Friday, August 30, 2013

Who criticizes the critics?

An apologia for criticism. 

What criticism is: Criticism is the conversation surrounding a work of art. A growth medium in which art thrives.
What it ain't: Marketing.

Criticism can be art. Art can be (and often is) criticism. Artists are their own best (or worst) critics. If you write a rough draft and edit it, that’s a critical process. You’re saying, OK, here’s my story. How can I make it better?

Good artists create for readers/viewers/listeners with active critical intelligence. As opposed to drooling spuds.
Not being a moron, when you read a story, watch a movie, listen to a concert – if you’re actively engaged in the experience, you’re not a passive blob, you’re taking the art apart and putting it back together. Where the artist is coming from; what they’re trying to say; the structure of how they’re saying it. Your mind is digging it. Contrariwise, if you’re immersed in a song/film/story that sucks, your brain (if it still functions) is asking itself WHY does this suck? Laziness? Dishonesty? Cowardice?  You're a critic, kid.

Good artists create art to show bad artists how it's done.
Artists make art to celebrate what they think is cool and throw stones through the glass houses of artists they hate. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the movies of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriquez are mirrors of the movies they love and hate. I.e.: criticism. 

Every artistic movement is, implicitly, a criticism of the last artistic movement.
Consider the subset of written science fiction. The Futurians came along and said, “Hey. Here’s how you write science fiction. We’ll show you how it’s done.” Then the New Wave writers did the same. Then the Cyberpunks … Etc.

The beating heart of every artistic movement is FANDOM.  
A universal truth, baby. Look at ANY band of the happy few who changed things. The underground cartoonists of the '60s. The nouvelle vagues filmmakers. Tarantino and Rodriguez. You !@#ing name it. Any artistic movement, any time. The core band of artists really loves a certain kind of art – and really hates the other stuff.

What dopes think: Criticism is negative.
What the cool kids think: Criticism is art's life's blood.

The last thing any artist wants is an audience of drooling chuds who think their excrement doesn't think. The last thing any artist needs is uncritical acceptance. 

Mad magazine basically taught me everything I know about story structure and honest storytelling.)
So, Harlan Ellison, Roger Ebert, Pauline Kael aren’t out to stomp on delicate flowers.
the growth medium surrounding a work of art. Criticism

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