THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER
What is the Purpose of Criticism?
“In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talents, new creations. The new needs friends." – Anton Ego, “Ratatouille”
"Do not be critics, you people, I beg you. I was a critic, and I wish I could take it all back, because it came from a smelly and ignorant place in me and spoke with a voice that was all rage and envy. Do not dismiss a book until you have written one, and do not dismiss a movie until you have made one, and do not dismiss a person until you have met them. It is ... work to be open-minded and generous and understanding and forgiving and accepting, but Christ, this is what matters. What matters is saying yes." - Dave Eggers, novelist
“Amid all the easily loved darlings of Charlie Brown’s circle, obstreperous Lucy holds a special place in my heart. She fusses and fumes and she carps and complains. That’s because Lucy cares. And it’s the caring that counts.” - Judith Crist, film critic
What's the purpose of criticism? And how might it make us betters listeners? Better writers? Better aesthetes? We will explore the role and power of criticism, look at some common responses to the value of criticism, and discuss the importance of using criticism to sharpen our ideas and make thoughtful, necessary distinctions. Effectively, we will approach criticism as an act of discernment and caring. The positions taken by Anton Ego, Dave Eggers, and Judith Crist will set the stage for our conversation. We will read an example (or two) of stellar criticism, and write a short piece of criticism. And, certainly, we will discuss ways to respond (and, more importantly, not respond) to criticism.
Guest Garnette Cadogan is a writer living in New York City.