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From Local Color



I hesitate to use the familiar, as I had in the past. You should understand why.

I write this, short and simple, as a last effort to get you to understand the error of your ways, and to promptly return Mark Rappaport’s materials to him, with no further explanation or evasiveness. As you surely are aware the story of your actions with regard to Mark is now widely known – since I published Mark’s letter on my blog, there have been well over 10,000 “hits” – far beyond my usual readership. I have received now many notes from filmmakers and others, offering their help in getting Mark’s material back to him – to sign a petition, or more. I have also had word from a handful of former students of yours and some others who have appreciated your writing – some began to defend you, but as time passed they changed their view. (See for example,

I do not know what animates your actions – I would like, as bad as it sounds, to think you’ve just gone over the edge psychologically and mentally, and that you seriously need treatment of some kind. I guess I’d rather think that than the other option, which is that beneath the high-flown words about ethics you used in the letter I published at your behest, is a person who is duplicitous, unfathomably self-absorbed and “evil.” Not a nice thing to think of someone, but then when the shoe fits….

Shortly I will publish a petition on my blog site, along with an internet mechanism for people to sign up. Along with its being published here, it will be sent out on a far wider basis to numerous interested email lists, Twitter, and all the rest of our contemporary “social networking” tools. It already has a number of rather famous filmmakers ready to sign – Bela Tarr, Atom Egoyan and many others. And of course American indies and experimental filmmakers.

If this does not persuade you to return Mark’s materials, I will proceed to print the correspondence we had early this year – one which abruptly ceased exactly the time your situation with Mark deteriorated into legalisms. And, I will make a serious inquiry with Boston University what behaviors would provide legal grounds to terminate your tenure. I’d rather not do these things. I’d far prefer that you immediately make arrangements to promptly return Mark’s materials to him, and that you issue a sincere apology for incurring all of this.

It’s your choice.


Jon Jost

 From Impostors

Who, me?


  1. Just to be clear, I never planned to defend Carney in any Rappaport related matter. Having read my post you no doubt know this, but since not everyone will I wanted to emphasize that it was only his writing and ideas that I had planned to defend. (Being grouped in with various Carney defenders might make it sound otherwise.)

    • Hi, Thanks for the clarification for others. I understood quite well what you were saying – I just wanted to convey to Carney that his approach to all this is losing him to people who find his writing valuable. It does cast his “ethical” etc stances into a deep shadow.

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