FRAMEWORKS: Chantal Akerman's great film is unwatchable!


James Joyce's books can't be read: In the film with the title shown below really the greatest film of all time?

Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

Is that really the greatest film? Is that 1975 film "great" in any way at all? Because we haven't seen the film, we technically have no idea.

That said, we've been discussing those questions for the past several days. It might be time to discuss what this greatest film of all time is actually all about.

We checked in with the leading authority on this greatest film. Below, you see the rough overview the leading authority offers:

The film examines a single mother's regimented schedule of cooking, cleaning and mothering over three days. The mother, Jeanne Dielman (whose name is only discerned from the title and from a letter she reads to her son), has sex with male clients in her house each afternoon, for her and her son's subsistence. Like her other activities, Jeanne's sex work is part of the routine she performs every day by rote and is uneventful.

Then, late on the second and during the third day, Jeanne's routines begin to subtly unravel. She overcooks the potatoes while preparing dinner, and wanders around the house carrying the potato pot. She misses a button, and drops a newly washed fork. These alterations to Jeanne's existence continue before the third day's sexual customer arrives. She has orgasmic sex with the client, then impulsively stabs him to death with a pair of scissors. She then sits quietly at her dining room table.

First, she overcooks the potatoes. After that, she stabs someone to death. It's all part of a subtle unraveling!

None of that means that Jeanne Dielman might not be a truly great film. Its director, the late Chantal Akerman, was only 25 when she made the film, but the film didn't come out of nowhere. According to that same leading authority, its predecessor, Je Tu Il Elle, unfolded like this:

Julie, the focus of the film, is a young woman who lives alone in her room. For much of the film, she is seen rearranging her furniture, writing letters, lounging in the nude, and eating powdered sugar out of a paper bag. She eventually leaves her room and hitch-hikes with a young male driver. They make stops at a restaurant, a bar, and a restroom, before parting ways. The man solicits her for sex and discusses his family life in a long monologue with Julie.

Julie then stops by the house of a woman, her ex-lover. She makes Julie sandwiches and a drink, then they have sex. Julie leaves the following morning.

That could be a great film too. Admittedly, though, it's easy—perhaps even tempting—to roll one's eyes at such "avant garde" fare.

It's also true that advocates of this greatest film don't always do the greatest job explaining what makes it so great. In yesterday's award-winning report, we reviewed the strikingly fuzzy way Professor Mulvey explained, or attempted or seemed to explain, this greatest film's lasting greatness. 

As we noted yesterday, we don't have the slightest idea what Mulvey's fuzzy accolades mean, and neither does anyone else. That said, other advocates of Jeanne Dielman haven't done a whole lot better as they've praised the film.

 According to Decider's Glenn Kenny, here's the way Slate's Sam Adams "pithily" put it:

ADAMS (12/1/22): What’s great about JEANNE DIELMAN topping the #SightAndSoundPoll is not just that it’s the first movie by a woman but how thoroughly its long takes and rigorous mundanity militate against virtually every current in contemporary cinema. JEANNE DIELMAN has no adaptable IP, no holy-shit compositions or winking pop savviness—all it does is make you feel completely different about the way your body moves through the world.

Pithily or otherwise, that is indeed the very way Slate's Sam Adams put it! Jeanne Dielman is the greatest film of all time because its rigorous mundanity "makes you feel completely different about the way your body moves through the world."

Would that make sense if we'd seen the film? We have no idea. Except as a type of insider chatter within an extremely limited guild, that accolade makes no apparent sense as it's currently offered.

The crowning of Dielman as the world's greatest film is quite easy to mock, for at least several reasons. We'll mention again the awkward fact that the very lengthy film is often described as something like unwatchable.

