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244 posts tagged with Criticism.
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"all those decisions are always subjective, creative, and political"

Masha Tupitsyn interviewed by Keaton Ventura for Sex Magazine:
What sort of trouble? Mainly the reaction was, what is this? What are you doing? This isn’t a novel. This isn’t fiction. This isn’t straight criticism. It’s all mixed up. Or this criticism is too personal or too critical about the wrong things. But the minute I would call Beauty Talk nonfiction people would accept the terms that I using. So it was always about how I was categorizing that book. What I was calling it. That would determine how people would respond to the book and its ethos, which I always thought was absurd. If I called it nonfiction, if I called it essays, if I called it criticism, people accepted the book more. But if I said it was fiction, people would say, Well, this is not what fiction does. Fiction does this and criticism does this, and you have to keep these things separate and clear. But I am really not interested in keeping things separate. Not in my work and not in my life either. I’m interested in looking at them and putting them together because I think one of the problems with Western culture in general is that everything is reduced to binaries and categories because it keeps us from fundamentally being able to make valuable links. To connect the dots.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Feb 25, 2015 - 2 comments

Kanye West vs. white mediocrity

Kanye takes more heat than anyone. Post-Grammys and "SNL" 40, we're finally seeing his critics for what they are. Social media has changed the game a lot in the past six years. There’s a lot of voices–lumped under names like “Black Twitter”–who have begun to consistently speak out to fill in the missing pieces from stories like the Kanye West Saga, to poke holes in pat narratives like “Kanye West is an egotist” or “Kanye West is a maniac.” [more inside]
posted by standardasparagus on Feb 17, 2015 - 229 comments

We can't give you love and rhetoric without the blood.

Coming off a successful Kickstarter campaign, Innuendo Studios has released a really interesting piece of video game criticism, that is somewhat about Call of Duty, but also about the problems with reviewing video games; and it gets better as it goes on. Previously by Innuendo (and enjoyed by MeFi), an engaging meditation on Phil Fish, and the problems of internet fame.
posted by blahblahblah on Feb 9, 2015 - 14 comments

this movie isn't just about one man's struggle with a black child's hair

This movie is two hours of black people walking up to white people and yelling "BLACK" and white people yelling "WHY YOU GOTTA MAKE IT ABOUT RACE" over and over again.
Ijeoma Oluo (previously) has written a handy guide to writer/director Mike Bender's recently-released "dramedy" for The Stranger: Boobs, Booze, and Black People Hair: A Very Thorough Review of Black or White. More under the fold! [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Feb 3, 2015 - 56 comments

Gaming while Black

"Just because I sit here and say I haven't felt overt racism or harassment doesn't mean I don't know what it is and that I haven't experienced it elsewhere in my life, or that my mother didn't grow up in a world where there were colored drinking fountains," Harvey said. "This is stuff that happened and stuff that we think is relevant still today, on a lot of levels. And I think many people are very aware of this, a lot of gamers are very aware of this stuff in their daily lives. Games are a way of processing, a way of playing through an experience that is maybe more intense than you've ever felt it – you're sort of living in that avatar's skin. I guess, in a way, we're trying to put them in a skin they're maybe not used to, or maybe they would be interested to inhabit."
Jessica Conditt looks at the realities of videogaming's treatment of race and is cautiously optimistic.
posted by MartinWisse on Jan 21, 2015 - 7 comments

"I'll be honest: I don’t want to stay up until 4 AM any more at shows"

Music critic Sasha Frere-Jones is leaving The New Yorker to annotate lyrics at Genius. Here's his first post.
posted by Going To Maine on Jan 13, 2015 - 47 comments

"Trash has given us an appetite for art."

Pauline Kael (1919-2001) was a remarkable movie critic, the best ever (and certainly the most perceptive and exciting).
Trash, Art and the Movies
Marlon Brando: An American Hero
Raising Kane
Final Cut: Dreams and Disaster in the Making of “Heaven’s Gate” [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 7, 2014 - 20 comments

Neither Lost Nor Found: On the Trail of an Elusive Icon’s Rarest Film

"Screening rats and bootleg-swappers always have a holy grail. It sits at the top of a list of titles, on a folded sheet of notebook paper or in a Word document, bolded, underlined, or marked with a little squiggly star. ... These lists never get smaller; they only grow more obscure until they are filled with titles the list-maker has only a slim chance of ever seeing." Ignatiy Vishnevetsky [previously, previously] on rare movies, Jean-Luc Godard, and the life of the obsessive film fan.
posted by alexoscar on Dec 4, 2014 - 17 comments

For all we see as wrong, some of its appeal might be in its rightness

I've been slightly under the weather for the last week, which means, of course, soup, self-pity and comfort reads. Rather than my traditional winter-sniffles re-re-re-read of the Belgariad, I thought I'd go wandering around the historical romance category. That is: duchess porn.
At Pornokitsch, Jared Shurin expresses appreciation for "5 things in historical romance I wantonly desire to see in epic fantasy," and commenters suggest where to find them. At the Journal of Popular Romance Studies, similarly meta yet more searching questions arise. [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution on Nov 14, 2014 - 38 comments

It's a kind of magic

"We have a clean, green, and infinite power source! and we use it to make some fucking candles hover around!"
[more inside]
posted by Sokka shot first on Nov 13, 2014 - 80 comments

"Mabel! Mabel! Mabel! Mabel! Mabel! Mabel! Mabel! Mabel!"

The Chapter: A History
posted by a fair but frozen maid on Nov 1, 2014 - 3 comments

f-bombs for feminism?

Potty-Mouthed Princesses Drop F-Bombs For Feminism (YouTube; NSFW), FCKH8's new video campaign, has gone viral - attracting both praise & criticism. FCKH8's campaigns have sparked similar mixed reactions before. [more inside]
posted by flex on Oct 23, 2014 - 32 comments

"So I took up knife and fork and bade the waiter do his duty."

Lieut.-Col. Newnham-Davis was engaged in 1897 as the restaurant reviewer of the Pall Mall Gazette, and his reviews of London restaurants are collected in Dinners and Diners: Where and How to Dine in London, available online from The Dictionary of Victorian London. Newnham-Davis was a bon vivant, amateur of the theatrical world, and man of parts, and his reviews were equal parts reminiscence of the conversation with his pseudonymous companions and recollections and reviews of his opulent and lengthy Victorian dinners. [more inside]
posted by strangely stunted trees on Sep 27, 2014 - 28 comments

A Rant Against The Quantification Of Aesthetics

"That's my 'favourite' thing about music: encountering in the moment each artwork, however humble, already dignified by the sheer distinction of being incomparably human and thus, irreducibly, itself." 13 Reasons Why I Can't Pick My 13 Favourite Records, By Drew Daniel.
posted by naju on Sep 25, 2014 - 27 comments

A little Clump of Soul

Ten years ago today saw the English launch of a quirky Japanese puzzler, a sleeper hit that would go down as one of the most endearing, original, and gleefully weird gaming stories of the 2000s: Katamari Damacy. Its fever-dream plot has the record-scratching, Freddie Mercury-esque King of All Cosmos destroy the stars in a drunken fugue, and you, the diminutive Prince, must restore them with the Katamari -- a magical sticky ball that snowballs through cluttered environments, rolling up paperclips, flowerpots, cows, buses, houses, skyscrapers, and continents into new constellations. It also boasts one of the most infectiously joyous soundtracks of all time -- an eccentric, richly produced, and incredibly catchy blend of funk, salsa, bossa nova, experimental electronica, J-Pop, swing, lounge, bamboo flute, hair metal, buoyant parade music, soaring children's choirs, Macintalk fanfares, and the finest theme song this side of Super Mario Bros. Called a consumerist critique by sculptor-turned-developer Keita Takahashi (who after one sequel moved on to Glitch, the supremely odd Noby Noby Boy, and playground design), the series has inspired much celebration and thought [2, 3] on its way from budget bin to MoMA exhibit. Look inside for essays, artwork, comics, lyrics, more music, hopes, dreams... my, the internet really is full of things. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Sep 21, 2014 - 92 comments

"Europa Universalis IV is The Best Genocide Simulator of The Year"

When you finally get a ship over to North America, you’ll notice that things look a little different. Europe is crammed cheek to jowl with minor duchies and single-province powers, at least in the early game. There is no square inch of territory unaccounted for. But when you get to the Americas, you’ll see a lot of “empty” territory. The provinces and territories that are not claimed by any power or nation can be colonized.
April Daniels was thoroughly enjoying the ruthless imperialistic stylings of Europa Universalis IV, until the game took her out of Europe and into a somewhat problematic implementation of colonialism.
posted by MartinWisse on Sep 7, 2014 - 89 comments

Has science fiction lost the plot?

It strikes me that these two branches of science fiction are actually conditioning us to accept our current situation. Dystopia readers are waiting for a Katniss – and then everything will be all right. Post-apocalypse readers know they’re currently better-off, even if they’re being oppressed, than they would be with gangs of marauding slavers, rapists and murderers roaming the countryside. Science fiction was once a literature which encouraged change, which explored ways and means to effect changes. Now it’s comfort reading, it makes us feel good about our reduced circumstances because at least we’re not suffering as much as the fictional characters we read about.
Critic and science fiction writer Ian Sales is concerned about the state of the genre and what it says about our future.
posted by MartinWisse on Sep 1, 2014 - 80 comments

"the biggest crotch-desiccant since Piers Morgan"

I tend to measure most of my work in rent. Freelance game critics, like most freelance writers, probably measure most things in rent. I also like to measure my wellbeing in whether I can afford a bottle of Sailor Jerry that month. This only reflects a little of the type of person I am. The Sailor Jerry sort of helps to cope with the fact that I am my own worst commenter. Sailor Jerry is also very useful for coping with actual commenters and the hell of the internet.
Cara Ellison: How to write about a game.
posted by MartinWisse on Aug 28, 2014 - 21 comments

"See you next year at the halloween parade" - Lou Reed's New York at 25

Lou Reed's New York LP hit the quarter-century mark earlier this year. "Meant to be listened to in one 58-minute sitting as though it were a book or a movie," New York couples an unusually accessible rock style with some of most topical lyrics of Lou's career. "Protesting, elegizing, carping, waxing sarcastic, forcing jokes, stating facts, garbling what he just read in the Times, free-associating to doomsday, Lou carries on a New York conversation--all that's missing is a disquisition on real estate." - Robert Christgau

Get caught between the twisted stars, the plotted lines, the faulty map that brought Columbus to New York. [more inside]
posted by porn in the woods on Aug 18, 2014 - 40 comments

Climate change and contemporary fiction

"Novels are no use at all in days like these, for they deal with people and their relationships, with fathers and mothers and daughters or sons and lovers, etc., with souls, usually unhappy ones, and with society etc., as if the place for all these things were assured, the earth for all time earth, the sea level fixed for all time." [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Aug 9, 2014 - 57 comments

But then I suppose we have all read the reviews. We can talk about those

"So what is going on here? Should we be reassured that critics are sticking loyally by a work they admire regardless of sales, or bemused that something is being presented as a runaway commercial success when in fact it isn’t?" Tim Parks: Raise Your Hand If You’ve Read Knausgaard. [more inside]
posted by RogerB on Jul 25, 2014 - 33 comments

No one wants nothing written about what they’ve written.

Look: it’s not that I’m a dick when it comes to this stuff. It’s that I like to think that I have standards based on exposure to the interdependent duo of lit and life. But if I decide not to wuss out and instead uphold my particular notion of standards, I’m a dick, and being a dick could lead to dickish reviews of my own stuff from Shane Jones, his friends, and friends of the publisher. George Saunders told us all to “err in the direction of kindness.” But is this essay/review I’m writing unkind? Is it selfish? Is it generous? Is a kindness policy maybe too simple?
Lee Klein worries about small-press book reviewing in an ambivalent, lukewarm take on Shane Jones's new novel Crystal Eaters (excerpt) that others have, all the same, called cowardly and dickish.
posted by RogerB on Jul 23, 2014 - 38 comments

I never master these skills, because I am the wrong man for the job.

I killed At The Movies. The dueling critics format outlived Siskel, the more natural on-air presence of the two. So why didn’t it outlive Ebert?
posted by Sticherbeast on Jul 17, 2014 - 38 comments

Daily affirmations from a time before this: a fanzine trawl

Do you miss the music fanzine culture of the 1980s and 1990s, when publications like Forced Exposure, Bananafish, Conflict, Superdope, Crank, Siltbreeze, Matter and Lowlife cataloged the under-the-counter culture? Fuckin' Record Reviews brings you highlights from all of these zines and more!

Check out the early writings of musicians like Steve Albini, Bill Callahan, Alan Licht and David Grubbs, as well as veteran rockcrits like Byron Coley, Gerard Cosloy, Tom Lax, etc.
posted by porn in the woods on Jul 2, 2014 - 8 comments

I'm not a sexbot, I'm just written that way

In case you are thinking otherwise, I was not scouring the text for these solecisms, setting out to set you up, but like all people who are preparing a review I was keeping notes throughout the reading. The protocols around a first novel by a young writer do matter. I kept noting all the bad stuff (much more than reported here), but I was looking for good bits with which to try to encourage you. I found none. It gradually dawned on me that I was wasting my time. Barricade was unyielding in its awfulness. It was a book I did not wish to write about.
Christopher Priest is less than complimentary about fellow science fiction writer Jon Wallace's Barricade. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on Jun 26, 2014 - 149 comments

Wes Anderson Analyzed

Seven video essays by Matt Zoller Seitz on Wes Anderson films. [more inside]
posted by hamandcheese on Jun 19, 2014 - 18 comments

Doesn’t your life feel like his?

This week sees the publication of the third volume of “My Struggle,” the thirty-six-hundred-page autobiographical novel by Karl Ove Knausgaard, the Norwegian novelist. It’s hard to overstate the strangeness of the book’s success. The six volumes of “My Struggle” chronicle, in hypnotic detail, episodes from Knausgaard’s life. There is no plot to speak of, unless you consider real life a plot. [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Jun 3, 2014 - 31 comments

The view from the (far) left side of the balcony

What is it that the global pseudo-left in particular objects to about Lincoln and so values in Django Unchained?

This well-heeled social layer, conditioned by decades of academic anti-Marxism, identity politics and self-absorption, rejects the notion of progress, the appeal of reason, the ability to learn anything from history, the impact of ideas on the population, mass mobilizations and centralized force. It responds strongly to irrationality, mythologizing, the “carnivalesque,” petty bourgeois individualism, racialism, gender politics, vulgarity and social backwardness.

To such people, Lincoln is boring, staid and hagiographic, because it treats ideas and historical actors seriously and even admiringly. A film can hardly be degraded or “dark” enough today for these so-called radical commentators. The latter feel disdain for any expression of confidence in the best instincts and democratic sensibility of the American people, whom they view as always on the verge of forming a lynch mob.
The intellectually bankrupt defenders of Django Unchained and Zero Dark Thirty by David Walsh, longtime film critic for the World Socialist Web Site. [more inside]
posted by Atom Eyes on May 28, 2014 - 98 comments

Cultural Dealbreaker

The A.V. Club asks readers What’s your cultural dealbreaker? which they define as "cultural products that someone can profess to enjoy only while losing all of your respect."
posted by arcolz on May 10, 2014 - 211 comments

WHAT KINDS OF MINDS CREATE A STORY LIKE THIS?

DESPITE ANY GOOD INTENTIONS, SOMETHING IS GOING HORRIFICALLY WRONG HERE. AND AS A RESULT, WE'RE DEALING WITH A WOLF IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING. A BRAND OF VILLAINY MASQUERADING AS HEROISM. The Film Crit Hulk on the problems with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and its approach to storytelling and character.
posted by dng on May 7, 2014 - 155 comments

The Silence of the Fannibals

NBC’s Hannibal is the subject of significant critical acclaim as its second season draws near to conclusion, with many describing it as the best show on TV. It’s been called better than True Detective, better than American Horror Story and The Walking Dead, and even better than The Silence of the Lambs. However, despite the confidence of the show's creator in a renewal, the show’s fate on NBC is in question due to low ratings. [more inside]
posted by dogheart on May 1, 2014 - 2098 comments

“So… do you… do you suppose we should… talk about money?”

Introducing Sociology: Tim Kreider's influential 1999 essay (previously) on how Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut uses sex and infidelity to cover up a story of greed and murder by the elite gets a brand new afterward by the author to introduce a new site for his non-fiction writing, TimKreider.com
posted by The Whelk on Apr 23, 2014 - 51 comments

Consuming Hannibal

"Hannibal exists in a world where all metaphors move from abstract to concrete and literal—they become embodied. Metaphorical vision and 'seeing' become a giant eye stitched from human flesh." The mind and the body in Hannibal. Spoiler heavy up to the most recent episode. [more inside]
posted by codacorolla on Mar 31, 2014 - 1812 comments

on literature and elitism

These days, the idea of being a “good reader” or a “good critic” is very much out of fashion — not because we believe that such creatures do not exist, but because we all identify as both. The machine of consumerism is designed to encourage us all to believe that our preferences are significant and self-revealing; that a taste for Coke over Pepsi, or for KFC over McDonald’s, means something about us; that our tastes comprise, in sum, a kind of aggregate expression of our unique selfhood. We are led to believe that our brand loyalties are the result of a deep, essential affinity between the consumer and product — this soap is “you”; this bank is “yours” — and social networking affords us countless opportunities to publicise and justify these brand loyalties as partial explanations of “who we are”.
posted by latkes on Feb 12, 2014 - 68 comments

Can It Actually Be THAT Good?

Maybe the creators are benefitting from really low expectations. "The LEGO Movie" is getting some implausbly positive reviews . [more inside]
posted by Ipsifendus on Feb 7, 2014 - 213 comments

Arrange to introduce a great fire

The 100 Greatest Painters in Western History (according to the editors of This Recording). [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Jan 30, 2014 - 63 comments

"This book fills a much needed gap in literature"

Buzzfeed may think that if you can't say anything nice you'd better say nothing, but Kathleen Geier knows better. Sometimes a good old fashioned hatchet job is not just preferable, but necessary. She lists a baker's dozen of the best negative reviews to prove her point. Featuring all your old favourites, including Matt Taibbi flattening Tom Friedman, Katha Pollitt demolishing Katie Roiphe's victim blaming book on date rape, Molly Ivins vs Camille Paglia and of course the New York Times carpet bombing flavortown.
posted by MartinWisse on Jan 23, 2014 - 45 comments

Good. Well, it's good that you're fine, and - and I'm fine.

In need of an entertaining cinematic podcast to meet your listening needs? Then tune into Fighting in the War Room! Previously known as Operation Kino, Fighting in the War Room features fascinating discussions between film critics Katey Rich (Vanity Fair), Matt Patches (Hollywood.com / Vulture.com), Da7e Gonzales, and David Ehrlich (Film.com), offering reviews of current films, as well general cinema related topics. [more inside]
posted by Atreides on Jan 6, 2014 - 5 comments

Look at all these people, liking a thing!

Criticising popular things: why is it so popular?
posted by Artw on Dec 23, 2013 - 118 comments

Some Essays by Hilton Als

This year's critical darling essay collection -- Junot Diaz's favorite read of the year (#), Michael Robbins's pick for best book of the year (#) -- is White Girls by Hilton Als. Mentions of Als are infrequent on Metafilter, so I thought I would share a Readlist collection of his stuff (that has a bit of overlap with the book).
posted by AceRock on Dec 16, 2013 - 3 comments

"People who tell you you’re awesome are useless. No, dangerous."

Raph Koster on getting criticism.
posted by Sebmojo on Oct 20, 2013 - 26 comments

That like totally ruined the movie for me

The Realism Canard, Or: Why Fact-Checking Fiction Is Poisoning Criticism. "Every work of fictional narrative art takes place within its own world. That world may resemble our world. But it is never our world. It is always the world summoned into being in the gap between its creators and its audience. " (via)
posted by octothorpe on Oct 12, 2013 - 112 comments

We are wallowing in an atemporal zone of cultural production

Habitually verbose pontificator Will Self reviews the latest tome from Mark Kermode - Britain's Rockabilly Ebert - and in doing so, reviews the changing nature of criticism.
posted by mippy on Oct 9, 2013 - 11 comments

When everyone has an opinion, what's the point of a professional critic?

Mark Kermode (previously) discusses internet anonymity, the popularity of negative reviews, and 21st century film criticism in an excerpt from his new book.
posted by figurant on Sep 29, 2013 - 26 comments

"The truth is that I intend never to write a negative book review again"

The very fact that reading and writing are in jeopardy, or simply evolving, means that to try to put the brakes of old criteria on a changing situation is going to be either obstructive or boring. In our critical age of almost manic invention, the most effective criticism of what, in the critic’s eyes, is a bad book would be to simply ignore it, while nudging better books toward the fulfillment of what the critic understands to be each book’s particular creative aim.
Lee Siegel buries the hatchet-job.
posted by RogerB on Sep 26, 2013 - 50 comments

eating out of the trash can

Slavoj Žižek on John Carpenter's They Live, from the upcoming film The Pervert's Guide to Ideology. Slavoj Žižek delivers a Q&A on the film at TIFF.
posted by Sticherbeast on Sep 25, 2013 - 26 comments

"I was highly suspicious of this book when I first started it."

V.V. Ganeshananthan at The Margins on writing outside of what you know and the literary establishment's willingness to suspend disbelief and praise authenticity of narrative. As Gracie Jin put it, "In a society masquerading as post-racial, it is still only the white man who can speak authoritatively for every man."
posted by spamandkimchi on Sep 22, 2013 - 14 comments

Why art should be publicly funded

Why Art? Australian ABC Arts critic, theatre blogger and author, Alison Croggon, looks at public funding of the arts - and argues for more of it.


"In a survey that looked at participation in visual arts and crafts, music, dance, theatre and literature – that is, the key art forms supported by the Australia Council – 38 per cent of Australians describe themselves as art lovers, for whom the arts are an integral part of their lives. Only 17 per cent report estrangement, believing that the arts attract pretentious elites, and a tiny 7 per cent feel no connection at all. Overall, 93 per cent of Australians reported engaging with the arts in the previous year. In 2009, more people attended art galleries (11 million) than went to the football (10 million)."
posted by crossoverman on Sep 21, 2013 - 40 comments

Chaos Cinema

By employing directors with backgrounds in drama, the studios hope action-heavy films will be infused with greater depth. The catch, however, is that drama directors are usually inexperienced at, and thus incapable of, properly handling [the] material that is the film's main selling point .... "The Wolverine" is the latest example of this burgeoning trend. To name just a few examples from the past couple of years, "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" (dir: Gavin Hood), "Quantum of Solace" (dir: Mark Forster), "Skyfall" (dir: Sam Mendes) ... were all brought to the screen by filmmakers whose careers were predicated on dramas or comedies, not action. That fad remains in full effect this summer .... While no studio exec would dare hand over an Oscar-hopeful drama to Michael Bay, the opposite model—Hey, Marc Forster directed "Finding Neverland," so he's obviously the ideal candidate for a Bond film!—now reigns supreme.
Nick Schager writes about action films helmed by a director who is not an action director.
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear on Aug 10, 2013 - 59 comments

John Hodgman On Full Metal Jacket

"But The Shining speaks to what makes Kubrick such an interesting and, for a lot of people, troublesome filmmaker, because he does not give you what you want. At all. He does not give you a Vietnam movie set in the jungle, and he does not give you a horror movie that is just like Stephen King’s The Shining. He doesn’t even give you scares for a long time, [just] ominous foreboding. And it takes people a while to figure out, “Oh, maybe I don’t know what I want. Maybe this is better.” - Mefi's Own Jon Hodgman talks about Full Metal Jacket with Scott Tobias for "The Last Great Movie I Saw."
posted by The Whelk on Jul 12, 2013 - 75 comments

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