Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Phoenix Magazine doesn’t get the joke.

A satirical magazine fails to recognise satire.

Thu, Apr 21, 2011, 16:54


All my writing life I have yearned to get into Pseuds’ Corner in Private Eye. Well, it looks as if I will have to make do with the domestic equivalent: The Hot Air Brigade in Phoenix Magazine. An entry in this issue features the following snippet from my recent review of The White Ribbon 3D:

“Yet the proto-earthly intensity of the sub-Monostrovian narrative remains visibly, uncomfortably stratified. Val Kilmer’s deranged turn as the austere Baptist preacher, whose unterdrückung of his own children precipitates violent juvenile anti-conformity, illustrates how easily, after passing through several vicious cycles, deep belief can mutate into militant pop nihilism.”

Oh dear. It seems as if the good people at Phoenix didn’t note the peculiar six stars — last awarded to Sail Proof Lady — the suspicious inclusion of Val Kilmer in the cast list, the general absurdity of the project and, dare I say it, the deliberately ludicrous prolixity  of the prose. “Monostrovian” isn’t even a bleeding word, for Pete’s sake.  The review was, of course, an April Fool. Was Phoenix carrying on the gag? Let’s do them a favour and pretend that is the case.

The late Michael Dwyer, who set the traditions in motion with Sail Proof Lady (an anagram, Pheonix folk), would have been delighted to see the joke develop such legs.

Oh, and that’s a spaghetti tree at the top of the post. Phoenix might like to run a story on the phenomenon.