MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland

I wonder…

… what people think they are achieving by telling someone in the public eye that they are being laughed at.

My readers and even my detractors tend to be fairly polite.  This morning, after the L.A. Times ran a Counterpunch article by me responding to a factually inaccurate (in the part about me) and mean spirited (in the part about the BFCA) article that ran in the paper a couple of weeks ago, I got one of those notes. 

"Hey David:

     George Pennacchio and Sam Rubin are not critics. They’re jokes. Like you. Pathetic jokes.  Aren’t you in the pay of Paramount??  You guys make the Hollywood Foreign Press credible. That’s saying a lot.
   David, face it. You’re a loser. You’ll always be a loser. You know that. We all know that. Everyone laughs at you."

If you are feeling the urge to send a nice note to comfort me, thank you, but really, it’s unneccessary.  I’m not worried about being a loser or a joke.  I do take it seriously when people write and make me thoughtfully question a position I’ve taken on something or a tone that was unfortunate.  But this kind of stuff is just so third grade.  I hope, at least, that sending it made the writer happy… but I doubt this guy is ever very happy.

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31 Responses to “I wonder…”

  1. joe says:

    Dave,I am Mexican and see American movies as an American (I´ve lived in America for many years) and as a foreign, and you are the only critic I agree in most of the things. You have your style and its great…fuck ém.

  2. Mark says:

    Ok, Pepper, take shots at us all you want but leave David alone. So he likes the Rundown. Thats no reason to go Peterson on him. We all like bad movies. It’s American.

  3. Joe S. says:

    Yeah, considering how much you just LOVED Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and the Lara Croft movies, and are constantly discussing how much Paramount can’t sell anything (which they can’t), you’re right in their hip pocket, aren’t you?

  4. Nick says:

    Can someone copy and paste the article? I’d love to read it. Oh and btw, fuck em Dave.

  5. LifeAndDeathBrigade says:

    Oy to the vey. What’s wrong with people? This
    dude could not take the hit and had to lash out?
    For a joke and a loser, or a losoke, Poland seems
    to be doing pretty good for a man who got kicked
    out on his ass and had to do something on the
    god forshaken internet on his own (with his people
    backing him up of course).
    Stuff like this just comes across as silly.

  6. LifeAndDeathBrigade says:

    And there is not a damn thing wrong with
    THE RUNDOWN! May Peter Berg come to your
    house and a accoust you!

  7. bicycle bob says:

    dave, why do u care? i don’t think u do but its really funny someone cares that much to write that about a guy who writes about and loves movies and the industry. u really got his goat

  8. Mark says:

    I don’t think he does. It is comical that someone can get so upset over a movie review or thought. If you don’t like it, don’t read it.

  9. Joe Leydon says:

    David, with all due respect, I think you’re a tad thin-skinned when it comes to people saying unkind (or rude, or even borderline-libelous) things about you. In fact, at the risk of sounding presumptuous at best, condescending at worse, I must assume that you simply haven’t been serving your opinions in the marketplace for ideas long enough to develop a sufficiently tough hide. You think that e-mail was nasty? Hah. When I was working for a newspaper in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1976, I panned a concert by Elvis Presley. I wrote that he looked tired and disinterested, and that maybe he should consider taking a long rest. I still stand by that review — hell, within a year, the poor guy was dead — but I also still wince when I recall the reaction I received. This was, of course, in the Dark Ages before e-mail. But I got phone calls and angry letters — at home as well as at work — that included everything from death threats to obscene comments about my mother (who, by the way, had already been dead 13 years by this time). I’ve gotten more vicious responses since then, and have had to consult authorities and/or security specialists more than once. But the Presley thing was my baptism of fire. After that, I’ve never been surprised by the intensity of insanity that a critic can provoke without even trying. Scared once or twice, sure, but not surprised.
    My advice: Lighten up. And, by the way, that goes for PeppersDad, too.