How hard can it be to sit through the film? In an appreciation in the New York Times at the time of Akerman's death, Manohla Dargis offered this approach to what might, by normal standards, seem to be a problem:

DARGIS (8/20/15): The most famous meatloaf in cinema appears three hours into “Jeanne Dielman 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles,” a 201-minute leisurely dive into one woman’s inner and outer spaces. Radical in its form and politics, “Jeanne Dielman” (1975) was made by the 25-year-old Belgian director Chantal Akerman, who remains better known in academia and on the festival circuit than in the art house. In this film, Ms. Akerman gave an old-fashioned women’s picture an avant-garde makeover to create a slow-boiling masterpiece in which time never flies—it scarcely even budges.

"Time scarcely budges" inside the "slow-boiling masterpiece," Dargis wrote, perhaps a bit diplomatically. That may be a virtue of the film, though others have made things sound somewhat different.

Other advocates may have seemed to tiptoe around the question of the overpowering boredom produced by this greatest film. Here's a clip from the BBC's report on the film's selection:

MAISHMAN (12/2/22): Lillian Crawford, a film critic and writer who contributed to the poll, said the film was the "essential text" in feminist cinema.

"Jeanne Dielman isn't a film that I would say to someone getting into cinema 'Oh, this is the first film you absolutely must see'," she told the BBC.

"I think if you're going to work through the list, maybe do it in reverse order and sort of build towards it, because it's quite an ask to invite people to see this.

"But in an academic sense and thinking about cinema and encouraging more people to seek out experimental film, films by women, and in terms of the history of feminist cinema, this is absolutely the sort of essential text."

Jeanne Dielman is the world's greatest film. It's "absolutely the sort of essential text," in an academic sense.

That said, "it's quite an ask" to invite people to see or perhaps sit through it! Another self-described fan of the film may have been a bit more direct:

HOEFFNER (12/5/22): For the uninitiated: Jeanne Dielman depicts three days in the life of the titular middle-aged widow (Delphine Seyrig), who spends her time housekeeping, running errands, and turning the occasional trick as a prostitute. Most movies would cut around the housekeeping, or at least make it dynamic and stylized for the viewing pleasure of the audience. Not Jeanne Dielman. With only the ambient hum of fluorescent lighting for a soundtrack, we watch shot after long, static shot of Jeanne doing chores, more or less in real time. She scrubs dishes, peels potatoes, folds blankets, and polishes shoes; in some ways it’s more interesting than it sounds, but in other ways it’s exactly as interesting as it sounds. The film is over three hours long, and even its fans (myself included) will tell you that it feels at least an hour longer.

Not Jeanne Dielman! Indeed, the film is more than three hours long, but as we watch its long, static shots, it feels substantially longer.

To adapt a line from some other film, this is the way this guild describes the films it very much likes.

As we noted above, the recent crowning of Jeanne Dielman is quite easy to mock. On the one hand, it's easy to mock because of the fact, as reported in the New York Times, that it's "probably the best known example of slow cinema."

It also may be easy to mock for a quite different reason. It may be easy to mock because of the fact that its absurdly inarticulate advocates keep insisting that it's a prime example of "feminist" film.

Would Jeanne Dielman strike the average shlub as an example of feminist film? We have no idea. (For the record, we'd place two of our three favorite films in that general bucket.)

Jeanne Dielman might strike us that way too! But when a gang of inarticulate drones keep repeating this claim about a film which is extremely hard to watch, this may inspire random observers to roll their eyes at the overall veneration.

Regarding that possible reaction, we'll counter by offering this:

Does it make sense to claim that the greatest film of all time is unwatchable—is quite hard to watch?

On its face, that may not seem to make sense. But then again, James Joyce is often regarded as the greatest writer of the past century and, as everyone agrees, much of his later work was, and is, essentially unreadable.

(As Joyce writes near the start of Finnegans Wake, "Bababadalgharaghtakamminarronnkonnbronntonnerronntuonnthunntrovarrhounawnskawntoohoohoordenenthurnuk." As we used to tell our fifth graders, "Go ahead—just sound it out!")

Joyce is lionized in spite of the fact that such work is unreadable. Does Akerman's greatest film of all time fit in some similar class?

