This is my last. I’ve blown plenty of calls. I’ve gotten too caught up in the emotion or hurly-burly of the moment, like when I wrote after9/11that Hollywood would forever embrace a new seriousness of purpose. (Hah!) But I hope I’ve gotten a few things right and even occasionally made a difference.
Years ago, I wrote a column that inspired a flood of hostile letters. One day my phone rang: It was Larry Gelbart, the great playwright and screenwriter of “Tootsie,” “Oh, God” and other movies. He offered encouragement, saying I shouldn’t back down. “Remember,” he told me. “If what you’re writing isn’t likely to offend or annoy anyone, go back and start again.” It was great advice, whether you’re creating a comedy, making a film like “Red Hook Summer” or writing a newspaper column. Never be afraid to raise a ruckus.
I won’t pretend to know what Goldstein’s motivations are for making this move. It could be he saw the writing on the wall, it could be that he just decided he was tired of fighting the good fight, it could be that he just wanted to do something different with his time.
It doesn’t really matter, though, since it means he’s finished doing what he’s been doing, which is too bad. He’s always been a compelling, interesting writer whose opinions I largely agreed with but who made convincing cases even when I didn’t.
That might not mean a ton in the grand scheme of things but I always liked his stuff, especially since he was one of the few high-profile writers who gave the late, lamented Movie Marketing Madness some love from time to time, particularly in its early days, and for that reason alone he earned a place in my heart.
Good luck, Patrick, on whatever your next chapter is.