My Ass Critique

A sketch from A Bit of Fry & Laurie

Late Show type set.
Graphic: The Not Quite Late Enough Show.

Hugh With me to discuss that scene from Scorcese's new release From Here to Just Over There is the critic, critic and critic Ray Daugh. Ray you've written countless, almost worthless books on the iconography of "the bottom" in American films - in what context can we approach this piece?

Stephen Not really, no. We knew already that "the ass" has come to ...

Hugh By "ass" you mean "bottom"?

Stephen Tremendously. You'll have to forgive my lapsing into jargon for a moment there ...

Hugh By "jargon" you mean a series of specialist phrases, or better an "argot" if you will, to describe a particular area of criticism?

Stephen In some ways yes. The bottom has come to stand for the essence ...

Hugh The spirit?

Stephen ... the essence of the individual in modern American mythology ...

Hugh The contemporary single person living within a set of folkloric beliefs in Stateside North America.

Stephen In my last book ...

Hugh A book being a work of thought or prose bound together between hard or soft covers and commonly sold in bookshops?

Stephen Broadly ... in my last book, Backside Story: A History of the American Bottom I devoted an entire chapter to the ...

Hugh A chapter meaning a sub-division in a book, of which there are perhaps twelve, fifteen, twenty, creating blocks of writing?

Stephen Often ... an entire chapter I devoted to the phrase "my ass is on the line". "The line" being ...

Hugh I think we all know what a line is.

Stephen In this case "the line" being the vestigal notion of the frontier in American folklore. Partly - (gesturing) to put his bottom on the frontier - is still the goal of the modern American.

Hugh (Copying gesture) By this you mean an utterly infuriating gesture guaranteed to put people's backs up in quite a major way.

Stephen I hope so.

Hugh Well, sadly the clock has ...

Stephen Large, circular timepiece ...

Hugh ... beaten us once again.

Stephen Flagellated, whipped us for at least a second time ...

Hugh So thank you ...

Stephen Expression of gratitude ...

Hugh Ray ...

Stephen Shaft, or beam of light ...

Hugh Very much.

Stephen A lot.

Hugh Pat.

Stephen Small slab of butter.

Download My Ass Critique as XML