Devin Faraci is a film critic for Badass Digest. Joe Swanberg is the director of Hannah Takes the Stairs, among other movies. They got into a big argument, and then they tried to resolve the argument with a debate and a boxing match. Criticwire was there to observe:
On my scorecard, I had the debate a draw — both men got in their fair share of quality zingers (and, for the record, I had no particular dog in this fight. I like Devin's writing and I like Joe's movies). The boxing match that followed, though, left nothing to ambiguity. Swanberg absolutely annihilated Faraci. First he knocked out his contact lens, then he knocked him down on at least three separate occasions. It wasn't technically a bloodbath — since as far as I could see there was no blood — but it was ugly all the same.
This is not the first director/critic boxing match—Uwe Boll famously demolished a few critics in the boxing ring, and if Uwe Boll did it, you know it's not an original concept. It's a fun, dumb, kind of old-fashioned joke. The "debate" between Swanberg and Faraci, too, turned out to be just as pointless as a YouTube comment thread. Faraci invoked Godwin's law almost immediately, and if Swanberg had a meaningful statement to make, he forgot to mention it. All we learned was that artists believe in their work, and certain critics don't like certain kinds of movies.
Maybe all this just means that the debate between critics and artists is essentially over. Now that, thanks to internet distribution, everyone can be an artist, and thanks to the ubiquity of commenting, pretty much anybody can be a critic, this isn't a conversation worth having anymore. Or maybe it just means that Faraci and Swanberg were particularly hapless at stating their positions. Or maybe it means that people like to watch a good fight, no matter who's doing the fighting.