The Fall and Fall of the Critic

Artists have been leveling complaints about critics for years. (Was it not I who coined the declaration, "All theater critics' mothers suck cocks in hell!") But their days as the bastions of good taste are numbered. Check out Patrick Goldstein's thoughtful essay, "The End of the Critic?," in yesterday's Los Angeles Times. Discuss.

On the other end of the spectrum, fellow blogger Howard at Howard Who? penned an equally thoughtful post in defense of the art of criticism. Discuss.

I, for one, shall be neutral on this subject. I have friends who are critics, and I love them despite the fact that their mothers suck cocks in hell.


  1. If I had paid any attention to critics I would have missed such gems as "Brenda Starr," starring Brooke Shields and some fabulous Bob Mackie designs!

    It may or may not please you to know that your coined declaration has burned itself into my memory.
    I was JUST thinking about that specific phrase on the way to work this morning, swear to Buddha!

  2. haha. i remember seeing that written on the walls of impact when i was ASM-ing for Sleepy.

  3. There is definitely a roll for criticism, whether it be art or business or politics or architecture or whatever. There was a really good article somewhere (I really have no frame of reference at all on what or who it was) that focused on how our inclinations underlie the 'rational' way we express the seemingly more objective or quantifiable elements of an artistic work or again whatever. I think there's a lot to that, and the problem with professional criticism is a lot of the same problems with barriers to entry in all the knowledge fields, i.e. classism and racism, so there ends up being a uniformity of professional criticism that does create a gateway to culture through which we were passing for a long time. Obviously, that's breaking down w/ the net, and that's a good thing. It does strike me as sad though to see newspapers especially doing away with the arts criticism. Okay, so I got away from myself there and didn't quite manage to hit a point, but I guess what I'm trying to say is I'm ambivalent on the subject.

  4. I didn't even begin to tackle the subject of relevancy, but here's my take:

    Even among people who are into what critics say there is a tendency to avoid mainstream critics.

    Partly it is because of their age and lack of connection to what are very youth-oriented arts (pop music, big-budget movies, etc.). I understand Ken Turan and Robert Hillburn are veterans and have championed many a great film in the past. But I wouldn't expect them to get new stuff or relate to something of later generations or have their fingers on the pulse. In other words, you ignore them and go to Pitchfork, etc. Experience doesn't mean anything necessarily, it's perspective. Of course, this doesn't apply as much to architecture, classical music, dance, etc.

    The other thing is the perception that all consumers are now critics. That is what the blogosphere has created and that is why Goldstein realizes it's communities and not personalities. This is the "network" age, with each facebook and myspace profile a hub for all the others. There's no shame in that as long as criticism remains well-argued and thoughtful. Even established critics are using blogs. It's more about quality than whether it is establishment or rogue.

  5. Thanks for your thoughts, guys. The Internet really has leveled the playing field, and that's the way I like it. I mean, it give people like ME, for Christ's sake, a voice. Ha ha ha ha ha!