MCN Columnists
David Poland

By David Poland

Regarding The Alleged Controversy Over The Dargis Pulitzer Nomination

Dear Mr. Dretzka,
A small matter: Where was it “reported” that either I or Ben Brantley “have a beef” with the Times’s nomination of Manohla Dargis for the Pulitzer? Certainly not in the silly Women’s Wear Daily article that appears to be your main source for this blog item. While I can’t speak for anyone else at the Times, I certainly have never expressed any such “beef,” publicly or privately, for the simple reason that no such beef exists. Manohla has long been one of my favorite film critics, as well as one of my best friends. I am proud to have helped bring her to the New York Times, and nothing would make me happier than if she were to win this year’s Pulitzer. She knows all this perfectly well, as does anyone who actually knows either one of us.
Anything you might do to clarify or correct the record would be appreciated.
A.O. Scott
Gary Dretzka Responds:
I have/had no reason to think you and MD were at odds, or how accurate the widely circulated gossip item was. My only point was that IF you or BB had a beef, there would be a way to sidestep the in-house process. Having only a BA in English, and in 20/20 grammatical hindsight, the sentence probably should have begun:
“If either Tony Scott or Ben Brantley were to have had a beef, as reported, he might have considered sidestepping his bosses, and nominating himself, prior to the submission deadline, or have someone else do it …. etc. etc.”
Sorry for any misunderstanding this might have caused. – GD

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One Response to “Regarding The Alleged Controversy Over The Dargis Pulitzer Nomination”

  1. Peter Martin says:

    You still haven’t addressed the issue. Where was it “reported” that Scott and/or Brantley had a beef? If it wasn’t WWD, but was instead “gossip” you heard from persons who didn’t want to be quoted or wished to remain anonymous, you should have stated that more clearly.

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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