Stinkin' Critics

critic is a person who, by his words and writings, implies that he knows a great deal about the genre he is commenting on. However, no critic in any type of endeavor ever produces an artifact in that field. Thus ...

  • The art critic knows all there is to know about art (at least more than the average artist supposedly) but is incapable of producing a work of art.
  • The movie critic produces no movie.
  • The architectural designs no buildings.
  • The literary critic pens no novel.
  • The 'critic' of politics runs for no office.
  • The music critic plays the cello like Pablo Casals?
  • Etc, etc, etc
There is an exception of sorts.

Sports commentators.
Many have actually played the game upon which they comment and are quite good at it. They give the viewer useful/interesting inside information based on ... here it comes ... their experience. Their experience at the very thing you're looking at.

To "There is no sophistication without knowledge", I might add ...

"Without experience there is no knowledge."

Now I know (from experience) that it takes about 2000 hours of experience to get a fairly good grasp of some new "thing". And about 5000 hours to master it. So why doesn't the critic of anything take the time to learn the craft and produce an artifact in that craft so that he can say, "here is my example of what a good work in this genre looks like."?!?

Well, of course the answer is that this would require honest work and that is not a field in which the critic wishes to play.

The actual goal of most critics is the destruction (disintegration) of the thing criticized.

A typical excuse for not acquiring the necessary skill is "I don't have any (innate) talent in that area." This is the most explicit confession of a lack of knowledge that I can conceive of, for, as anyone with experience knows ...

There is no talent ... There's just work. Then you know the subject ... then people say "My, isn't he talented!" ... because they don't see the work that stands behind the thing they are looking at.

They approach their "job" with a snide, knowing cynicism that is immediately both repulsive and curious. It is repulsive because the average citizen does not possess the same deep hatred for "life and reason" while curious because the listener/reader does not understand the true motivations behind that which is being expounded.

Certainly, there are supposed critics who are not numbered among the foregoing. But these tend to be more accurately described as "commentators - sans experience". A commentator (no experience necessary) is what we all wish to be ... the person who gets to give his views on personal likes and dislikes.

Siskel and Ebert (movie critics) are of this type. They think that they know something about movie making but they don't to any great depth because of lack of experience.

They have experience "watching" movies.

The absolute proof that they know little and are only expressing personal opinion is that they ... disagree ... at very fundamental levels ... often.

Now if you know something about a subject, you must expect there are some general rules about that subject that everyone studying it would discover independently. They would find permanent agreement on almost all the movies they review. I find myself agreeng or disagreeing with them on a random basis on about 50% of reviewed movies while agreeing on the other 50%.

Not a very good indicator of objectivity ...
but it's better than the legal system which only gets a
coin toss ... worst possible ... correlation

What good do commentators without experience do then? Nothing ... just entertainment and information about the thing commented on. And possibly ... if a good correlation exists between you and the commentator ... useful evaluative info of the type ... "If he likes it, I will like it because I like everything he likes." ... see?

Why aren't there more critics with experience?

Simply ... if you have experience ...

You don't talk about it
... you "just do it"

Ebtx Home Page