Gentlemen's News Service Presents: The Cinema Criticism Colloquium
The very idea was preposterous. Me, a lifelong supporter of the theater, dirty my hands by applying the art of criticism to a moving picture? Yet here I sit, quill in hand, ruminating as to how I will live with myself after committing this act of journalistic rape. Many of you who remember my unsuccessful lobbying against the building of motion picture houses in our fair city may be asking yourselves, "Addison, why have you turned your back on your morals like so many Irishmen after a single drop of whiskey?"
The answer, dear reader, is that certain office difficulties have arisen that make it rather difficult to work in close proximity to some of my close-minded brethren at The Gentlemen's News Service. My recent article, "Nazis: Excellent Posture, Sure to Go Far," caused quite the stink in light of all this world war business people keep getting from the wireless. War? Feh! Next they'll be telling me that Little Orphan Annie is real! The redhead is a mythical creature and should be treated as such.
So in his rush to keep me out of the office, my superior, a Mr. Charles Davenport, condemned me to see a tawdry little moving picture called Citizen Kane. At first, I found the title intriguing; surely, this was a story about loyalty to one's country and perhaps those, like me, who are sometimes aided in walking by various lengths of wood. It was a brief moment of foolishness on my part--yet nowhere near the foolishness that a fellow named Mr. Orson Welles has adopted as a veritable lifestyle.
I must stress that those who find me "behind the times" are proper lackwits. Recently, I began using this wonderful new item called "salt" on my food, to much success. So I am not at all opposed to the wonders that the march of progress slowly yet surely brings to the human race. I had even seen many of these moving pictures in the past, when one could go to a World's Fair and, for the price of a single penny, would place his head in a box and view a simple tale of a man juggling various objects or an elephant being viciously electrocuted. Yet never before did these moving pictures, or "movings," dare to imitate the most gentlemanly of all arts, the theater. So upon hearing that I would have to sit for two hours and witness this unbardly bastardization of storytelling, I calmed myself with thoughts of Hedda Gabler and swished some mercury around in my mouth to lift my spirits.
If I did not mention the state of the motion picture house, dear reader, this review would be lacking, so please permit me to do so. Surely, these are the whorehouses of our 20th century. Upon entering a common motion picture house, a gentleman is immediately greeted by common street rabble, many of which wear shirts without collars and smell of houses which lack the acreage necessary to permit room for stables. Fortunately, I had my phrenology chart on hand and managed to identify the skulls of eight Italians and a Swede before a man who referred to himself as the manager [Quite possibly another Swede. - Ed.] took my caliper away. I tried to explain my journalistic intent, yet he merely pointed to the darkened room full of these ethnicities in which I would view Citizen Kane. I relented, and sulked off to my fate. On my right I identified a refreshments stand, and while the thought of eating over my lap like a Hungarian turned my stomach, I felt like my favorite treat would certainly improve on my temperament.