It’s hard to say whether Martin Scorsese’s documentary about writer/humorist/public intellectual Frannie Lebowitz, Public Speaking, was the best documentary of 2010, or whether Frannie was simply the most interesting documentary subject of 2010. And I’m not sure it matters. The film is a non-stop delight because she is a non-stop delight, spewing witticism after witticism, the vast majority of which are deceptively profound, for example, “Any white, Gentile straight man who is not President has failed.” Or to the question, “do you prefer to be in the company of happy or embittered people?” she answers, “As soon as I meet some happy people, I will let you know…” The bon mots just keep coming and coming, with the emphasis consistently on the supreme and unchanging silliness of the human race. You probably won’t agree with her on everything (I’m not quite sure how one could!), but the candor is undeniably refreshing, and not nearly as angry as I was expecting.

In Frannie’s hands, political correctness (aka any form of enculturated Law) is a toy to be played with, and you watch as she gleefully inverts and subverts pretty much every aspect of the zeitgeist: self esteem, sexuality, politics, gender, literature, even babies, it’s all fair game. Her strident defense of underachievement is a beautiful thing to behold, and who else would have the cajones to say the following about the distinctives of Christianity?! It’s about as far from the New Perspective as a person could possibly get…