbelieving culture" he's addressing is limited to the culturati crowd at the critic's screenings that he attends. But while Armond's puking up the calculated contrarian claptrap that's the Press' stock-in-trade, flyover America is happily snapping up their 'Passion' paraphernalia and bumping the thinking man's idiocy that is the The College Dropout. For my part, the memory of having to drive the four hours to Cleveland so I could see a fucking Claire Denis movie is a little too fresh for me to imagine that the lobby of Film Forum is the world.
How the proudly stupid title of Kanye West's product syncs up with the "Faith in education [that] makes Sounder seem out of fashion today," which Mr. White praised only last week, is between Armond and his God. But Armond's constantly reiterated insistence that hipsters—a hot paper target whose only uniformly agreed-upon feature is that they're, like, fake or something—are the greatest enemy that art and humanity currently face is not only misguided, but downright retarded. "Daring," Armond, is catching an ass-whupping for showing up on the first day of 8th grade with faggy goth makeup. Floating demographic softballs to Jesus's fan club or making innocuous soundtracks for community college parties? That's just pandering.
Stay tuned for information on the Reverse Shot Armond White retirement fund. Those so inclined can enjoy Armond's bold championing of lousy cash cows here.