Kellow & Kael II

Some recent Kael items, including reviews of Brian Kellow’s forthcoming biography:

(see Kellow/Kael I)

4 thoughts on “Kellow & Kael II

  1. I’ve probably said this before on this site, but one mark of Kael’s influence, then and now, is that she is regularly featured on a website called “”. She gets her own category (listed just before Lester Bangs and Lillian Roxon, both of whom seem appropriate in that context).The derisory tag “Paulettes” is designed to dismiss both Kael and those who followed in her path (and it’s a silly dismissal, accusing those followers of copying Kael’s style when Kael’s biggest influence as a stylist was to convince us that our own voice, rather than a misguided objectivity, was a necessary part of critical writing). But whatever Paulettes are, we exist everywhere, not just in film criticism but in cultural criticism in general, in TV criticism, in academic criticism, in pop music criticism. One must always fight the dreaded draw of nostalgia, just as one must avoid the easy road of turning our icons into fossils. But the fact that Kael is still a vital topic of our obsessions seems important.

  2. I agree, Steven, and it does seem true of Kael in a way that isn’t nearly as true of her contemporaries. Sarris, Kauffmann, et al., are undeniably important, influential critics, but their critical voices just don’t seem to reverberate through — for instance! — rock criticism the way Kael’s voice does.

  3. This is only a small part of it, and in a way beside the point, but Kael was also the only one among Sarris/Kauffmann/Simon who took much of an interest in pop music. Simon (of course) openly loathed it, Kauffmann seemed indifferent (though he loved a couple of the Beatles films, and could respond as necessary), and Sarris…I don’t really remember–he preferred writing about old guys with eye patches.

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