Culture Briefs

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What has been the biggest debacle on Obama's watch?

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Awards roast

“Armond White, the film critic for the New York Press and chair of this year’s New York Film Critics Circle Awards, kept insulting everybody at last night’s award ceremony, prompting Annette Bening to issue a teary-eyed appeal for peace.

“Armond White is something of a character in the New York film world. He is a very angry critic who feels very passionately about movies and tends to hate what everyone else likes and like what everyone else hates. He once wrote, in reviewing Noah Baumbach’s ‘Mr. Jealousy,’ that Baumbach’s ‘film-reviewer mother’ should have had a ‘retroactive abortion,’ whatever that means. He’s that sort of guy.

“So when you put him on stage at an awards ceremony for some of the folks he ravages so passionately in print, expect sparks! ‘Black Swan’ director Darren Aronofsky actually started things last night, when he told White from the stage, ‘You give us all another reason not to read New York Press.’ That may have been a response to White’s review of ‘Black Swan,’ which accused Aronofsky of ‘ethnic denial’ and went on to discuss how much better Kanye West’s video for ‘Runaway’ was.

John Cook, writing on “World’s Crankiest Film Critic Makes Annette Bening Cry at Awards Show” on Jan. 11 at Gawker

Unknown fame

“Over the past decade, a number of documentaries have explored one person’s obsession over someone who had no idea they’d left an impact on the other. It’s a fetish that’s become increasingly relevant in an age where the internet and social networks make human encounters, embarrassments and indiscretions ever more anonymously accessible than ever. This emerging sub-genre of docs can best be represented by 2003’s ‘Stone Reader’ and two films from 2009, ‘Best Worst Movie’ and ‘Winnebago Man.’

“The movies solve mysteries of people who don’t realize they are mysterious, and serve as loving accounts of (and even arguments for) the seemingly trivial: a long-forgotten first/final novel in ‘Stone Reader,’ a cultishly beloved, stupefyingly bad movie in ‘Best Worst Movie,’ a viral video in ‘Winnebago Man.’

“Jack Rebney became famous as the ‘World’s Angriest Man’ for a series of outtakes from a tough taping session for a Winnebago sales video. Put together and given to Winnebago executives, the widely-circulated tapes lost Rebney his job, their first tangible negative result. The tapes migrated from much-dubbed copies swapped among friends and public access TV airings to the internet, turning a cult phenomenon into one of the hardiest manifestations of online viral culture. Alone on a fishing retreat, Rebney’s aware of his internet ‘fame,’ though its specific nature is incomprehensible to him: he’s a man out of time.”

Vadim Rizov, writing on Screaming Memes: ‘Winnebago Man’ and the Cult of Anonymous Wonders on Jan. 10 at Fandor

Second chance

“Can you believe that cad Brad Womack? Three years ago, he was given the world — a veritable harem of beautiful women to wine, dine and woo on national television — and that SOB didn’t marry any of them. Instead, the most notoriously gun-shy of all of the bachelors in ABC’s crowded stable of rose-brandishing swains did what the network still refers to as ‘the unthinkable’: He winnowed a pool of hotties down to Jenni Croft and DeAnna Pappas and decided he didn’t want to spend the rest of his life with either of them, thereby depriving all of America of the sight of a statuesque woman tearfully accepting a piece of compressed carbon.

“Didn’t anyone explain to this guy how television works? It doesn’t have to work out. In fact, in nine years, only one bachelor has tied the knot with a woman he met on the show, and that was Jason Mecick, who proposed to contestant Melissa Rycroft and then soon after married her runner-up, Molly Malaney, resulting in the most! awkward! “After the Final Rose” episode! Ever.”

Mary Elizabeth Williams, writing on “‘The Bachelor’s‘ twisted revenge fantasy,” on Jan. 11 at Salon

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