42 / CHRONICLESnBishop (d. 1979)—say, Djuna Barnesn(d. 1982), Babette Deutsch (d. 1982),nor Laura Riding (living) — becausenthey are outside the academic poet’snpurview.nAs for—what shall 1 call them?—npoets who are men, Anthony Hechtn(in my opinion, one of the two or threen”big names” of contemporary Americannpoetry bound to endure) is missing.nAnd—if “diversity” of every kindnis so important — where is JosephnSCREENnOutside the Lawnby Sam Karnickn”This is a wonderful country, mynboy, but our legal system doesn ‘tnwork the way it’s supposed to.”n—Harold Smith, in Remo Williams,nThe Adventure BeginsnAmerica’s “major” film critics havenbeen very busy—and very worried—nlately. They have a lot to worry about;nthe movies just aren’t going their waynanymore, which ought to make thenrest of us very happy.nOf course, the greatest critical betennoire of the decade has been JohnnynRambo, Sylvester Stallone’s forthright,ninarticulate Vietnam vet whose escapades,nthe critics fear, will soon sondistort the values of America’s youngnas to get us embroiled in “anothernVietnam.” Interestingly, these are thensame folks — Pauline Kael, RogernEbert, Stanley Kaufifmann, and RexnReed—who argue that pornographyndoesn’t contribute to crime. We havencause to wonder why they hope tonBrodsky? No Richard Eberhart. NonFred Chappell. No X.J. Kennedy.n”The poets included here,” ProfessornVendler warns, write “from/sfc.’/anFreudian culture, one in which anvaguely Freudian model of the soulnhas replaced an older ChristianizednHellenic model.” You’d think even ancar salesman would be more subtle,nbut this lady, with the combined culturalnpower of America’s academicnestablishment behind her, pitchesnVITAL SIGNSnexempt movie violence from the protectionnof their beloved First Amendment.nDifferent tastes?nCertainly Stallone, with his astonishingnbox-office power, has borne thenbrunt of the critical hatred unleashednon recent crime-genre films, but othernactors, directors, and writers havencome in for their fair share of abuse asnwell. The honor roll includes actorsnClint Eastwood, Charles Bronson,nChuck Norris, Arnold Schwarzenegger,nMel Gibson, and Harrison Ford;nwriters and directors John Miliusn{Magnum Force, Red Dawn), DonaldnSiegel {Dirty Harry), Michael Ciminon{Magnum Force, The Year of the Dragon),nLewis Teague {Fighting Back),nTed Kotchelf {First Blood, UncommonnValor), and Clint Eastwood; and producersnsuch as Dino de Laurentiis,nGeorge Lucas, Cubby Broccoli (thenJames Bond series), Eastwood, andnMilius.nIt’s true that recent crime-genrenfilms are more explicitly violent thanntheir predecessors, but it is the films’ntremendous popularity which reallynannoys the American clerisy. Criticsnsuch as Kael et al. have offered manyntheories as to why these films are sonpopular, but they all boil down to annnFreud the old Detroit way: “The modelnof the soul you can’t afford to miss!”nThe Bob McNamara of American literaryncriticism is launching the Edselnof poetry anthologies. The VietnamnWar of ideas is just around the bend.nOver here, people prefer bicycles.nAndrei Navrozov is poetry editor ofnChronicles.nfew simple ideas about how dull-wittedncontemporary audiences are and hownvulgar and meretricious many filmmakersnare. These critics have wiselynconcentrated on the issues of violencenand misogyny, as this allows them tonsidestep issues such as aesthetic quality,naudience response, and sobriety ofnintent which would otherwise do considerablendamage to their arguments.nThey often take special pains, innfact, not to say outright that a particularnfilm is “bad,” apparentiy in annattempt to save credibility with thenpublic. Since it would be foolish, fornexample, to say that George Miller’snThe Road Warrior is a bad film, PaulinenKael dismisses it by calling it “stupid”nand goes on to insult the film’snaudience: “The Road Warrior is fornboys who want to go around sluggingneach other on the shoulders and fornmen who wish that John Wayne werenalive and fifty again,” a “criticism”nwhich works only because New Yorkernreaders would rather die than be calledna John Wayne fan. Likewise, on SneaknPreviews Jeffrey Lyons and Neal Gablernpretended to be quite undisturbednby the politics of Red Dawn but condemnednit for being boring, one thingnwhich it is most certainly not.n