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May 16, 2006

More Reader Comments

by Douglas McLennan

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Messaging, email, fingerplans, listservs, Usenet News, webgroups, cheap webhosting, and now blogs. Every one of them was supposed to revolutionize the world like nothing before. Every one of them did have an impact. Every one of them eventually lived down the hype and settled into equilibrium. It's been going on since the early 1970s and probably before then. - Ravi Narasimhan

I see--and use--critics as reporters of an individual encounter with art. They can provide context and interpret and judge, but they also serve as a proxy for me, the reader. Or at least, I imagine and expect to find myself in the critic's position, face to face with art, in attendance at a performance, or reading the same text. This kind of reporting is by definition subjective, and I can find and judge and come to trust (or dismiss) a critic's ability wherever I find her. - Greg.org

One of the things that's changing (I hope) is that print begins to legitimize the online critical community as the online critical community legitimizes the print world. We bloggers already do that by frequently linking to print criticism and information that we find interesting or worthy of discussion. On the other hand, the online world ... George Hunka

You can tell nigh instantly whether a writer knows what he's talking about. You can tell over the course of a few installments whether his critical angle interests you. Good critics apply good writing chops to the experience of looking at art, and they have experiences looking at art worth writing about. A sustained ability to produce the resultant content accumulate critical capital for the writer. - Franklin Einspruch

With Google digitizing the entire print world and no doubt other entities soon springing forth to digitize everything that can be digitied (for example - every photograph ever taken), does the role of critic as an identifier of important/significant culture have any relevance today? After all, if we get to the point that we can capture, save, access and consume all culture whenever and wherever we want, why do we need someone to tell us which cultural products matter anymore? It is a bit like the US government capturing all information that it possibly can on everyone, warehousing the information and then accessing the information should the need arise. When culture no longer has a shelf-life, why do we need a critic to decide what is "good", "bad", "mediocre" or worth consuming? - Dallas

Posted by mclennan at May 16, 2006 12:36 PM

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