We don't have the slightest idea about the Akerman film. We do think that the way this very limited guild has elevated this somewhat unwatchable film may offer us a wider warning about the basic frameworks of understanding we derive from our society's cosseted elites.

Nothing much really turns on the claim that Jeanne Dielman is the greatest film of all time. But how should members of our blue tribe respond to disordered public figures like Kanye West and Donald J. Trump?

That's a deeply important question! How sound is the framework we're being offered by the cosseted, overpaid elite currently accepted as the leadership of our own floundering tribe?

Tomorrow: We'll start with our own favorite films


  1. "But how should members of our blue tribe respond to disordered public figures like Kanye West and Donald J. Trump?"

    Why, by sternly demanding that the wimmin trapped inside men's bodies are let out, of course. the genie out of the bottle!

    1. Mao, glad to see you're back to calling our attention to all these women trapped in men's bodies. You've made at least two posts this week which failed to relay that info. Please don't slack off again!

  2. Unwatchable seems a pretty strong statement. It is definite long and slow, and missing a lot of the trappings of a narrative film. But unwatchable? No. It is a narrative film, and, while experimental, it is not experimental in a way that makes you confused.

    I found it surprisingly moving, even if I wouldn't put it in my personal top 100.

    But then, I've never understood why film folks love "Vertigo" over other Hitchcock, particularly "Rear Window."

    1. "FRAMEWORKS: Chantal Akerman's great film is unwatchable!"

      It is Somerby's framework, which he is pushing on his readers, that the film is "unwatchable." He says this repeatedly, even though he has not ever tried to watch the film himself.

    2. It is unwatchable by a beginner, someone who doesn't know anything about film. It is considered great by those with educated tastes.

      When a child is first given a sip of hard liquor, they spit it out and think it tastes awful. That same liquor will be considered wonderful by an afficionado of fine whisky or brandy.

      Somerby is only saying that he doesn't believe in acquired tastes. He must think everyone who smokes and enjoys a fine cigar is faking it. And since he thinks shorter is necessarily better, he must think quickies are the best sex.

      Or maybe he is just a sexist asshole deriding a film by a woman because he thinks women's lives must be boring too, because they are filled with the moments depicted in this film. Or maybe that is the point? And maybe there is value to letting others experience what women's mundane lives are like, instead of just telling them bluntly "women's lives are boring." Film is experiential. Clearly Somerby doesn't want to know anything about women's lives, and that makes it no surprise that he has never married. Men don't want to know because then they might have to contemplate change for women.

      And notice how Somerby has not once talked about the point of the film, what it is really about. He focuses on its length, but I don't think he would watch 5 minutes of a woman doing something "boring."

    3. Remember Somerby's praise for the film a Promising Young Woman? What made that film so different from this one? From the descriptions, it sounds like Promising Young Woman was made from the male perspective described by Mulvey. It is full of action and revenge. Perhaps what Somerby calls "boring" is actually a male reaction to a passive acceptance of mundane life that finally becomes intolerable. The man who is stabbed at the end seems to represent all men, who use a woman without caring about her circumstances, which is exactly what Somerby is exemplifying with his comments here. He doesn't care about the protagonist but he also cannot tolerate a female perspective, one that never compromises with the male viewpoints described by Mulvey.

      Somerby seems to be defining a watchable film using those same male perspectives. But where is it written that men can or should only watch male perspectives, especially while nearly all films that women watch embody those male viewpoints? Why do men have the luxury of ignoring women's lives?

  3. "In yesterday's award-winning report,"

    It is pathetic when Somerby puffs himself up like this. I feel embarrassed for him.

    1. Woke Dems are a disaster for our "tribe"?


      Dems (progressive, woke Dems) win big in Georgia and should be the death knell of Somerby's nonsense, and sure enough he is so far quiet on the subject - I mean yeah it's hard to eat crow.

  4. "Jeanne Dielman is the greatest film of all time because its rigorous mundanity "makes you feel completely different about the way your body moves through the world."

