Friday, February 25, 2005

Ebert Versus Drudge?


Above: Roger Ebert "throwing up" the Underground Crip Gang hand sign for "Dogme"

Eminent Pulitzer Prize winning film critic Roger Ebert has thrown down the gauntlet on Matt Drudge's foot. He demands satisfaction. Sort of. We'd like to see the fight, anyway. According to Editor & Publisher:

"With the Academy Awards gala just two days off, Oscar mania is growing, but unfortunately for the big show it mainly surrounds the potential for great excitement or disaster due to host Chris Rock. But this afternoon, in an MSNBC interview, Roger Ebert, film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times (and other venues), pooh-poohed all that.

"Speaking from California, he said he had been touting the volcanic Rock as guest host 'for seven years.' He declared that 'no one' out there was worried about his performance. All the controversy, he said, stemmed from one source: 'the Matt Drudge site.'"

Oh, it's on like Gray Poupon!

What are we looking at by way of reprisals? Will Drudge drop Roger Ebert off his Blogroll? Will Ebert then write a column bashing Drudge after Chris Rock kills at the Oscars? Oh, we so hope.

Slate's John Swansburg writes:

"On Sunday night, Chris Rock is slotted to host the Academy Awards, to the displeasure of two people: Matt Drudge and Chris Rock. Drudge thinks Rock is dangerous. Rock wants people to think that he is.

"In two postings, Drudge warned that Rock's selection promised to throw the broadcast 'into complete chaos.' He hyperventilated about Rock's foul mouth�'One audio recording captures Rock firing off more than 35 F-words per minute!'�and told Fox's Hannity and Colmes that the comedian's off-color repertoire would tarnish the last remaining Hollywood institution where you can 'go for class, for a night of celebration where everybody cleans up.'"

Both Drudge and Ebert have had scraps in the past. They're old school like that. Writers are supposed to drink and fight and ... fornicate, in no particular order (But we'd suggest beginning with the drinking, then slowly easing into the fighting and fornication segments of the evening).

Ebert -- memorably -- feuded with disgusting, truly disgusting, vole-like indie filmmaker, Vincent Gallo -- did we mention that he is disgusting? Ebert gave Gallo an intensely bad (and richly deserved) review; Gallo promptly hexed Ebert; His whamajama bewitchment game must have been tight, because Ebert soon developed thyroid cancer; they subsequently made up. Ebert's doing fine.

Drudge himself is no stranger to a spot of rough and tumble. He -- memorably -- published false accusations that Sydney Blumenthal beat his wife. (A considerable pause) Ultimately, the court found that Drudge is not a reporter, a journo or a newsgatherer, but simply a "purveyor of gossip." Everyone walks away with their heads held high, and Drudge walks out only slightly more sleazy that when he walked in.

Ebert versus Drudge? So there.

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