Well Whaddya Know?

Now here's something you don't see every day, an arts community rallying behind a laid-off critic. 

There have been so many layoffs lately it seems as though these things are becoming, if not unnoticed, then at least unremarkable. And really, you have to wonder who, besides other critics and desperate arts editors, would stand up for a critic anyway? Every enthusiast believes themselves capable of the job, hence the proliferation of user reviews and, of course, blogs. And the reviewed? They don't seem too fond of us either.

Kansas City.jpg
But at least in beautiful Kansas City they understand the importance of informed critical opinion on the cultural climate and aren't willing to accept anything less than full-time attention. And brava/o to them. 

I'm certainly one of those to whom the job has been farmed out, and though I love what I do as much as any full-timer, it's not exactly a living. If I didn't have a husband whose profession makes it possible for me to indulge my passion part-time while still taking extended vacations, I'd probably be copy editing Gardasil pamphlets for Merck and availing myself of their excellent dental plan (though lately, even they have been laying people off). Getting rid of full-time positions narrows the field of reference inestimably, and if people are fine with having opinions fed to them through a very narrow and privileged straw, I can at least attempt to make up for some of that lost flavor, even if it makes me feel somewhat like a scab. After all, if no one fills in the gap, then what? 

Right. So praise the lord and pass the ammunition. 

Still, it's awfully gratifying to see that people outside the newsroom also care about critics' thinning ranks. I hope creative communities across the country take Kansas City as an example and rise up to resist the disappearance of their reflection in the aesthetic mirror. 

Maybe it's because in this desperate economy, things like this are also starting to occur, and arts professionals realize that as goes the critical voice and its commitment to making art a relevant topic of contemporary conversation, so goes art. Take a cue from Kansas City (who knew?) and demand that your media outlets--print, television, radio, online--consider arts news as important as sports and business news. I wish all those dancers, singers and musicians, as well as Paul Horsley, the best outcome for their "formal protest," and encourage them to see it through to fruition. The nation's arts writers could really use that backup right about now.
June 24, 2008 6:22 PM | | Comments (5)

5 Comments

Hi Wendy,

Just a follow up. Her's what we're up to now.

http://www.presentmagazine.com/full_content.php?article_id=1405&full=yes&pbr=1

regards,
Beau

The whole video was made only with lasers. No lights, no cameras. That's why it looks so primitive. I think they're just on the cusp of something that will probably begin to assert itself in the arts very soon. If you watch the "making of" video, they explain how it was done. Cool technologically, but I think the band has definitely been more interesting in other vids.

RADIOHEAD VIDEO: I don't get what you mean, 'camera and light free'--where did the images of Thom Yorke come from if not from a camera and light? As far as your assessment of the creativity as only OK, I don't agree. It's very cool in its subtlety. A film or video doesn't have to go whack with spewing images to be awesome. Yorke's weird robotic stuttering movements alone make this thing amazing.

Hi Wendy,

What a great blog! I was inspired by "Well Whaddya Know"
to take action so I drummed up a website. Please let me know if you have any advise or content. By the way, I'm a guitar player for a living.

www.thestarneedsacritic.org

Drama Queen,

Is this blog becoming a staging area for disgruntled critics?

"Oh, how wronged are we. The gifts we're given, driven like morning tides, ever searching, but never achieving."

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