    Somerby asks whether this would make more sense to him if he had watched the film. Of course it would. But not everyone experiences things the same way. If Somerby is incapable of experiencing this film the way others have done, it is not the fault of the film or its creator, but it may be an idiosyncracy of Somerby's, something that does put him on some spectrum or other. Similarly, there are things that Trump cannot and will not ever experience, because of the kind of person he is. It doesn't make everyone else wrong in their very different experiences of life.

    The main question is why Somerby feels compelled to spend 3 days (and counting) disparaging this film, without once considering whether he might have some deficiency of sensibility that prevents him from enjoying what eminent film critics consider great. That suggests that Somerby does not use the experience of others as a kind of frame of reference -- he does not index his experiences with other people. Who is like that? Narcissists. They don't know and don't care what others feel. And it isn't surprising that a man who quits being a teacher in order to become a standup comedian would be somewhat narcissistic. But his willingness to expose his deficiencies here is still embarrassing, the more so since he is obviously oblivious that this is HIS problem, not the entire film community's.

  5. "We don't have the slightest idea about the Akerman film. We do think that the way this very limited guild has elevated this somewhat unwatchable film may offer us a wider warning about the basic frameworks of understanding we derive from our society's cosseted elites."

    That is a lot of concluding to do about a film one has not watched and knows nothing about.

    Where, for example, does Somerby make the case that anyone who writes positively about such a film, or any film, must be a "cossetted elite"? And he has never told us what that particular "framework" is. He only insists that it much be there.

    What is Somerby's own framework? First, it is that there must exist frameworks that are telling us what to think about things like obscure films. Second, it is that it comes from cossetted elites, whatever that means. Third, he says it is coming from a limited guild -- which means not everyone is part of it. Fourth, it is that unwatchable films are actually watchable, just not by Somerby and nameless others who were seen leaving a theater in Cannes. But since a vote was taken, and this film won, not everyone agrees with those who walked out, obviously.

    And why is this important? Because Trump.

  6. “Nothing much really turns on the claim that Jeanne Dielman is the greatest film of all time. But how should members of our blue tribe respond to disordered public figures like Kanye West and Donald J. Trump?”

    The lack of a logical connection between the first and second sentences here means that Somerby must press forward with his attack on Akerman’s film.

  7. Film critics = cosseted elites (because they view film as an art form and choose films as their #1 that Somerby deems unwatchable)

    I’m guessing that Journalists also = cosseted elites (who report the news and who do not review films or necessarily choose unwatchable films as their #1)

    Thus, it is very important to judge the behavior of one set of cosseted elites based on the behavior of another, unrelated set of cosseted elites.

  8. Years ago Garry Wills noted what an
    empty insult “elites” is. Many people
    know more about one thing or another
    than most people do. Many people at an
    average open mic comedy night would
    be “elite” in comparison to Hershall
    Walker’s Wolfman bit.
    “Elite” is the reverse snob snob’s
    favorite put down.

  9. Although bashing an inconsequential movie is high priority, I thought I'd slip this in:

  10. I understand the nostalgia the cosseted elites feel for this movie as a modern portrayal of the murderous wrath that must always be simmering somewhere in women.

    My personal favorite will always be this one.

    1. You disappoint me. I thought it would be this one:

    2. Somerby blames the murderous wrath expressed nightly by Tucker Carlson on Carlson's mother because she abandoned him as a snotty nosed 8 year old. Having watched Carlson, I wonder how she stood it that long.

      Does Cecelia think that men will let women step outside their prescribed roles without women expressing wrath? Does she think that woman will escape prosecution for murder or will the courts be understanding of her inability to tolerate a life that Somerby couldn't even watch for 5 minutes without expressing his own rebellion?

      And yes, ads making fun of women by portraying men behaving like women in order to sell t-shirts is so much more articulate about WOMEN'S condition than a film that challenges male-centric directing.

      No wonder Cecelia is a Republican.

    3. You’re suggesting that Tucker Carlson’s mother should have murdered him?

      No, Somerby didn’t go there.

      Is there, could there be, a modern version of Medea, or would the killing have to be in utero?

