I'm Just Saying

So this article in Variety says...

"British theaters will no longer be able to hoodwink potential audiences with out-of-context review quotes that seem to show the production is a hit, when the review actually conveys something different."

...and goes on to explain that theater operators who break this rule can be fined and sent to prison. Now, I'm all for truth in advertising, and have raised an eyebrow when shows I've panned excised a couple of neutral words and used them in promotional material. But hey, advertising is all about accentuating the positive, even if it means bending the truth ever so slightly in your product's favor.

It's not like an evening at Starlight Express will give you cancer; though PTSD, maybe. It's also not as though the dramatic world operates in a conspiratorial information vacuum the way, say, cigarette companies once did. I'm flattered the Brits want to protect critics' intentions, and cheers to that, but good luck proving damages when there's a whole internet out there just bursting with opinions on every show that dares to hold an opening night.

Isn't it really an audience member's responsibility to do some research before they shell out $100 or its British equivalent for a seat to a lousy show? I am of the mind that if you can't take the time to read a review (and then decide independently whether or not you agree with said reviewer), but instead take an advertisement's word for a production's quality, then you get exactly what you deserve. You ever see those bumper stickers that proclaim, "God said it, I believe it, that settles it?" I'll just bet those are the same people who've been taken in one too many times by crafty poster designers, and are now calling for their imprisonment. Where's a good inquisitor when you need one?


May 27, 2008 3:58 PM | | Comments (5)


The 'rights' your employers give you are in fact absolutions. Rights are relative, both to individual and plural, your employers simply control your conscience.
Thus, he who ridicules and/or criticizes can both marginalize and condemn without fear of repercussion and that is why religion dominates are society.

Our employers give us the right to criticize--and also to champion--as do the readers who follow us. I suppose a critic could be bought, but it would quickly become evident if they consistently gave one theater a pass, while applying a stricter standard to everyone else.

It's a cardinal rule that critics not fraternize with the theater community (go make your own friends, I always say). However, sometimes friendships are unavoidable, and in those cases, I, at least, will recuse myself from the review. There are two people I've sworn off of, and I take great pains not to hang around after shows or in get myself into situations where I might develop any more empathy than a baseline of general human fraternity.

Oh Drama Queen, have you just opened Pandora's box.

I must take you on here;

What gives a critic the right to criticize? Do we all need a level of control? Can a critic be bought? Is there any cronyism involved in the critics observations?

Now, stop flossing your teeth, and answer !!!!!!

Actually, I don't think that is the real point. To me, the point is the paternalism of British lawmakers, and their efforts to protect British citizens from their own lack of accountability.

There are critics good and bad, and a savvy reader will find one who represents their tastes. This issue just proves to me the importance of qualified critics in the cultural conversation. If the public is willing to let intelligent criticism disappear without a fight, then I say toss them into the fray and let them figure it out on their own.

I aasume that everyone knows the real point is missed here.

The quality of the show/production is relative to the observer, and not to the critics observations.
Many British magazines are run by half-witted, poorly educated egomaniacs. Still frustrated at their red-brick educations, they seek their comforts in impertinence.

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