"One can almost hear the anticipatory echoes of something like Yelp in the context of José Ortega y Gasset’s The Revolt of the Masses
(1930). The multitude, he wrote, once “scattered about the world in small groups,” now appears “as an agglomeration.” It has “suddenly become visible, installing itself in the preferential positions in society. Before, if it existed, it passed unnoticed, occupying the background of the social stage; now it has advanced to the footlights and is the principal character.” The disgruntled diner, now able to make or break a restaurant through sheer collective will. Against this leveling of critical power, the old guard fulminates. Ruth Reichl, the former editor of Gourmet
, recently harrumphed that “anybody who believes Yelp is an idiot. Most people on Yelp have no idea what they’re talking about.”
, by Tom Vanderbilt, in The Wilson Quarterly [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan
on May 5, 2013 -
"The internationalized art world relies on a unique language. Its purest articulation is found in the digital press release. This language has everything to do with English, but it is emphatically not English. It is largely an export of the Anglophone world and can thank the global dominance of English for its current reach. But what really matters for this language—what ultimately makes it a language—is the pointed distance from English that it has always cultivated. " - Triple Canopy magazine on why do artists' statments and press releases sound so utterly odd and confusing.
posted by The Whelk
on Apr 26, 2013 -
What makes the music critics at Collapse Board
more interesting than the ones at Pitchfork or Rolling Stone or the AV Club? Well, for one thing, they have more fun: witness The Audacity of Barry Manilow
, or their take on Kimbra's "Vows"
, written as a response to the outrage they received after a negative Gotye review
. When they love something, they love it with relish – they think Micachu understands 2012 like no other musician
, argue that Nirvana was the biggest thing since the Beatles
, and think Lana Del Rey is more interesting than her lips. And when they dislike something, they make no qualms about disliking it – they rip into Titus Andronicus
something good, describe a Matt & Kim album as "an excellent litmus test for weeding out fluff-eating imbeciles
", and express more ambivalent opinions about My Bloody Valentine
and The Mountain Goats
. They also, predictably write frequent critiques of music criticism.
posted by Rory Marinich
on Mar 21, 2013 -
We might not get laughed out of the room, but the question is: would we want to be stuck in it with some guy who would ask: Since we already have Aristophanes, who needs Kurtzman? Since we have Erasmus of Rotterdam, why would we want Steve Martin? With Wagner still available, who cares about the Firehouse Five? Furthermore, would we let that guy organize the party music?
Eddie Campbell on fallacies of comics criticism.
posted by rollick
on Feb 7, 2013 -
What appears at first to be taking a more stringent view is in fact applying irrelevant criteria. It dismantles the idea of a comic and leaves the parts hopelessly undone.
10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10 (a collaborative book by Nick Montfort, Patsy Baudoin, John Bell, Ian Bogost (previously, previously, previously), Jeremy Douglass, Mark C. Marino, Michael Mateas (of Facade), Casey Reas, Mark Sample and Noah Vawter)
uses a single line of code
as a basis for pontificating on creative computing
and the impact of software in popular culture. 10 PRINT's content is available as a PDF (50 MB)
via Casey Reas' Flickr.
posted by mrgrimm
on Nov 29, 2012 -
Let’s play Žižuku!
Vaguely similar in theory to the Postmodern Text Generator
, but practiced individually, rather than Markov-chain-generated text. The creator, Julian Baggini, describes Žižuku thus: "The rules are simple: pick on any widely received idea and find the most clever-sounding way to invert it, so as to create a paradox, or at least the semblance of one." [more inside]
posted by exlotuseater
on Nov 17, 2012 -
Comics critics groupblog The Hooded Utilitarian
("a pundit in every panopticon") turned five in September and to celebrate ran a month long festival of hate
, "in which contributors will write about what they believe is the worst comic ever — or the most overrated, or the one they personally hate the most, as the case may be." [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse
on Oct 3, 2012 -
Paul Thomas 'The Master' Anderson or Paul WS 'Resident Evil 5' Anderson... who's the best? There's only one way to find out... ask Armond White
posted by fearfulsymmetry
on Sep 19, 2012 -
Diamanda Hagan is an obsessive Dr. Who fan in scary makeup. She posts extensive, entertaining, and exhaustively nerdy rants on some of the worst episodes of Nu Who. Behold! The Beast Below
, Voyage Of The Damned
, Victory Of The Daleks
, Fear Her
, The Next Doctor
, Planet Of The Dead
, The Doctor's Daughter
, and The End Of Time (The Whole Damn Thing)
posted by The Whelk
on Aug 31, 2012 -
Bullying & Goodreads:
"Little more than a week ago, a website aimed at naming and shaming so-called Goodreads [A kind of facebook for bibliophiles.]