    4. "You’re suggesting that Tucker Carlson’s mother should have murdered him?"

      Of course not. I am suggesting that maybe Carlson's mother's divorce didn't make him into a whiny entitled man-baby -- maybe he was that way to begin with, which made being his mother more of a chore than she could stand, along with Carlson's father's flaws, whatever those were. And that is assuming she initiated the divorce, and not Carlson's father.

      It is interesting that your mind goes straight to that thought.

    5. Anonymouse 2:49pm, I didn’t bring up Tucker and his allegedly angry and exasperated mama in the context of a movie about a woman gone murderous.

      You may need to look in a mirror.

    6. No, Somerby did that. Go back and look at his essays.

    7. Anonymouse 3:36pm, no, in the context of the movie thread, Somerby brought up Kanye and Trump.

    8. So Tucker’s mother did right by not murdering him. But should he have murdered her?

  11. Being eternally misunderstood as a woman is my second favorite movie trope.

    She doesn’t quite pull it off.

    1. Just say nope to that trope.

    2. @12:43 -- The shallowest commenter on this blog has just spoken. Note that Cecelia is pretending she has seen the film. She also thinks she understands feminism because she listened to Rush Limbaugh.

      Cecelia doesn't understand that this is a great film because the woman is understood, not misunderstood. Unsurprising that Cecelia ultimately misunderstands both the film and its female lead, given that Cecelia is most likely not a woman. She thinks you have to watch babies breathe or they won't do it.

    3. Actually, Anonymouse 1:31pm, if you watch the movie clip linked yesterday, Dielman (I wonder if the director chose that last name as irony) quickly and perfunctorily checks her baby to see if he is still okay. If he’s still breathing, as it were. She eyes him, face drawn, she immediately turns away.

      I think that was a direction from a director in order to say more about the plight of women.

      Anyhoo, it’s such a lesson to be told that although women may have penises we sure as hell have to have had the same encounters, drawn the same conclusions, and sound just like…well, you.

      Oh, “feminist”…

    4. "I wonder if the director chose that last name as irony"

      Cecelia, the director is Belgian and the film is in French. The words are different in that language. Man = homme, for example.

    5. Cecelia, you have no idea what she was thinking as she "eyed" her baby to check on him. She turned away because she had things to do and he was sleeping and did not need intervention.

      In 1975, there was no admonition to always place babies on their backs to sleep, as there is now in the USA. That may still be true in other countries. After much US concern about SIDS, doctors believe nearly all such deaths were the result of suffocation by sleeping with a parent, or by being unable to push away crib objects, not some mysterious heart or breathing problem. Your belief that babies need attention when not demanding it is ridiculous.

    6. Anonymouse 2:39pm, so? I’m sure the director is vaguely familiar that there’s a language called English.

    7. Anonymouse 2:43pm, you’re taking the “still breathing” comment very hard, indeed.

      The era of the film would be one where a mother portrayed as checking on her baby, would have indicated some sense materialism. There was anything but that.

      I think that actress’s behavior was directed as a pretty avant-garde
      expression of female plight.

    8. There are two languages in Belgium. One is French and the other is Flemish, which is a variant of German. English is not a national language there. There is no reason to believe that a French-speaking director is making an English pun, just because you think you can superimpose your own meaning on the title. Test it and see whether it makes any sense in the context of the film. Ask whether it might contribute anything to that meaning.

    9. Anonymouse 3:09pm, I was “superimposing” rather than wondering about it, huh?

      There’s that sadly underpaid knowledge work.

      Oh, there’s reason to think that a director might be making an English pun, considering the number of English-speaking directors and critics who would be involved in evaluating this work.

    10. You began "superimposing" when you started lecturing to the rest of us about what the film meant.

      Your attempt to make your own pun-theory less far-fetched now suggests that a director who has made an iconoclastic experimental film did so with an eye toward the reactions of critics. That doesn't sound likely to me. If the title were a pun, it might suggest an interpretive framework, which is expicitly what the film was avoiding doing.

