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Paulette Forever: A Charles Taylor Interview

Filed under: Looked Into   Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

I was rereading some of Charles Taylor’s beautifully crafted, sometimes contentious reviews on Salon (I didn’t like Million Dollar Baby either), and the web wonderland led me to this 2006 interview with Taylor (or Charley, as I may call him because we’re friends) in Slant magazine. He talked about his career at Salon and elsewhere, the state of film criticism and media outlets (a phrase I already know will make him wince—sorry about that) generally, and more. Here’s a choice response, among many:
JK [Jeremiah Kipp]: You’ve frequently cited Pauline Kael as a major influence.
CT [Charles Taylor]: I got a paperback copy of “Deeper Into Movies” by Pauline Kael when I was in eighth grade. That was a major influence. I still think she’s the best film critic that is ever going to be. She was the best influence and the biggest influence. It was about trusting your instincts, which always the line about her. This is what I loved. This is why all of the “I Was a Former Paulette” articles I’ve read are all, to a one, simply wrong on the facts. I had countless disagreements with her, even arguments. I was never excommunicated. Some of the critics she liked were people she didn’t agree with. She wanted people to be honest. Art should be pleasure, not work. You have to bring your life experience to it, your experience of the other arts to it, you have to be well read, and no one should tell you what you have to like or what you should be interested in. The job of the critic is to help you formulate your own thoughts. Articulate them. Not to tell you what to think, but to get you to think. There was a freedom in her.
Read the whole interview, and the comments, too.

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2008 Webby Awards Official Honoree