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Not Actually Borges
16 March 2010 @ 04:15 pm
One of the worst things about my music/art friends is dealing with their instinctual hatred of criticism. Their definition of criticism seems to be "someone telling you why your work is bad." As an example, a friend posted this status update on Facebook a few minutes ago:

"Alice in Wonderland is pretty awesome. critics get paid to criticize things. if you hate this movie you hate fun"

I consider the guy who posted that update pretty smart. He does music, art, and videos (he's probably made a music video for at least one of your favorite bands). So I don't know why he would hold such a stupid, "first-year-art-school-student"-type belief.

Simply put, a critic evaluates a work, ideally from the perspective of a person with specialized training in the medium and genre they are criticizing. A critical evaluation might discuss what's good and bad in a work, but it more often discusses how the work relates to other works in the medium, how it relates to the world at large, the artist's intended "meaning," and the critic's interpretation of the work. Critics are useful because they know more than the average art consumer, they've studied how to analyze their chosen field, and they've learnt how to communicate their criticism well. These features are important for fostering artistic discussion and community.

Basically, bad criticism reads like the comments on a youtube video, while good criticism reads like the comments on a decent academic blog.