      I think you should think more and type less. Not every stray thought needs to be mentioned here.

    11. Anonymouse 3:35pm, only with angry knowledge workers could my saying “I wonder” be lecturing and superimposing.

      I’m sorry you don’t get paid very well. However, if you were Maddow salary level, no one is going is to take your opinion as gospel.

    12. Anonymouse 3:35pm, people who work at a craft wish to be esteemed by their peers and to have their work recognized by the finest among them.

      The movie is a portrayal not of the inclinations of the vast majority of women, but of the toll of despair.

      A dark pun is utterly suitable in that context.

    13. Flemish is a dialect of Dutch.

    14. Flemish was originally a geographical term referring to Flanders, "as all inhabitants of the medieval County of Flanders in modern-day Belgium, France and the Netherlands were referred to as Flemings, irrespective of their ethnicity or language."

      As a language, Flemish is considered a Western Germanic language. In Flanders, the northern part of Belgium, people speak Dutch. Most of the time, this variant of Dutch is called Flemish.

      The Dutch language, also called Netherlandic or Dutch Nederlands, in Belgium caloled Flemish or Flemish Vlaams, a West Germanic language that is the national language of the Netherlands, and with French and german, one of the three official languages of Belgium.

      The movie is in French.

  12. Jeanne Dielman may be a false-flag operation, intended to make feminism look bad.

    1. Somerby is a false-flag operation, intended to make men look bad.

  13. "Joyce is lionized in spite of the fact that such work is unreadable."

    English majors, literary critics and professors of literature do not find Joyce "unreadable." They reread and tease apart the references and their usage and admire the skill it took to create them. They love Joyce because of the work it takes to understand him. Of course, it takes experience and knowledge to engage in that kind of scholarship, which is deeply enjoyable and satisfying for those who know what they are reading.

    Somerby is against knowledge, expertise, skill, scholarship and so on, because not all people have access to it -- which he calls "elitism," even though the door is not barred to anyone willing to expend the effort of learning.

    What teacher is against these things, doesn't understand about them? A failed teacher.

  14. Women belong in the kitchen scrubbing potatoes and peeling carrots. It doesn't take a pretentious art film to know that.

    1. Another guy who didn't watch the film all the way to the end.

    2. Potatoes and carrots are good, but don’t forget celery.

    3. Have you ever tried to peel celery? It takes 3 hours to do it right.

    4. Anonymouse 2:35pm, give me celery over hard boiled eggs any day.

    5. No Cecelia, you mistake @1:37 -- if you are actually a woman, you are supposed to make your own celery or eggs. No one is going to give them to you. Girls start helping mom in the kitchen when they are old enough to reach the counter with a stepstool.

    6. Anonymouse 3:32pm, if they’re lucky.

    7. Yes, because peeling eggs is ever so much more fun than playing football with your neighborhood friends.

    8. The special thing about women is that they make eggs.

  15. "cosseted, overpaid elite"

    Overpaid? Somerby perhaps thinks no amount of money should be paid to people who are "elite," but everyone knows that the people who engage in knowledge work are generally underpaid. He was a teacher -- he should know. So why is he telling this lie?

    Maybe he forgot for a moment and thought he was talking about pop culture celebrities instead of cosseted elites. Or maybe he doesn't know the difference? I'm sure Trump thinks anyone who read a book from beginning to end is a cossetted elite, even if it was just a beach novel.

    Who teaches men like Somerby to hate those who can do things they cannot?

    1. Anonymouse 1:57pm, I think you’re right and the simmering anger is very obvious on tv news show where such people are offering their expertise to a news host who probably earns three times what they make.

      The murderous elite wouldn’t make it as a movie genre. They make Tucker look like a puppy. They’re as appealing as cosseted wolverines.

    2. How many murders have been committed by elites? A few have been committed by celebrities (Phil Spector, OJ Simpson) but none that I know of by professors of film and media. Maybe "murderous" isn't the right term, but the right's feeble attempt to make the left's cossetted elites seem as violence prone as MAGA extremists is duly noted. There haven't been any mass killings by professors or former prosecutors, or any of the types who appear as guests on MSNBC, or even anyone quoting them.

