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We’re Called “Critics” For a Reason

Only saying you like things excludes you from the ranks of critics. It means you’re a glorified journalist.

Merriam Webster:

1 a : one who expresses a reasoned opinion on any matter especially involving a judgment of its value, truth, righteousness, beauty, or technique

b : one who engages often professionally in the analysis, evaluation, or appreciation of works of art or artistic performances

2: one given to harsh or captious judgment

Origin of CRITIC

Latin criticus, from Greek kritikos, from kritikos able to discern or judge, from krinein
First Known Use: 1588

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8 comments to We’re Called “Critics” For a Reason

  • vfrancone

    Agreed, but dude, you’re stomping this point a lot.

  • Arturo Ulises

    @vfrancone Beacuse it’s necessary. Most of the published criticism are fluff pieces.

  • I think what’s missing from this debate is the observation that reducing it all to a choice between tough criticism and fluffy puff pieces creates an artificial duality. There are pieces of tough criticism that are incredibly shallow and stupid (as stupid as mindless praise), and there are pieces of criticism that gloriously celebrate the work that they explore. Criticism is neither good nor bad as a function of whether it damns or lauds — it is good or bad as a function of whether it aspires to say the essential in a beautiful way, regardless of what judgement it levels.

    • P.T. Smith

      Exactly. The tone here is the tone of any half-intelligent political debate. Ideologies and binaries as opposed to dialogues towards goals.

      Good criticism is criticism that tells you something core about what a work is doing, and how. Both a negative review and a positive review do that. (I think I let “review” slip in because that may be what we’re really all talking about in the first place.)

  • vfrancone

    @Arturo: I realize this, but this is Scott’s umpteenth post on the subject. And again I agree with him, but after a while the discussion of what makes a critic and who deserves to be called one, lacking “dialogues toward goals” as P.T. Smith mentioned, makes those screaming “I am a critic; this person is not” sound a bit desperate, arrogant, and even callow. Worse, they begin to resemble the academics who denounce creative criticism.

    There may be an influx of quasi-criticism in our 21st century, sure, but good, informed readers surely can see the difference between a critical essay and a fluff piece. They always have and they always will.

    That being said, keep up the great work, Scott.

  • T. Murgatroyd

    Critics, man. Critics never got nothing nice to say. You know the one thing I notice about critics, man? Is critics never ask me how my day went.

    Jerks.

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