John Swansburg, deputy editor of ideas (really) at the Boston Globe, gets all kinds of misty over the demise of the video store , not Blockbusters, of course, but the quirky independents that carried offbeat flicks. “Though it may never have acquired the cache of the independent bookstore, for people who care about movies, the video store is just as vital an institution.” (Swansburg is bouncing his piece off an even gloomier riff by John Updike on the future of independent bookstores.)
Yeah, Netflix, the public library, and BestBuy can get you just about any video you want, but, says Swansburg, at “creating a space to discuss the lesser works of Billy Wilder,” they’re not so hot. There used to be such a video store across the Potomac from D.C. that carried everything from “Titans of Wrestling” to Renoir and Godard. But the young punks (punks in a nice way, of course) who ran the place were mostly dedicated to, not to say obsessed with, fifties black & white horror. Somehow, we never got around to discussing the lesser works of Billy Wilder. Oh, and mirabile dictu to you, too, motherfucker. (Latin for “wonderful to say.” Not funny unless you’ve read Swansburg and/or Updike and maybe not even then.)
First spotted by Tim Cavanaugh at Reason.
For Updike’s original moan, go here. For an NYT moan on the decline of the indpendent record store, go here. (Times are tough all over! NYT articles are free but require registration.)