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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride

Raising Kael: What’s In A Title?

PAULINE KAEL is set to join the ranks of the esteemed litterateurs of the Library of America (alongside her peer Manny Farber), and there are new collections of Philip Roth and Kurt Vonnegut in the next batch of releases as well. The volume’s edited by Sanford Schwartz, and coming from the critic who wrote “I Lost It At The Movies,” “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” “Going Steady,” “Deeper Into Movies,” “When The Lights Go Down” and “Taking It All In,” what sweetly skeevy double-entendre of a title has the august press arrived at? “The Age of Movies: Selected Writings of Pauline Kael.” Whut? What opportunity has been missed here? “The Tender Age Of Movies”? Nah. “The Underage of Movies”? No. “The Long And Short: Selected Movie Writings By Pauline Kael,” that wouldn’t be half-bad. Why is an appropriately inappropriate title so hard?

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“To me, there was a deep confusion that still persists,” Morris told the crowd, “and I don’t know what you can do to disabuse people of this notion. I suppose you could hit them in the head with a large piece of lumber, but I’m not sure that would do the trick. It’s a simple rule: Style doesn’t guarantee truth. Truth is something far more elusive. Truth is a quest; you pursue truth. You go after it, you try to uncover it, because we all know that we live in a sea of falsehood. I mean, there shouldn’t be any tool that should be unavailable to you in the pursuit of truth.”
~ Errol Morris

“I hang out with highbrow people and I have on certain occasions earned my living with non-highbrow people. I don’t know what I am. A highbrow wannabe? I’m a groupie of intellectuals. I try to hang around them but maybe I am a clown who enjoys the company of intellectuals. Or maybe I’m a semi-intellectual who likes to hang out with clowns.”
~ Wallace Shawn