About That Time Armond White Brought Up Noah Baumbach's 'Retroactive Abortion'...
This week's corrosive meltdown between critic Armond White and Team Greenberg -- including filmmaker Noah Baumbach, his publicist Leslee Dart, and distributor Focus Features -- was thought to have wound down with White's admission to a screening of the film this Friday. You'll remember Dart "banned" him from the first NYC critic's preview occurring tonight, in part because of an old review where White allegedly said the filmmaker's "parents should have aborted him." White hinted to Movieline and several other publications that he never wrote any such thing. And he's right -- kind of. Now that someone's dug up the smoking-ish gun, you be the judge.
An industrious Village Voice researcher spent some library time digging up White's evisceration of Baumbach's 1998 film Mr. Jealousy, which concludes like this:
I won't comment on Baumbach's deliberate, onscreen references to his former film-reviewer mother [former Voice critic Georgia Brown] except to note how her colleagues now shamelessly bestow reviews as belated nursery presents. To others, Mr. Jealousy might suggest retroactive abortion.
Maybe it's just me, but that sounds a lot like, "When it comes to reviewing Georgia Brown's filmmaker son, I'd rather bestow a retroactive abortion than a belated nursery gift" -- i.e. a nice review for its own sake. But hey, it's all figurative anyway, right? What's the big deal? Good one, Armond!
Well, there's this: White hasn't yet responded to my inquiries about the unearthed review, but yesterday, he e-mailed this reaction to Dart's complaints as published at Movieline and elsewhere: "It's what I say in my bylined articles that matter, not unconfirmed, uncorroborated gossipy quotes and allegations. She never professionally inquired if the blog comments that upset her were actually said. (And by now the 'abortion' line has been totally, completely, misquoted, reshaped, distorted--and unsubstantiated.)"
OK. At least now it's been substantiated in a bylined article. It officially matters. But distorted? "Totally, completely misquoted"? Tell me what I'm missing to disagree.
· Proof That Critic Armond White Did Call for Noah Baumbach's Abortion [Village Voice]