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Old 12-05-2012, 06:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How valid/important is an art critic's role in society?

Any sort of art is included, paintings, books, film you name it.

So often I hear people bitch about critics and then use one review they disagree with as a source of infallible proof that critics know nothing and should stop breathing. I really don't see where people are coming from at all.

Critics exist for a couple reasons:'

1.) They are just like the audience: they can prompt a discussion about what they took away from the piece of art, offer their insights, if they're really hands on discuss with their readers and viewers

2.) Economic reasons. If you search around long enough you can usually find a critic who's tastes are at least decently compatible with yours, and if you listened to every suggestion they had, more often than not you'd probably feel like your money was well spent. Yet people bitch when they disagree with one review or even one opinion of a composite review, as if reviewers are supposed to flawlessly cater to an individual's taste.

What do you guys think? There's a difference between listening to a critic's suggestion, and formulating your opinion solely from critics' as an appeal to 'authority', and so many people don't realize the difference.


This thread was inspired by my love of watching Siskel & Ebert reviews
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Old 12-06-2012, 09:08 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I've always thought of a critic as the mediator between seller and potential buyer, whose job is to suss out the crap to allow me to make a more informed purchase. I just wish that in some cases they'd actually succeed, but it seems like if some franchise is big enough it will inevitably make money regardless of quality.
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Old 12-07-2012, 07:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Critics are people that are completely necessary in regards to their job in telling you and me what is good or bad but if your job is one solely of critique then I feel that they can become so isolated and inured to a fresh perspective or angle that their views are obscured.

You can't just sit in a little box and critique everything if you are immune from outside influences. Opinions change, social climates change and so does the steady march of civilisation and if you are not a part of that then it is easy to be stuck in a rut.

Word of mouth will always pique my interest far more than a single critic. Paradoxically there is always one critic out there who shoves a gem in our face but we are far too concerned with the the debris surrounding it and it's origins to dismiss it.

Everyone's a critic and we are all good and bad at the job in equal measure.
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Old 12-08-2012, 12:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Yeah I like those takes on it. Certainly critics can be more informed and knowledgeable about the medium they're working with, but as you said they can also close themselves off to external influence and take up posturing to get noticed and appeal to a certain demographic, rather than staying true to how they actually feel. I definitely see this with reviewers for some of the more mainstream publications like Rolling Stone.

As far as everyone being a critic of equal measure, that's certainly true one just has to take into consideration what they want to get out of the piece of art. If you're concerned with the latest CGI effects and the biggest, most intense explosions seen yet, you should probably take your friend Bob's advice on the latest, greatest Michael Bay movie to see. If you're genuinely interested in film as a whole, all of the genres it contains, and the evolution of it, you could do a lot worse than Ebert. It all depends on the audience.
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Old 12-08-2012, 02:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
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A critic is filler space in a magazine or a website, no more important than any other type of opinion piece for society.
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Old 12-08-2012, 03:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I'd say I'm actually more likely to read reviews after I've seen/heard/read/etc. than before. Especially for something I really liked or something that really got me thinking, I enjoy reading reviews as a sort of critical analysis of the thing and a way of continuing the experience.
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Old 12-08-2012, 04:45 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I've always seen the critics role as being someone that of a great leveller.

I'd rather discover something through reading a review than discover something through advertising.

Some companies have multi million budgets for advertising so it's nice to have something listed somewhere which cuts through all that and tells you if it's actually any good or not.

Also on the other side of it. a small company putting something out with hardly any budget, that review might be the only mainstream exposure they get.

That's what I think a critics role should be, taking a multi million dollar movie/album or some low budget indie job and tell people what they are like from a level playing field.
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