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 -
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 -
Australian ABC Arts critic
, theatre blogger
, 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 -
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 -
Perhaps the most dangerous effect of the Big Crunch mentality has been to make television creators think of themselves as auteurs, to convince them that in spite of the massive interference with their work, they can somehow create a work of aesthetic integrity and sociological insight even if they don’t know where it’s going. Well, sometimes you get lucky, but more often, the result is disaster, and the effort spent toward that failure is redirected from where it would be better put: creating great trash. An essay on the challenges and pitfalls of writing serialized TV plots
from The American Reader. [more inside]
posted by chavenet
on Jun 23, 2013 -
"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 -