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A Broad Opening

A blog is a lofty undertaking these days, riddled with potential self-referential pitfalls at every line break. I thank my lucky stars it’s a forum that didn’t exist during the height of my giddy supergrrlhood, lest I’d have inflicted upon even more people my ’90s no-accounts of clattering through New York City on improbably high heels. Bust my ass, baby: There’s enough breathless hypernarration masquerading as legitimate writing floating through the e-ther without my own two-cent rationalizations.

So why blog at all, Ladyrosman?

Because, save a few fantastic voices, and despite (or perhaps because of) the breadth of publishing options, the scope of criticism out there has progressively narrowed, not widened. These days, no matter what the subject, a reviewer answers but one question: Do I recommend it? And I’m not sure that one’s enough in the political, environmental, ideological, and spiritual maelstrom we’ve come to call daily life.

Talk about lofty: My goal is to situate cultural criticism in a larger, moral universe. Mostly I’ve written about film and television, and I intend to continue to do so. We’ve become a nation of watchers, so these media have become the great cultural common denominators. Looking at what we look at provides an apt jumping-off point to examine the social contract — and how it is failed and served every day.

After all, art is what speaks most directly to the human condition, for which I’ve always favored prescriptions rather than mere descriptions. We seem to have forgotten that art can move us, quite literally, to another place. And because it can, it’s worth asking about film, tv, and occasionally other social phenomena: Why does it move me? What’s moved the creator(s) to tell this story? How does it move me further, in any direction?

So who am I to tackle these questions? Mostly just a broad, with all the double entendre attached to that word: bawdy, blowsy, a little larger than life. Before I called myself a writer, I worked in the labor movement, and practiced a little too much yoga for my own good, maybe. I’m ever laboring to remain openhearted, though my tongue’s lodged firmly in cheek — if not often enough in check. And I prize in my own work and the work I review: wit as opposed to snarkiness; intrepidity rather than grandstanding; precision rather than sterility; sincerity rather than sentimentality; splendor as opposed to perfection. Really, what I prize is a Broad View.

You can keep me posted about how well I carry out my task.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy