Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A comment is a terrible thing to waste

Following up from yesterday's post about Richard Schickel's anti-blog stance:

I have a fundamental disagreement with the notion that you need to have a certain level of exposure to the arts, in whatever form, to contribute a valid opinion. But one's reaction to a piece of art is always one's own. My belief is that criticism is a thorough and complete examination of a personal reaction. You don't need a bunch of classes and degrees and magazine articles and book titles to your credit to have a valid opinion about something that you experience -- you just have to be able to think about what you're seeing and to say what you feel. That has always been my contention. Anyone can get into the heavy stuff -- it just takes a little bit of effort, and, sadly, most people are not conditioned to think about the things they read/see/hear. (I guarantee you that if everyone in this country were to take a course in basic film editing techniques, they'd look at the nightly news a whole lot differently. But I digress.)

But what I think Schickel is reacting to, mostly, is the overwhelming glut of crappy writing out there. And it's true -- lots of blogs have a lot of shitty writing. Including mine. But if the Internet is now the public forum par excellence, then maybe us bloggers need to step up to the plate and take greater responsibility for the things that we dash off. If we're the future, let's earn that mantle. Be able to justify everything -- every factual error, every comma splice, everything. Without the peer-to-peer system that an editor brings to the table, most bloggers are pissing into the wind because they have no one to guide them. Let's think a bit further ahead and start learning how to guide ourselves. Look at a posting before you hit "Publish" and go, is this the best that I can do? Is it really? This ain't set in stone -- this is the Internet, after all -- but can I see myself in 10 years holding my head up and going, yeah, I stand by that?


Simon Crowe said...

Yes, what you wrote was too spot-on to waste in my comments section. I also think that the anti-blogging argument assumes that people seeking informed criticism about movies, books , whatever, will somehow be unable to distinguish between thoughtful writing (whatever the source) and the mass of what's out there.

Veronica said...

Excellent post. I agree with you.

But, I don't think your blog has any shitty writing.