something about bells, balls and bulls
March 29, 2012 8:27 PM   Subscribe

“Vermin!” “Abortion!” “Sewer-rat!” “Crritic!”
posted by latkes (12 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
MML: an article about critics and artists' reaction to them.
posted by zamboni at 9:14 PM on March 29, 2012

I thought I learned all I needed to know from that cartoon series with Jon Lovitz.
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:31 PM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

So in other words, YouTube commenters existed long before the invention of the Internet...?
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:37 PM on March 29, 2012

As George Bernard Shaw is cited as remarking in this piece, “I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.”
posted by DrMew at 10:21 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Rarely though does criticism have noble intentions. Often professional or personal rivalry is at its black heart which makes for, if nothing else, diverting soap opera.

This is simply untrue. It's unsourced, undemonstrated hogwash, and if this article were held up to the standard of accuracy and fairness that an overwhelming majority of critics hold themselves up to, it would fail the test.

Critics have their failings, but most are honest brokers, striving to give reasoned, accurate, educated, and forthright opinions. Something this piece could not be bothered with.

Many critics are also quite successful creators of culture, and their criticism reflects their knowledge and affection for the process of making art. See Bram Stoker, George Bernard Shaw, Laurie Anderson, Oscar Wilde. And me.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:22 PM on March 29, 2012 [5 favorites]

I always thought of Hemingway's prose as economical, but he was outright wordy in his criticism of FHTE - he really could have stopped at "scabs" and made his point. My, how I wish he had.
posted by gingerest at 10:35 PM on March 29, 2012

Ugh. Denouncing critics is the last refuge of the petty and the pretentious.

(I promise, crappy artists, we will still know you suck, even if no-one says anything)
posted by misfish at 11:46 PM on March 29, 2012 [4 favorites]

It was a fun essay to read, I thought. He's done his homework and drops in some pretty obscure quotes elegantly. There may not be much logic involved,(he's criticizing critics) but there are really some great quotes there.
How can a writer react to a critic? The sensible answer would be they shouldn’t. “Silence, exile and cunning” as Joyce noted are three indispensable weapons in a writer’s armoury.
posted by whanisko at 11:46 PM on March 29, 2012

Critics of critics are often far crueler than the critics they criticize:

And, yes, I have encountered trolls since this blog began. Interestingly, almost all, though not absolutely all, of the troll-like behavior comes from the fans, or perhaps the members, of one theater company – people who (also unlike a previous age) use screen names or even remain anonymous so they can spew without being answerable for their actions. My ancestry has been impugned, as has my eyesight. I have been called heartless, or pandering, or been seen as showing wild favoritism toward some other theater. I have been psychoanalyzed as having a childhood of underachievement I’m somehow trying to compensate for by trying to destroy others from my apparently lofty current height. It’s all rubbish, of course, but it has become the aftereffect of virtually every review I write about this one company.

posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:13 AM on March 30, 2012

"The writer can comfort themselves that bad reviews are rarely remembered in posterity beyond footnotes."

This in an article chock full of choice quotes from bad reviews.

Every once in a while I'll highlight a bad review of my work that I find particularly interesting for one reason or another, and someone will try to console me with the suggestion that critics are just people who can't create, so they criticize instead. Which is when I point out I was a professional critic for fifteen years before I started writing fiction. Not to mention, say, Dorothy Parker or George Bernard Shaw, to name two far better known examples. The lines between critic and creator are far more permeable than people appear to believe.
posted by jscalzi at 4:20 AM on March 30, 2012

That's because criticism is an art itself, especially when played at the highest level. It's a different game than writing other stuff, but uses the same equipment.

To further this tortured metaphor, bad reviews are defense--necessary only to set up the offense: praising, and unpacking, work you love.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:05 AM on March 30, 2012

MetaFilter: Probably I should re-read it again to give you a truer answer. But I do not have to eat an entire bowl of scabs to know they are scabs...
posted by Splunge at 5:50 AM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

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