I just read two very long articles criticizing two of my favorites pieces of media: Mad Men and Freedom. The mad men critic came around to a point that wasn’t just a negative critique. The Freedom critic did not. I checked, the Freedom critic (Huffington Post) has a book out, but it is a book of criticism.
Negative criticism is getting harder and harder for me. There is a lot of pride in the very style of it. The more successful some things are the more critics seem to appear.
Rachel and I watched the Social Network last week and my favorite scene is in the office of the president of Harvard. His response to the Dinkelvi twins is to create something better if they have such a big problem with facebook. The ways that they are incapable of this are left in the dead air around which they state their other cases against Mark Zuckerberg.
I also liked Freedom, and it is annoying when I read that it was actually bad and Time Magazine, me, and Oprah are all crazy for enjoying it and thinking it spoke well as a piece of literature. I like Mad Men. When i hear the writing is bad, and this criticism is in print i have to kind of take a breath and remember i am entitled to my opinion. I am neither crazy nor stupid for thinking that the dialogue between John Hamm and John Slattery is incisive, funny, intergenerational business talk, and passive aggressive misogynist humor at its best. I am of course not advocating for misogyny of any kind. But, if that is the world of the 60s they depict it well.
Critics have an important place culturally. But, I prefer the creators. Thanks Jonathan Franzen and Matt Weiner.
Do you like reading criticism? When does it annoy you the most? When is it the most helpful?