I’ve ‘sold out,’ apparently

I received this e-mail the other day from a fellow by the name of Seth Miller:

Just bumped into this site. I was at BYU when you wrote for the Universe. I was a fan. I’ve never written a letter to an editor or mad a complaint to anyone but I guess it’s never too late to start. I think you’ve sold out. [Shouldn’t I have money, then?] I never really knew what your standards were but I guess I just assumed they were similar to mine. It’s odd to me that only R-rated movies gets your highest honor “A.” Have more respect for yourself and stop trying to please others. I won’t be visiting you site again.
No response needed or wanted.

I wish I’d been keeping track of how many angry letters I’ve gotten over the years in which the writer indicated he or she did not want a reply. I suppose it’s all the bravery they can muster to even send the letter. If they had to read a response, and perhaps even DISCUSS the matter in greater detail — well, that would be unthinkable.

Anyway, though forbidden, I sent this response:

Well, actually, a response IS needed, because you have your facts wrong.

You wrote:

“It’s odd to me that only R-rated movies gets your highest honor ‘A.'”

That would indeed be odd, if it were even remotely true. But here are some non R-rated movies that I gave an A to this year alone:

Spider-Man 2
The Triplets of Belleville

That’s three A’s for PG-13 films, compared to only two for R-rated ones. A- grades are much more plentiful: 11 for PG-13 or PG films, and 9 for R-rated ones.

So your statement that I only give A’s to R-rated films is patently false.

But this is all beside the point anyway. When I grade films, I am grading them based on their artistic and entertainment value, not on how much “objectionable content” they have. That’s not what film critics are for.

Also, I find it disturbing that you equate my not having the same standards as you (if that’s true) with “selling out.” Can’t a person have different standards from you and NOT sell out?

You wrote:

“Have more respect for yourself and stop trying to please others.”

But if I stopped reviewing R-rated films, I would only be doing so in order to please you. So I can’t win here, I guess.

Good luck in your new-found career as a self-righteous person.

Eric D. Snider

If I receive a reply, I will post it here, of course.