Tuesday, August 11, 2009

More Fodder in Thinking about Criticism

Regular Guy reviews movies for WXRT. Neil Cumpston reviews 300 for Aint It Cool News (Very NSFW).

Both of these are instances of criticism with two additional, arguably even alternative, functions to what we might call "mainstream criticism." That is, these reviews consciously construct a character separate from the reviewer's personality and they function as entertainment in their own right.

But. They still are works of criticism, right? Similarly, Dan Neil is a wonderful critic and has been honored with a Pulitzer Prize. I read his columns as often as I can. What's the problem? He's a car critic. I don't know anything about cars, I don't particularly care about them, and I'm not looking to buy one. His reviews are really for me just essays, entertainment. Could a literary critic review them? Could a critic review Chris Jones' reviews? I suppose that I have, actually, done that, but obviously not in a serious way.

As a reminder, I like to think of art as a skill developed beyond any practical use. Can art function as a guide to art?


And what can these artful reviews teach us about criticism in the mainstream?

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