Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"Small But Possibly Revolutionary"

I'll claim that as a blurb, thank you very much, and from no less than the Guardian's own Chris Wilkinson.

But seriously, Wilkinson rebuts a point Isaac made on his blog last week, that Critic-O-Meter hopes to mitigate the undue power of the Times' reviews and steer the discourse more toward "London's four relatively-equal dailies." Wikinson retorts:
This flagging of our own critical culture as something to be emulated is, in one respect, quite surprising. Butler is certainly right that, as homogenous as our critics can be, there is no single writer who has the degree of influence that Ben Brantley at the New York Times has. But paradoxically, our critical culture is arguably even more bent towards this "consumer report" style than it is in the US.

Our critics often have much less space to write in, and they have to summarise all their opinions in a simplistic star rating that all but crushes any opportunity for ambivalence or nuance on the part of the writer. So perhaps Butler and Weinert-Kendt should be just a little careful about what they wish for. Because if their wish comes true, it may be that many of the reviews are no longer worth summarising.

Interesting point, though I can say that's certainly not what either Isaac or I wish for. And we plan to remain careful.

UPDATE: The Utne Reader weighs in (I must correct a few inaccuracies: Isaac isn't a theater critic, and "Steve Leigh Morris" writes for the LA Weekly, not the Los Angeles Times).

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