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May 29, 2007

Blogging and criticism

Jennifer A. Smith

Richard Schickel's recent condemnation of bloggers as critics/reviewers (L.A. Times, May 20) has certainly been raising the hackles of arts writers in the blogosphere. While his views are passionately held, I believe they're also misguided and don't take much note of the changing media landscape. Part of the reason arts criticism is winding up on the Web is decreased space in local papers. Those who have something to say are simply finding another way to do it, and many of them (contrary to Schickel's view) are highly qualified writers.

And frankly, there are several advantages to arts writing on the Web, namely the chance to have more (and better quality) images than you'll find on newsprint, and the increased interactivity allowed by commenting. I'm frequently lamenting how seldomly readers of print publications write a letter to the editor regarding arts coverage. With blogging and other Web coverage, there is more of a chance for that immediate back-of-forth of real conversation.

The best response to Schickel I've seen so far is by Jerome Weeks, who writes the book/daddy blog on ArtsJournal.com. Rather than reiterate many of his excellent points, I'd rather direct readers there (to the entry "Just who is this guy?"). It's worth the read.

Posted by Jennifer A. Smith at May 29, 2007 6:00 AM


I was reading the blog of the book reviewer that Richard Schickel dismissively wrote off as an auto parts worker. He neglected to note that the reviewer had extensive other credentials that he brought to reviewing.

Frankly, I found Schickel to be horribly out of touch and possessed of an Ivy-like arrogance toward anyone who might have a more diverse work background than a blueblood.

Posted by: Bridgette Redman at May 30, 2007 10:38 AM