‘bullies’ suddenly appeared online – called, appropriately enough, Stop the GR Bullies.
Run by four concerned ‘readers and bloggers
’ writing anonymously under the handles Athena, Peter Pan, Johnny Be Good and Stitch, the site thus far seems bent on punishing the creators of snide, snarky and negative book reviews by posting their handles, real names, locations and photos in one place, together with a warning about their supposed ‘level of toxicity’ and some (ironically) snide, snarky and negative commentary about them as people. There’s a lot here to unpack, but before I get started on why this is a horrifically bad idea, let’s start with some basic context."
posted by Fizz
on Jul 11, 2012 -
The literary product—by which I mean assembly-line writing, in tune with sales results and committee-thinking, rather than the idiosyncratic creation of the individual genius— today is manipulated, propagandized, and hyped, and, as a result, unattractive to mass audiences, indifferent to fundamental issues of class and politics, and pretty much in its death throes
. This holds true above all in America, where conglomerate publishing has reached its most advanced state, and different genres of writing are the brainchildren of marketing geniuses and corporate analysts, creating a worthless product as far as literary values are concerned. Why is this phenomenon not being scrutinized to the degree it needs to be? Why is the lack of quality not more transparent?
posted by deathpanels
on Jun 5, 2012 -
In 1929, John Galsworthy won a Guardian poll as the novelist most likely to still be read in 2029. Three years later, he won the Nobel Prize, and the prices of his first editions skyrocketed. His reputation has since been on a 80-year wane that shows no signs of abating. The New Yorker asks Why is Literary Fame So Unpredictable?
And who will they be teaching in literature class a century from now?
posted by Horace Rumpole
on May 22, 2012 -
Reading Markson Reading:
‘Exploring the mind, method and masterpieces of David Markson through the marginalia found on the pages of the books in his personal library.’ (previously: 1
posted by misteraitch
on Apr 20, 2012 -
If “The Marriage Plot,” by Jeffrey Eugenides, had been written by a woman yet still had the same title and wedding ring on its cover, would it have received a great deal of serious literary attention? Or would this novel (which I loved) have been relegated to “Women’s Fiction,” that close-quartered lower shelf where books emphasizing relationships and the interior lives of women are often relegated? Certainly “The Marriage Plot,” Eugenides’s first novel since his Pulitzer Prize-winning “Middlesex,” was poised to receive tremendous literary interest regardless of subject matter, but the presence of a female protagonist, the gracefulness, the sometimes nostalgic tone and the relationship-heavy nature of the book only highlight the fact that many first-rate books by women and about women’s lives never find a way to escape “Women’s Fiction” and make the leap onto the upper shelf where certain books, most of them written by men (and, yes, some women — more about them later), are prominently displayed and admired.
So begins The Second Shelf: On the Rules of Literary Fiction for Men and Women
, an essay in the New York Times by novelist Meg Wolitzer. She was interviewed about her essay in the NYT Book Review podcast
(mp3 link, interview starts at about 18:30). Wolitzer references the classic 1998 essay by Francine Prose, Scent of a woman's ink: Are women writers really inferior?
, and further back in time you find Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own
, which, as literary critic Ruth Franklin notes
, still sounds fresh today.
posted by Kattullus
on Apr 4, 2012 -
In the last decade, no organ of music criticism has wielded as much influence as Pitchfork. It is the only publication, online or print, that can have a decisive effect on a musician or band’s career.... [W]hatever attracts people to Pitchfork, it isn’t the writing. Even writers who admire the site’s reviews almost always feel obliged to describe the prose as “uneven,” and that’s charitable. Pitchfork has a very specific scoring system that grades albums on a scale from 0.0 to 10.0, and that accounts for some of the site’s appeal, but it can’t just be the scores.... How has Pitchfork succeeded where so many other websites and magazines have not? And why is that success depressing?
A lengthy history and review of Pitchfork [Media]
, from an inexpensive online alternative to a music zine, to "indie" music kingmaker, and thoughts on pop music (criticism). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Jan 24, 2012 -
Indian author Pankaj Mishra writes a brutal takedown
of Niall Ferguson's latest book, Civilisation: The West and the Rest
in the London Review of Books
Ferguson responds to the critical book review with a lawsuit
. [more inside]
posted by bodywithoutorgans
on Dec 5, 2011 -
"The rigorous division of websites into narrow interests, the attempts of Amazon and Netflix to steer your next purchase based on what you’ve already bought, the ability of Web users to never encounter anything outside of their established political or cultural preferences, and the way technology enables advertisers to identify each potential market and direct advertising to it, all represent the triumph of cultural segregation that is the negation of democracy. It’s the reassurance of never having to face anyone different from ourselves." – Charles Taylor, The Problem with Film Criticism
posted by Rory Marinich
on Nov 24, 2011 -