“No poor people please, I write for the New Yorker” – Daniel Kalder on Lawrence Wright in the TLS

Daniel Kalder  had a review in the TLS a while back of Lawrence Wright’s God Save Texas. The full text is on Kalder’s own website.

Entertainingly, while the review itself mixes caveats with somewhat snarky praise (“God Save Texas is a fine, engaging account of the Texas inhabited by an urbane, well-connected gentleman journalist.”) , the summary in Kalder’s email newsletter (which you can subscribe to here) is more concisely dismissive:

No poor people, please, I write for The New Yorker

Last time, I shared an article I wrote for the TLS. Well, here’s another by golly.

It’s a review of a book entitled God Save Texas, in which a bourgeois journalist named Lawrence Wright (a contributor to The New Yorker) heroically namedrops his way around Texas, visiting the big cities and some picturesque small towns while studiously avoiding all contact with members of the lower orders. My personal highlight is the bit when he leaps to the defense of his erstwhile neighbor, Matthew McConaughey, to give us the real story behind that widely reported alleged naked bongo incident from 19 years ago.

Short version: If you like books by gentry liberals for whom no amount of success can assuage their status anxiety then God Save Texas is for you.

Long version (but not that long, I promise you) can be read here.

I also liked his newsletter review of the recent “reboot” (dread phrase) of The Predator”


Nothing to do with anything: 1$ cinema club

Today I would like to introduce a new feature, $1 cinema club, which may or may not ever be repeated again. The concept is simple: in $1 cinema club I will review a film which I have watched at the discount cinema in Round Rock, Texas. This is a place I like to visit on Wednesday nights, when it is all but abandoned except for myself and other connoisseurs of nocturnal ennui. In each review I will pose and answer the question: Was that crap film I just watched even worth a dollar? If not, how much of a dollar was it worth? It’s a bit like the thumbs up/thumbs down metric of Siskel & Ebert but more scientific.

The subject of this review is Shane Black’s recent reboot of the Predator franchise, named simply The Predator. Having seen the original as an impressionable teen I was optimistic that they would do the right thing and make a very violent film that didn’t require you to think too much, preferably starring Jason Statham, who might deliver a kung-fu kick to the alien or kill it with a spoon, like he did the bad guys in the otherwise thoroughly unnecessary film Redemption.

Alas, what I got instead was an ill considered buddy movie that fused Predator DNA with the A-Team TV show and which starred the Macauley Culkin-looking fake tough guy from Narcos and a bunch of other humans pretending to be soldiers. As the film dragged on, I was seized first by boredom, then irritation, then a sense of wonder: how could you take such a simple, pure concept and make something worse even than Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem?

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