Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Why Richard Corliss Missed the Boat

Richard Corliss is one sad individual. I'm happy to say I don't know him.

Time Magazine gave Corliss an entire page in their last issue to rant against Netflix. "Why Netflix Stinks" was the headline. Nexflix! The online DVD service that everyone loves. Everyone but Corliss, who is the only one I've ever heard of who doesn't get his movies on time and can't find what he wants. (Once I ordered an Israeli film that they had to ship in from California. Netflix sent me the next DVD in my queue at no charge so I had something to watch while I was waiting. I'm sorry Corliss, but that's great service.)

I don't need to write a commercial for Netflix, but two things struck me as especially outrageous. First of all, he blames Netflix for the demise of Mom and Pop video stores. In fact, it was the video behemoths Hollywood and Blockbuster that killed off most of the smaller stores, just as Barnes and Noble and Borders knocked off independent book stores before delivered a blow to their solar plexus. Netflix then slew Blockbuster and Hollywood, which, in my opinion, was not a great loss. Both stores, in every town I lived in, featured rude clerks and a bland selection with little variety. If there was anything interesting on the shelves, it always turned out to be an empty video box. Not to mention the late fees . . .

But Corliss' most ludicrous claim was we are are deprived of socialization because we receive our DVDs at home from Netflix. "We deny ourselves the random epiphanies of human contact," he writes. Excuse me? He no longer has any social contact because he can't spend time with the clerk at the video store? Someone needs therapy here.

Many of us -- obviously not Corliss -- have friends. They order a video from Netflix and invite friends over to share the experience. Or they watch a video with their spouse and kids. That is socialization. It is Corliss who is joining "a nation of shut-ins" because he can't go to the video store. The rest of us are doing just fine.

Now I'm going to watch a streaming video from Netflix with my daughter. Popcorn anyone?

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