The critic as the handmaiden of Google

by on July 17, 2007 at 6:07 am in The Arts | Permalink

What are critics good for anyway?

I look for one main piece of information from a review: is the name of the product or artist worth Googling?  Yes or no.  That is a binary decision.

Once I have the answer to that question I usually stop reading the review.

I look for one main piece of information from Google: is the product worth buying, on Amazon or elsewhere?

Once I have the answer to that question I usually stop pawing through Google.  That’s another binary decision.

Imagine that.  The critic as the handmaiden of Google, and Google as the handmaiden of Amazon.

To me, the most valuable critics are those who can be disposed of most quickly.  Is it any wonder that so many critics do not like the Internet and bloggers?

Sometimes I think it is enough to simply list how many of the book’s pages I bothered to read.

sammler July 17, 2007 at 6:23 am

Your approach is internally consistent, but it reflects your approach to life as a taster’s buffet, and the relatively low importance you place on, e.g., finishing the books you start. It is not necessarily indicative of a larger trend.

sammler July 17, 2007 at 7:21 am

Mr. Sailer: aren’t those features, not of film critics in general, but of politically-inclined film critics writing for political publications?

David Robinson July 17, 2007 at 10:47 am

Do you read the New York Review of Books, or similar review-as-a-platform-for-essay type venues? I do because I find they often provide a very time-efficient way to come up to speed on a cluster of related books, when I am unlikely to read the underlying books.

puzzer July 17, 2007 at 11:00 am

This wasn’t clear in my previous post: Rotten Tomatoes aggregates all the reviews for a single movies, classifies them as good or bad, and comes in with a freshness rating.

james July 17, 2007 at 11:54 am

“I look for one main piece of information from a review: is the name of the product or artist worth Googling? Yes or no. That is a binary decision.

Once I have the answer to that question I usually stop reading the review.”

Stick it to the man my libertarian brotha! Tyler, you know this is insane, right? Why waste your time looking at reviews at all when you can bypass those who might know something about the issue at hand and figure it all out by yourself on the internets…wisdom of the crowd and all that. Tell me again why I am going to graduate school in economics? Google is sooo much easier…

Gretchen Rubin July 17, 2007 at 2:05 pm

I would absolutely love to see your how-many-pages-I-actually-read-o-meter posted on your website. That one simple fact would convey so much information about your assessment. And for books you finished, you could note the number of days it took to finish the book.

sammler July 20, 2007 at 3:51 am

Jean: perhaps everyone already owns Doctor Faustus, and so has no need to purchase it.

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