      Whataboutism rears its ugly head and its name is Cecelia.

    3. Anonymouse 2:33pm, I think you’ve misunderstood the movie.

      Women aren’t exactly killing men, right and left, in real life, even after having to put up with societal injustices, and becoming hookers in order to support themselves.

      I don’t think Chantal would say that she was suggesting such a thing, rather than illustrating the despair that is generally channeled in other ways.

      The same goes for our underpaid elites. We see them burning with ire on tv and, of course, on blogboards.

    4. No, it is incels who are killing women (and male bystanders) left and right.

      The way you describe it, the film may be suggesting that suppressing one's anger may not be a good idea.

      You should pause a minute and ask yourself what the ire on TV is about. Ask that about the left and then compare with what the right is angry about. Then ask whether the complaints on the right are even real. For example, how many swim teams have transfemale swimmers on them. How many teachers are teaching CRT in kindergarten. Is Hunter Biden planning to run for office?

      What are Trump and Carlson telling viewers to be angry about? Why is the right so much more likely to commit actual violence based on the ire whipped up by Republican politicians, and the whole slew of ire-mongers on the media?

    5. Anonymouse 2:57pm, and how many people engaged in “knowledge work” are paid commiserate to their expertise.

      How many of the them sit across from attractive hosts who aren’t so smart and on top of that must put up with people who think or say exactly what they know to be correct?

      The anger is palpable. They’ll never get an oppression trope though.

    6. commiserate definition: "express or feel sympathy or pity; sympathize"

      commensurate definition: "corresponding in size or degree; in proportion. "salary will be commensurate with experience"

      First, I think most of the hosts are plenty smart. I also think that most experts don't go around evaluating other people's intelligence relative to their own.

      The rest of your comment makes no sense. Who are you saying must put up with people, the host or the expert? Who knows what about what is correct, the guest or the host? Why would an expert being interviewed feel angry about telling what they know?

      Why aren't the people on TV angry about what they say they are angry about -- things like immigrant children in cages, global warming that goes unaddressed, the unpunished crimes of the Trump crime family, unnecessary covid deaths?

      Knowledge-workers tend to love their jobs, so they don't go around feeling oppressed by getting to do their work every day. Most teachers feel that way too, unlike Somerby.

      The idea that anyone on TV, host or guest, feels oppressed strikes me as ludicrous. Further, I don't see the ire you claim exists on MSNBC, except directed toward issues. On the other hand, Tucker always comes across as a whiny bitch. It is there in the furrow of his brow and his perpetual down-turned mouth. He doesn't smile. That's why Somerby's complaint about Maddow's good humor has always struck me as Somerby's problem. If you spend your time watching whining complainers, you are not going to feel good yourself about much in your world, even though they are talking about other things. Emotion is contagious. Tucker doesn't have to say a word to know what he is about -- it is there in his face, and reflected in his tone of voice when he does speak.

    7. Anonymouse 3:28pm, I think people who are underpaid can and do feel oppressed. They feel it as readily as women do. They feel it in the choices that they have made that may come as personally and almost as irrevocably as those aspects of life that come with xx chromosomes.

      Knowledge workers are seething.

    8. Since you are obviously not a knowledge worker yourself (based on your vocab confusions), what do you base this speculation on?

  16. "Would Jeanne Dielman strike the average shlub as an example of feminist film? We have no idea. "

    Why does he have no idea? He is an average shlub.

  17. Haven't seen Dielman yet but sure would like to. What I know of it so far reminds me of The Goalkeeper's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick by Wim Wenders (based on the story by Handke) or Vincent Gallo's Brown Bunny, both of which I enjoyed

    1. Don’t bother. This discussion has been one big spoiler. She kills the john with her scissors.

  18. I'd bet just about anything that Jeanne Dielman is still better than 2002's In America which Bob creamed his pants over.