Variety Lays Off Their Lead Film and Theatre Critics

For most of my life I dreamed of being a film critic.  My father told me if I wanted this that badly, I should begin writing with a local ‘rag’ and work my way up the ladder.  I thought, “what a great idea,” and I immediately started pounding the pavement.  My efforts were fruitless.  Everyone on the planet wanted to be a film critic, and there just wasn’t room for me.  Well, apparently there isn’t room for anyone anymore.  ‘Variety,’ one of the leading entertainment trade publications, has laid off its chief film critic, Todd McCarthy, and its chief theater critic, David Rooney.  Why?  To shape the future of ‘Variety’ of course.  Todd McCarthy had been there for 31 years.  ‘Variety’ is now hiring freelance writers to do the reviewing, and they reportedly offered McCarthy and Rooney the opportunity to convert their full time jobs into freelance writing positions.  Translation?  Use their expertise but pay them less.  I fear that I cannot adequately express in words why this is so disappointing, so I therefore direct you to my personal hero’s account of the events – Roger Ebert.  Read his take on it and decide for yourself.

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