At the end of this week’s New York Observer "On the Town" column, he apologizes for his painfully insensitive comments on "Oldboy" and the nation of Korea. Well, "apologizes" might be a little strong. Here’s the ‘graph, to spare you having to scroll through a column in which he gushes of "The Ladies in Lavender."
Finally, a word about Korea. A few weeks ago, in my broadside against the gory Korean movie schlockfest "Oldboy," I apparently raised the hackles of several readers who objected to the way I mentioned the Korean film industry and the fermented Korean national dish called kimchi in the same sentence. Iâ€™m not an admirer of political correctness in first-person byline opinion writing, but that doesnâ€™t make me a racist, so if I inadvertently offended anyone who misinterpreted my humor, I apologize. I like Koreans. In truth, I have probably spent more time in Korea than any of the irate letter-writers currently bombarding me. I even lived there for several months while making a movie called "Inchon!" with Laurence Olivier, Jacqueline Bisset, Ben Gazzara, Richard Roundtree and Toshiro Mifune. We had many happy times, admired the lush landscape and liked the friendly people. We all hated the kimchi.
We’d just like to salute several signature moves in this compact piece of writing â€” first, the coy disbelief that anything he wrote could possibly be construed as offensive; second, the passive-aggressive suggestions that anyone claiming to be offended is both a prudish stickler for political correctness and unable to grasp the subtleties of his sense of humor; third, the use of the "I can’t be racist, I have a black friend" defense. And he manages to top this all off by name-dropping from his brief, quarter-of-a-century ago failed attempt at a film career. Ah, but can anything top off the satisfaction of seeing this IMDB credit?
Inchon (1981) (scenes deleted) …. Longfellow
So long and good night, Mr. Reed, we won’t be reading your column anymore. All the bile it brings up is tough on our heart.
+ Dench, Smith Play Spicy Dames (NY Observer)