  10. PeppersDad says:

    Joe Leydon –
    I have to admit, you surprised me here. Especially since yesterday you chose to alert me to the following:
    “Pepper, you are aware, aren’t you, that you (or someone posing as you)posted a message in another area regarding sex with children?”
    And now today you’re advising me to “lighten up”?
    If I have failed to make it clear already, let me reiterate that I have no intention of taking any legal action against David Poland. But the notion that we should just ignore (which “lighten up” clearly implies) the gibbering fanatics who are posting libel for potentially millions of people to see is abhorrent. Perhaps in your explosively dangerous experiences there wasn’t anything that could reasonably be done to nail those who threatened you. In contrast, here it should be incredibly easy to identify the wrongdoers and stop them dead in their tracks.
    The issue here, at least in my situation, is that there are steps Mr. Poland can take to avert these problems. He can ban repeat offenders from the site. He can have observers monitor the postings and filter out the objectively offensive ones. He can require some kind of identity check (i.e., credit-card verification) instead of allowing everyone to post anonymously.
    Don’t you think Mr. Poland has an obligation to remove flagrantly libelous remarks from this site rather than just leave them up for the unlimited audience to read? If he leaves them up, don’t you think he is in fact publishing them? And aren’t publishers liable when they publish libel?
    Suppose someone posted a death threat on this page? In my opinion, that’s a very real possibility given the unmonitored, unhinged conduct I’ve seen here. Since it’s a real possibility, don’t you think Mr. Poland has an obligation to take simple preventive steps to keep that from happening and/or to enable identification of the perpetrators? If he doesn’t take such reasonable steps, isn’t he acting irresponsibly (i.e., negligently)?
    And if held up for accountability for these (among other) causes of action, how do you think the “lighten up” defense is going to play in front of a judge and jury?

  11. Joe Leydon says:

    Pepper: There’s no nice way to say this, so I will be blunt and brief. While I can sympathize with your feeling put-upon by cowards who won’t even reveal their true names, you are about a quarter past silly, and about 15 minutes toward making a public spectacle of yourself. David Poland may be many things, but he is not a moral imbecile — he would not allow an anti-Semitic slur, much less a death threat, to remain posted for very long. And no one in here has made a death threat. More to the point: Unless I am totally ignorant of what constitutes libel after my nearly 30 years in professional journalism, you have no grounds to claim you have been libeled. Hell, you can’t even prove that most people who read this site know who you are. Once again: You’re using an alias — in essence, playing a role. Your filing a lawsuit would be like my claiming Hamlet is a pederast, and having William Hurt sue me because he knew I saw him play Hamlet off-Broadway years ago. You’ve been targeted for some cheap, bufoonish, immature humor, sort of like a schoolboy in a schoolyard. It may be unpleasant, and the people who are making the remarks almost certainly are jerks, but that comes with the territory when you enter a chat room/bulletin board such as this. Hurting someone’s feelings is not a criminal or civil offense. If you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen. Or, to use another cliche: The more you threaten people with lawyers and litigation, the more likely someone will eventually tell you to put up or shut up.

  12. Mark says:

    My name is Mark Ziegler. I’m 5’11, 180 pounds, handsome, curly hair, slightly hairy bod for the ladies, and hung like every Jewish man should be. You want my address and phone number too or you going to wait til Peppers Mom’s asks me?

  13. PeppersDad says:

    Joe Leydon –
    Sigh. Well, there’s no nice way to say this either: You’re just plain wrong.
    Among other things:
    1. Your take on libel law only takes into account the degree of damages, not whether all the prima facie elements of libel have occurred.
    2. My point about death threats was an intentionally extreme example of why blogs need to put safeguards in place before allowing unfettered, anonymous access. Read it again.
    3. Like I’ve said to you before, if someone can identify me by my alias and e-mail address, of course I can be libeled. William Hurt, in your example, is not Hamlet. But I am PeppersDad. And a lot of people know it.
    4. I’ve said about five times so far that I have no intention of taking any legal action. So you continue to completely misinterpret my goal here, which is to protect bloggers from harassment on (and off) this site, and to protect David Poland from liability.
    5. While I cannot say whether David Poland would allow an anti-Semitic slur or a death threat to stand, he most certainly has allowed false slurs of pedophilia, incest, racism, homophobia, and sexism to stay posted indefinitely.
    Finally, believe it or not, I don’t want to continue this debate here any longer. Either I’ve gotten my point across by now or I haven’t. I’m not blind to the fact that all of this legal talk is souring the environment. I really would like this site to go back to the business of movie blogging. If you’re interested in hearing more, drop me an e-mail. But I’m done here.

