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When Critics Go Soft, Audiences Pay the Price

The Reviewer's Fallacy

We've all have experienced shows that we've read high praise for, then been disappointed by. One of the root causes of the reviewer's fallacy is based on the opinion that 90% of film, literature, consumer goods are mediocre or worse.

It would be tiresome for critics to find new ways to condemn worthless work. The editors and owners of the publications would also not be happy with a consistently downbeat arts section. Therefore, critics are unconsciously inclined to use a rating that if something isn't very good, but is better than two-thirds of other entries in the genre, it can get a B or B-plus.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

When Critics Go Soft, Audiences Pay the Price

When Critics Go Soft, Audiences Pay the Price

https://slate.com/culture/2018/01/the-reviewers-fallacy-when-critics-arent-critical-enough.html

slate.com

5

Key Ideas

Types of critics

Critics are criticized for being offenders of a few specific types:

  • Overintellectual nitpickers.
  • Soft touches who are paid by studios and record labels.
  • Chummy logrollers. In the social media age, you'll be surrounded by a relentless enthusiasm that might make you believe that all new books are fantastic.
  • Careerist contrarians. They try to stand out from the crowds with their cynical eye-catching opinions. "Daddy's Home 2 is the second coming of Molière."

The Reviewer's Fallacy

We've all have experienced shows that we've read high praise for, then been disappointed by. One of the root causes of the reviewer's fallacy is based on the opinion that 90% of film, literature, consumer goods are mediocre or worse.

It would be tiresome for critics to find new ways to condemn worthless work. The editors and owners of the publications would also not be happy with a consistently downbeat arts section. Therefore, critics are unconsciously inclined to use a rating that if something isn't very good, but is better than two-thirds of other entries in the genre, it can get a B or B-plus.

Undue credit

Critics experience so much bad work that they get accustomed to it.
When they do see originality, or arguably interesting intentions, or technical proficiency, or something that is bad but not bad in the usual way, they will give these things undue credit.

The consumers wish list

The wish list differs for different people.

In books, films, and TV, it comes down to a story to which we gratefully suspend our disbelief and allow ourselves to be carried away. In music, the distinction is between words that we find merit in and music that enhances the meaning of the words.

Different views

The set of critics’ and audiences’ interests overlap but are not the same. 

The audience wants to know if they should spend their time and money on it. The critic gets in for free and has to listen or read or watch to whatever is next. Their questions are about craft and originality and wallet quality.

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"Retro" Love

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Searching For Stability

Retro video games and 80’s /90’s music are a popular choice even with thousands of new and ultra-realistic video games and so many options in music being available, as they provide a sense of comfort in a world that is increasingly precarious and unstable.

The overabundance of content makes people feel overwhelmed and confused. Add to it the fact that today’s pop culture options often reflect the current dystopian world, when most of us are wanting to escape from it, and have limited time. 

Volitional Reconsumption

.. is a deliberate act of revisiting old cultural favorites, as a form of self-discovery and self-identity. When people rewatch something, they watch it more intensely and can find out creative details and hidden meanings that were lost in the first viewing, appreciating the fine work of art even more.

Example: The Most Popular Sitcom in the UK in 2019 was the 90s sitcom Friends, which was in the Top 10 most-watched show list on Netflix the same year.

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Turn The Heat Around

Make it your critic's job to prove themselves to you, rather than the other way around. 

99% of critics disappear when confronted with any kind of rigorous intellectual challenge....

Preparing For Battle

No one is going to engage in a serious debate with you when you look prepared for an academic beat down.

If someone attacks your work in a nasty way, don't get angry. Say instead something like:  “it’s interesting that you should say that because my research (cite some book or blog post) seems to suggest that the opposite is actually true. Is there some study or paper you can point me to that would validate your claim?”

Get Inspired

Use the criticism of your past work to generate ideas for new projects. 

For example, researching a response to a critic may lead you to read about or experience something you never would have before, which can open the door for all sorts of new experiments in your professional or personal projects.

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Star Wars

Star Wars

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The Story Set In Space

The Star Wars story is a classic Hero’s Journey, in which the protagonist, Luke Skywalker in a galaxy, far, far away, learns that he is able to harness a certain force. He eventually joins the rebellion against the Galactic Empire, and along with his allies, destroys the Death Star, uniting with his father, who had fallen on the dark side.

Sequels Prequels

The original story and its continuation in the two sequels released in the 80s had limited computer graphics technology, which eventually became better in the 90s. The Director, George Lucas, then released three ‘prequels’ which had better technology and visual effects, though the story wasn’t in the same league.

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