rockford illinois entertainment guide
Date: 04/07/2003
Musician's Corner: Three Parts Rancor, One Part Review...
by Tom Leu
Critics/reviewers. What do we make of them? These are the people who give their expert opinions on entertainment products like movies, books, music, and art for example. Some people hang on their every word, while others dismiss them as lepers. What’s your position? Why the extreme differences in opinion? I suppose it depends on who you are, and where you are in the world of music, art, and literature. There are guidelines (written and unwritten) that good critics, journalists, and reviewers follow. The decent and reputable ones respect these, the inexperienced “weekend reporters” out there usually do not.

With all the avenues available to budding writers through newspapers, magazines, and the Internet these days, it seems anyone can be a reviewer or critic. Sometimes it matters little what your background is or what relative experience you may have. If you have some semblance and understanding of the English language, then you too are qualified to write down and publish your opinions. Freedom of speech after all is the American way.

Now I’m not debating freedom of speech; I believe that it is good and necessary. It is exactly what I am doing right now. I am arguing however, the style and intention of reviewers who maliciously malign artists and make generalizations about their products with limited information. There is a difference between the words critique and criticize. Some reviewers fail to understand this difference. For example, reviewing a band’s CD and then making references and assumptions about the group’s live show is faulty reasoning. Musical artists in live settings and in the recording studio are two completely different things, and any music journalist worth their weight would know to never cross-compare these two areas.

To trash up and coming local or regional talent whether in music, art, film, or literature, is pointless and probably the symptom of another problem. Many critics or reviewers are often frustrated artists themselves. They are usually, not always, the ones who couldn’t make it in their chosen field of entertainment, so now they write about it vicariously through the efforts of others. Some have good intentions and some do not.

I believe in constructive, valid, and relevant reviews of any product or service. We, the public, value these opinions at times, and have the right to use them as a reference point to form our own opinions and make decisions. By all means, if you don’t care for something, then say so. But how we choose to express our opinions is equally as important as what our opinions are in the first place. Most consumers will be much more open to considering a review or critique that is done in the spirit of helping rather than hurting. Critics do have a responsibility to be respectful at least, and may choose not to review something if they dislike it that much. We’re talking about art and entertainment here, not child safety products.

Critics out there…speak your mind, give your opinions (good and bad), but just be intelligent enough to do it in a proactive and helpful manner. Your job is to communicate and translate your opinions, not to make blanket statements about the complete worth and relevance of a product. No one is qualified to do that.

And for you weekend reporters; you better make sure your writing skills are beyond reproach if you choose to systematically smear artists you know little about. Can a writer’s opinion be taken seriously if his or her actual writing skills cannot? Good question. Let’s start a new column that reviews the reviewers. Myself included. We’ll call it “Weekend Reviews by Public Critics #1 and #2 and #3 and…” you get the idea.

The Bottom Line: Don't take what people say or write down about you to heart. It's hard, very hard, but we must separate ourselves from the rancor. Jus because someone says something (good or bad) or writes it down, does not necessarily make it true. What is true is how we view ourselves from the inside out.
Post a Comment  |  (0) Comments
More Beet Stew Features
Weddings Should be Memorable, Not Expensive
Scooter the Planet! How riding a scooter makes $ense and reduces your carbon-footprint.
RCCA's Final Concert This Season: Angele Dubeau & La Pieta
Kortman Gallery at 22 - David Menard and Molly Carter Exhibit Mixed Media Works
Genesis in Dekalb? No, but Grand Parade is The Next Best Thing
10th Annual RAMI Benefit Rocks the Tebala This Saturday
Artist/Galleries Feature Directory
Attraction Feature Directory
Beet Lit Feature Directory
Beet Press Feature Directory
Beet Stew Feature Directory
CD Reviews Directory
Dining/Clubs Feature Directory
Kids/Family Feature Directory
Music Feature Directory
On the Beet Podcast Directory
Specialty Shops Feature Directory
Sunday Blues Podcast Directory

Rockford Area Music Industry

Rockford Area Arts Council

Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center
Wolfgang's Vault - Rare Police Memorabilia