THE CRITIC (ARE YOU NUTS?): Are Leonard Slatkin and the National
Symphony Orchestra trying to get Washington Post music critic
Philip Kennicott fired? "The NSO attacked Kennicott in a
stinging letter posted on its Web site, calling him "irresponsible"
and insinuating that he had concocted a quote." The Post,
meanwhile, has nominated Kennicott for a Pulitzer. Washingtonian
CRITIC IN THE HOT SEAT: As actors increasingly lash our at
critics after receiving negative reviews (Donald Sutherland and
Kelsey Grammer, most recently), the role of the critic - and arts
journalism in general - is being widely debated. Should a critic
be a neutral mediator of experience? Or a subjective arbiter of
taste? “The critic is not a straw-poll merchant, a tipster or
a second-guesser of audience taste, simply an individual paid
to record his or her reaction. Throughout history this has been
a source of creative tension between artists and critics.” The
YOUR BRATS! New York Magazine theater
critic John Simon loses it at a performance of "Music Man"
and screams at the parent of noisy kids to shut them up. "Simon
said he 'smelled trouble' as soon as he saw several young children
- between the ages of 4 and 8 - sitting in front of him."
FIRED: Baltimore Sun music critic
been fired for plagiarism. (AP)
Baltimore Sun 11/26/99
Washington Post critic
complained in his
review that the show he was writing about was too short. No
kidding! Don't leave at intermission then. Here's the day-after
DECADENT SNOB: John Fry was Britain's most influential critic
of the 20th Century. He
invented modernism for the British public and championed the
post-Impressionists - but his aesthetic is totally out of step
with contemporary notions of aesthetic taste in the UK. London
Sunday Times 10/24/99
Where do those amazingly obscure rave blurbs for this or that
movie come from? With a proliferation of easy-to-access opinions
on the internet, how does one sort out who's credible and who's
not. *spark-online 12/00
THE NEW YORKER'S ANTHONY LANE REALLY A BAD CRITIC?
"What’s at issue here has nothing to do with 'opinion', or
whether one likes or dislikes 'Crouching Tiger'. It has to do with
the critic’s basic grasp of his subject. He’s not really a
film critic but
a quip-minded belletrist who happened into a lucrative gig and
appears to have no inclination, now, to patch up the gaping holes
in his knowledge of film." New
York Press 12/12/00
TO SEE CANADA'S BEST ART: Art critic
Blake Gopnik is leaving the Canada's
Globe & Mail to take up the same job at the Washington Post.
He leaves writing about what he likes best in Canadian art.
The Globe & Mail 12/30/00
THE POOR DESPISED CRITIC:
"I've been examining fictional works that include critics
as characters. The result? Forget about positive role models. Each
film critic I've
discovered in a movie is a walking and laboriously talking
stereotype. Some portraits are playful and satirical; others are
malicious. In every case, though, the film reviewer is boorish,
obsessive, and neurotic (and almost invariably male), someone you
wouldn't want to be stuck next to at a movie. Boston
YOU WANT TO BE A MOVIE CRITIC: "Early in life, develop no
practical skills. I advise watching nothing but television until
the age of about 9, then venturing out. Practise emotional
repression. Not only will this help you keep a useful distance
from everyone around you, it will force you to displace your
emotional response to utterly useless things. Like movies. Hold
strong views on things that don't matter to anyone else."
Toronto Star 01/12/01
When you're a critic everyone
loves to criticize you. One critic
looks over the criticism that came
his way this year. "The eminent critic
and playwright Robert Brustein took
me to task for reporting that his fashionably coifed crony David
Mamet was in a 'slump' because he had written an awful novel that
couldn't find a US publisher. (Good thing I didn't know about the
'poetry' and the vanity CD.)" Boston
Artists create a life-size wax statue of London Evening Standard
art critic Brian
Sewell and put it in a show. Sewell is depicted staring at a wall
label which explains what the artwork is. Sewell is not amused.
"I can tell you that they have been desperately trying to
get me there to do the boring thing of photographing us together.
It means I shall not be going to the exhibition."
London Evening Standard 10/12/00
CAN'T NAME ONE CRITIC I TRUST": Last week the American
magazine Variety polled four dozen filmmakers to see what they
thought about film critics. It wasn't a happy report. Most lament
a decline in review standards, saying many critics had turned
into little more than "blurbmeisters."
The Guardian 03/22/00
TO A CRITIC:
Saluting a critic with an exhibition of art is a dicey matter. But
John Ruskin, England's greatest critic, made it easy for the Tate.
THE CRITICS: It's tough to Intimidate theatre or art critics.
But Hollywood and the fashion industry have so much control over
their products (stars) that an indiscreet word (or even question)
can put your access (and your job) in jeopardy. The
Globe & Mail (Canada) 12/07/00
NEEDS ART CRITICS? Here and there in a few major periodicals
one can find art critics who realize they are writing for a mass
medium and general audience, and not for a rarefied elite of
cultural academics, museum docents and fellow critics. But then
there are those who conduct themselves as though the masses who
have lined up in such volume for recent Vermeer, Monet and Cezanne
exhibitions were beneath contempt for their lack of art history
degrees. Chicago Tribune 12/07/00
PACK JOURNALISM: The media that cover Hollywood increasingly
do a superficial and formulaic job, say critics. Reporters prefer
reporting quick hit gossip or meaningless data rather than doing
stories that reveal how the entertainment industry really works.
For example, "the media's obsession with opening weekend
grosses is as ironic as it may be destructive. Why? Because virtually
everyone in Hollywood agrees that most of the numbers the studios
report to the media are inaccurate, if not downright dishonest.
'They're made up - fabricated - every week'."
Los Angeles Times 02/12/01