Letter to The New Yorker
September 29, 2002
The New Yorker
Letters to the Editor
Oh, dear. And I was so looking forward to the New Yorker review of
"Secretary." I was anticipating a thoughtful, informed, actual review of
the actual movie; and what does Mr. Denby go and do but write a
half-paragraph cheap slap at consensual sadomasochism.
I will admit that I'm puzzled by his review as much as I am disappointed.
How, precisely, is he defining "feminism" when he describes an attitude
towards sexuality of "If that's what makes you happy, you go, girl" as
anti-feminist? And I'm very confused when he uses the word "pornographic"
to describe the idea that pain might, for some people, be liberation. Is
he saying that any artistic exploration of S/M is pornographic, or just
the ones that don't condemn the practice? (Not that I object to
pornography -- I just don't think the word describes "Secretary" very
Now, if Mr. Denby simply hadn't liked the movie, I wouldn't be bothering
to write. I'm a film critic myself, and I'm keenly aware of how absurd it
is to send peevish letters to the editor because a reviewer dissed a
movie that you're fond of. But Mr. Denby didn't dis "Secretary." He
didn't really say anything about "Secretary." He used his review of it as
a chance to say catty things about sadomasochists. I'm very disappointed
Postscript: The New Yorker never ran this letter. Ratbags.
Copyright 2002 Greta Christina.