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April 21, 2005

Conversation with a Star: An Exchange with an On-line Writer

The following is a copy of a review I submitted for a writer's work on Francis Ford Coppola's on-line workshop www.zoetrope.com. Following is the exchange between myself & the writer, an exchange unhappily inspired by the review.

Your review of Going Nuts At The Movies by Gary Paul Libero
Entered Jun 16 2004 10:46PM

Man, what dross. This is your idea? To anthologise the "weird and wacky" behaviour of American trash in cinemas?
Your bespectacled peanut-patron may have been overweight, but your passage is OBESE with lumbering hyperbole...
ultimately, who cares? a man eats peanuts, loudly, in a cinema. Your attempts at humourously assassinating the man's character failed -- the descriptions lacked pith or wit and were filled with the tedium of a dull self-righteousness.
Look, if you're compiling a collection of interesting cinema stories (are there that many? are there ANY?) gimme something INTERESTING. like maybe there's this prostitute, right? and she receives customers in the backs of cinemas, yeah? and then one customer suffers heart seizure. THAT I might read. Or there's this police helicopter, yeah? And it's circling above a late-night cinema searching for... I don't know, maybe your peanut man's stolen a trailer, or something, okay? And the peanut man, in commandeering this trailer, finds an RPG in the back of it. Peanut man, in an inexplicable fit of violence, shoots down the law's 'copter and it crashes into the cinema ruining the patron's enjoyment of "Miss Congeniality". BANG!
Whatever. Your story's irrelevant. In fact, I wouldn't even bother relaying that story to my friends. If I did, they'd... I dunno... burn my eyebrows... or something.
You better have better stories. If you don't, abandon journalistic integrity (fuck veracity) and INVENT something.


Gary Libero, the writer in question, responded thusly:

Hey Marty!

Thanks for taking some time to read and review my short story.

As I said to another reviewer who didn't like this, perhaps I shouldn't have posted it in here. The collection of stories I referred to is a compilation of TRUE stories. Nothing fictional to do with whores and helicopters (unless something like that actually happens to me one day). I think the story might be read differently in a context of other stories like it. And yes, there are more. Many more! Some from myself, others from friends. There is an in-theater blowjob story you might enjoy, but it's not mine to post.

But sadly, your review offered up nothing useful to me. Your use of every five dollar word you might have learned this week fell on deaf ears. I can't say I'm sorry you didn't like it because I don't apologize for my words.

Also, if you haven't noticed, there is a feature on this site called "opt out". If you don't care for a story and can't offer up any worthwhile criticism, opt the fuck out of it.

I'll be sure to look for your story on here and reciprocate the favor!

Never not,

Marty wrote:


good, good. never apologise for your words, in fact "never retract, never explain, get it done and let them howl..." d'you know who said that? never mind...
upon reading the first couple of lines of your zmail (zmail?) I immediately felt a little... guilty? but your knee-jerk defense and cuss words soon put an end to THAT little show of emotion.
i understand these are stories that have happened to you, but if they're THAT dull then, "fuck veracity". but sure, stick to your guns...
dunno what you mean by "reciprocating the favour"... sounds ominous. I'll wait here for the shit to hit the fan...
be good,

p.s. opt-out? never. there's too much fun to be had, no?

Gary replied:

From:Gary Paul Libero -- Thursday 6: 36 p.m.

I don't know what to think of you Marty. Sarcasm is hard to detect via the written word.

Reciprocating the favor simply means I will read one of your stories on here and review it, just like you did for me.

Also, I'm not sure anyone has ever called me Gaz before. Interesting.

Until we type again,

The final response was, alas, a whimper...

From: Marty **Thursday 7:45 P.M.


I'd like to extend this missive, gaz, but I've gotta date with the pub very soon, so I've gotta go and look pretty... to satisfy your curiosity, however, I've got a great grin across my face, largely because i have a sick, atavistic sense of humour & no job.
But so it goes.
Secondly, thanx for not responding to my story (thanking you in advance...) with the bloody, retributive fangs of a Nixon, or Bush, or any one of those scum-fuckers you guys like installing into office.
Have a safe and peaceful nite,

Posted by Martin McKenzie-Murray at April 21, 2005 12:06 PM