Critical Fame


Critic by Lajos Tihanyi. Oil on canvas, c. 1916.
Critic by Lajos Tihanyi. Oil on canvas, c. 1916. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With the recent death of a famous critic, the Slo-Man is once again struck by a thought he’s talked about in an earlier post. This is not aimed at anyone in particular, the Slo-Man is conscious that bereavement is never easy for the family and friends. He has no quibble with the person, he does wonder about the person’s profession.

Who really cares what a professional critic has to say about a movie or a play? The actors, directors and other people involved are obviously people who would care about how their work is received. But do they? How many really care about what people think as long as they continue to buy into whatever they’re selling?

And the Slo-Man – does he take Roger Ebert’s opinion for expert advice and head off to spend $100 to see a movie in a theater? Those who know the Slo-Man will know that he will do his own research, check the list of actors, the director, the plot summary and decide for himself.

But in this crazy world, people don’t have to like something to buy it, it seems. This seems to stem from an odd mixture of peer pressure, smart (and egregious) advertising and a marketing campaign aimed at merchandising every last ounce of potential from “art”. The Slo-Man, ever ready to start another conspiracy theory, wonders; are professional critics created by marketing departments to serve as “impartial” judges ?

The Slo-Man is famous for his fondness for okra, a vegetable despised by many. Who is to say that their taste is superior to the Slo-Man’s? Who dare tell the Slo-Man that the $15 bottle of merlot that he likes is no good? Who would presume to get into a debate with him over his taste in classic blues / rock?

So what purpose do professional critic’s serve? Who do they serve? And how do you become a famous professional critic?

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7 thoughts on “Critical Fame

    1. The issue is that a professional critic’s opinion comes with remuneration for a purely subjective opinion. Pay engineer to inspect the structural integrity of a bridge, yes. Pay someone for his opinion on a work of art, no.

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  1. An art critic or a film critic or any critic is merely a person airing his opinion…based on his experience, background, personal preferences, education, nationality, blah blah etc, and he is paid by the paper/tabloid he writes for… unless he is being paid by the creator of the piece of art/film he is reviewing in which case his opinion is skewed. So Slowman, you are allowed to disagree with his/her opinion, but it helps to read a review before watching a film or going to an exhibition, if you trust the reviewer’s point of view and taste…

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