  14. PeppersDad says:

    Mark –
    Sure, I’d love your address and phone number. Keep it real.

  15. PeppersDad says:

    Mark –
    Sure, I’d love your address and phone number. Keep it real.

  16. bicycle bob says:

    have never really seen a dude ruin a flow like peppers family. sue me pepper. i welcome it

  17. Mark says:

    I don’t know if I’m going to give it to Peppers Mom, Dad, Lawyer, or Uncle. Who’s in charge of Team Pepper?

  18. Jungle Girl says:

    Joe, As someone who has ALWAYS admired your take on things here, I just cannot BELIEVE that you chastised Pepper in public like that. Ugh. VERY disappointed in you. That was like scolding someone in front of the whole class for standing up to the school bullies who terrorize everyone in the playground.
    FYI-I work a lot with attorneys in clearances for one of the studios so I do know something about libel law. IMHO I think Pepper is basically right about that too. I don’t know if Poland needs to demand proof of ID, but he should be doing SOMETHING about the riff raff-if for no other reason than to protect himself.
    Tsk, tsk, Joe.

  19. Stella's Boy says:

    Jungle Girl, I was perplexed by that myself. Has he actually read all of the comments those guys have made about PeppersDad? Those vile and heinous remarks have no place around here and are completely, 100% indefensible. Regardless of whether or not he feels that PeppersDad has overreacted, I can’t understand criticizing him for objecting to the ridiculous and obscene verbal attacks he has endured.

  20. Barry says:

    Peppersdad has ruined what was a pleasant chatroom. Dude, if you don’t like the crowd, leave the room. A get out of your parents basement while you’re at it.

  21. Jungle Girl says:

    Barry, DUUUUUUUUUUUDE, Pepper’s one of the few guys here whose got anything interesting to say-at least for those of us who can handle more than 4 sentences without needing a beer or a nap. If you pay any attention to what’s been going down here, everytime he opens his mouth some caveman pounces all over him. I suppose thats your idea of “a pleasant chatroom”. Instead of taking your problems out on him, you guys should do something constructive for whats really bothering you. My recommendation is Viagra.
    BTW Pepper and I have exchanged a couple of IM’s. Pretty impressive guy with a lot on the ball. Too bad he’s taken. Trust me-he isn’t operating out of anybody’s basement.

  22. JVS says:


  23. Barry says:

    <- apparently peppers forgot to take his meds before assuming this identity. what a jackass.

  24. Professor Obvious says:

    I agree, Barry. From the militant support of “JVS” to the gradeschool crush of “Jungle Girl,” it seems pretty obvious that PeppersDad is stuffing the ballot box, as it were.
    As if the appearance of internet popularity lends weight to his argument. What a whack-off.

  25. Mark says:

    Is Jungle Girls PeppersNiece? At of course.

  26. Jungle Girl says:

    Maligning me now with your personal lies? What a surprise. There’s NEVER any real discussion on this discussion board by these children. Just attack, attack, attack, attack, attack.
    I am SO out of here. Have a good time tonight watching Regis alone in your Fruit of the Looms.

  27. Mark says:

    I forgot Jungle Gal, what did you put into these boards about anything? What have you said on the Neverland rumors? The box office of the oscar caliber movies? The Corey Feldman comeback? Huh? Yea, i didn’t think so. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  28. Barry says:

    Mark shut your piehole I just had a great cyber session with jungle girl and now were gonna get married in vegas next week. u are just a fat loser who doesnt have the skillz to pick up chicks on the net like i do. so why dont u cralw back in your basement and have buttsex with michael moore.

  29. Joe Leydon says:

    A Corey Feldman comeback? Uh-oh. Isn’t that one of the warning signs for the Apocalypse?

  30. Mark says:

    Sex with Jungle Girl/PeppersMom? I pity you.
    Have faith in the Coreys.

  31. bicycle bob says:

    i’d still prefer to see cory haim make his comeback

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon