Questions about the nature of cultural criticism
Q: Is there a need for a "cultural review" site?
A: Thinking creatures naturally form opinions on the things that
go on around them. In this day and age, people are bombarded with
cultural artifacts of varying degrees: from marketing to pop albums
to television shows to the cinema. Considering that the natural
response of a thinking creature is to observe these things, take
note of them, and comment on them, it seems only natural to want
to share the opinions there formed with others.
Q: Isn't that egotistical?
A: It does take a degree of self-assuredness to assume that others
would want to read your opinions. So, in that sense, yes this
is an egotistical activity. On the other hand, each human already
does the same thing on some scale: you might mention to your co-workers
that you like a particular TV show, or enjoy an album. Thus, you
spread your own opinions around. That is not egotistical, it is
natural. Also, you must remember that there is so much Cultural
Content out there that it can sometimes be overwhelming. What
is needed is a filter, something to sort the quality from the
garbage. That is the ultimate goal of this site: to provide a
sort of filter.
Q: But there are already plenty of filters on the internet, in
newspapers, and on TV. Do we need another one?
A: I think the answer to this is yes. Since each human has his
own set of prejudices and predilictions, it is necessary to have
a wide range of filters, so that each person can find a filter
that, more or less, agrees with them. I am sure that each reader
knows which film critics in their local paper to listen to, and
which ones to ignore. A plurality of critics gives each of you
the chance to find one more in tune with your own likes. And lets
face it, a critic whose stated opinions only align with yours
sometimes is of little use.
Q: So i am looking for a critic that agrees with me?
A: Not necessarily. If you find a critic who you ALWAYS disagree
with, then that critic has value to you. All you need to do is
to follow the opposite of what that critic recommends.
Q: I see. So i am looking for some critic whose opinions i can
trust, be they agreement or disagreement.
A: Exactly. What is needed is reliability. You need to read a lot
of criticism to find the people who you agree with.
Q: That brings us back to the question of ego. Doesn't each critic
need to ask himself, "Will anyone agree with me, or am i
just out there in left field?"?
A: Yes, each critic does need to ask that question. And i think
the answer is always, given the sheer bulk of humanity crowding
the planet, there is sure to be someone who is on the same wavelength
Q: Don't the Situationists say that "criticism is seond
degree spectacle"? Aren't you merely doing this in order
to make a fuss, without actually creating anything yourself?
A: Situationists say lots of things. Fortunately for us, they
don't really believe in the validity of copyright laws, meaning
i can quote them at my liesure. On the site Bureau
of Public Secrets a Situationist known as Chatel says:
"Art criticism is a second-degree spectacle. The critic
is someone who makes a spectacle out of his very condition as
a spectator - a specialized and therefore ideal spectator, expressing
his ideas and feelings about a work in which he does not really
This is something of which we here at EvilSponge.org are painfully
aware. In one sense, the act of criticism is the act of a creature who is otherwise unsuccessful at creation. However, what are
you going to do?