For example, I always wonder how Walter can be so astute in his movie reviews, so penetrating in his analysis, and yet be so obtuse regarding Christianity, politics, and history. He consistently blows me away with his ability to see what so many others ignore, and his ability to describe why what he has seen is important -- or not. He has an entirely different yardstick for measuring the worth of films, and for the most part, it's the one I trust more than any other.
Except for movies about religious or conservative political themes. Walter pretty much declared himself as useless for such things by referring to Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ as
a snuff film about a zombie hippie [that has] renew[ed] some people's faith in a religion that has been perverted in the popular conversation into an instrument of hate, exclusion, and justification for war[.]
Even after having read that quote several times, I'm still wondering, What the heck is he talking about? (Note: I really do know what he's talking about, it just seems borderline nuts to me.) Still, it's a good thing that he constantly reminds his readers of his feelings and intellectual capacity about these things, since it allows us to put all of his other work in context -- or to give up on his reviews altogether.
Seriously, does he have any idea of the potential audience he's alienating? Does he even want to be successful? You can argue that the nasty little quote up there was justified, coming as it did in a discussion of the movies of the year for 2004. But I've run across similar in-line screeds and tossed-off remarks, and they always stop me dead in my tracks (much the same way M. Giant's casual putdowns of conservatives in his TWoP recaps of "24" do.)
I'm fairly tolerant of this kind of thing -- don't want to throw out the baby with the bathwater, and all that. But I'm guessing that many people won't be as willing to be belittled for their faith or their politics when they're just looking for a movie review. Walter's writing himself out of an audience.