What are we to make of Gene Shalit?
He complains that Pauline Kael's pieces in the New Yorker are "very often longer than the movies" she reviews.
Does Gene think that the handful of perky sentences he strings together on the "Today" show better serve the cinema?
His "Critic's Corner" segments pioneered the quicky film review, each 3-minute spot ringing with the snap, crackle and pop of alliteration. Shalit confesses to being "very careful" in choosing these words. Indeed we have him largely to thank for the mindless babble that now typifies TV film criticism.
In Shakespeare's hands alliteration yielded poetry. In Shalit's, it's a $10 word for happy talk.
PHIL LE CONTE