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
) that others have, all the same, called cowardly and dickish.
posted by RogerB
on Jul 23, 2014 -
Do you miss the music fanzine culture of the 1980s and 1990s, when publications like Forced Exposure
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
posted by porn in the woods
on Jul 2, 2014 -
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 -
What is it that the global pseudo-left in particular objects to about Lincoln and so values in Django Unchained?
The intellectually bankrupt defenders of Django Unchained and Zero Dark Thirty
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.
by David Walsh, longtime film critic for the World Socialist Web Site. [more inside]
posted by Atom Eyes
on May 28, 2014 -
: 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 -
"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 -
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 -