Who Cares What Critics Think?
Why do entertainment critics exist as writers for newspapers?
They embroil me each time I read their reviews. A market
research report with a sample size of one would be worthless to
a company. Yet, how well a movie, a play, or a CD fares is based
on an opinion rendered by one person. Even a batch of critics'
opinions is a very small sampling. Sales of entertainment
offerings either soar or plummet because their personal tastes
were either positively or negatively stimulated. Why do we rely
so heavily upon strangers' opinion of something, when we have no
idea at all how they really think? The entertainment industry is
really missing the boat on this one.
I have a friend named Karl who loves to watch movies. In one
week he may go to a theater five times or more. Since I know him
well I am inclined to take his opinion of a movie more
seriously. What he says about a movie impacts my decision on
whether I am interested in seeing it. I also know that there are
genres of movies that Karl disdains and openly admits regretting
have paid a ticket to see those. Coupled with my own tastes and
knowing Karl as I do, I am actually more inclined to see some
movies he doesn't like because I like these types of flicks. I
am rarely disappointed.
When you get right to it, a movie a CD, a play or a concert
reviewed by a critic is an editorial. It is an opinion.
Editorials are generally written by journalists who have taken
time to research a topic, analyze the pros and cons of the
situation, and then report their summarization of it. An
entertainment critic drives to an event; enters the premises;
buys a soft drink and some popcorn; watches the event while
eating and drinking; and then offers a personal opinion on a
subjective topic. Why does their opinion mean anything more than
the audience who just did the same thing? You could garner a
more educated opinion hanging out at the exodus and randomly
asking five strangers, "What did you think?"
Reviewing a new CD is even simpler. Pop it into a player, listen
to it, and then type your opinion of it. How hard is that to do?
Their most difficult challenge is to stretch that opinion in to
enough words to call it an article. What a frivolous job!
Why take an opinion to heart when you don't know anything about
the person expressing it except for how they write? Which is
another aspect of these creatures that leaves me enraged. Have
you ever read a review from an entertainment critic without
having a dictionary and thesaurus within reach? Because if you
don't have those tools holstered at your hips, more times than
not, you will not be able to understand what they are attempting
to convey to you. It stymies me why these guys have to express
themselves with terminology that would confound a lexicographer.
Perhaps it is their way of validating the nonsensical use of
their English degrees. I also am willing to bet that they don't
even know what most of those abstruse words even mean. There, I
just used one to prove my point. "Esoteric" would have worked as
well. But, no, I opted to be eclectic.
Using words only understood by English professors, wordsmiths
and avid readers is a trite way to substantiate one's
credibility as a writer. The majority of those uppity
freeloaders lean on such words so that we think they are
special. Why do they do that to their readers? There is
absolutely nothing wrong with a diverse vocabulary. Using
mottled words is just peachy. But it is a vapid act of
desperation when you are writing about an action-adventure movie
with numerous car chases or reviewing a new CD by Dashboard
Merriam-Webster has a service
where they will email you an obscure, seldom-used word that
stems from the 14th or 15th century every day. They also provide
the etymology of the word too. It is actually very interesting.
Newspapers are wasting valuable advertising space and money
employing the majority of these pompous clowns. A real writer
pulls readers into their writing. Pushing readers away and
making them reach for external tools to understand what you are
trying to convey to them is a grave shortcoming on the writer's
part. These preternatural fools should be booted out of the
writing community and rocketed toward Uranus.
Keep that in mind the next time you decide not to see a movie,
attend a play or buy a CD just because some mediocre writer
didn't like it. Personally, I am sticking with my pal Karl.
p.s. You can view Karl's reviews on entertainment events by