Praise etc.

OGIC, whom I have the honor of having corrected, writes:

"As a reviewer, I find that the most difficult thing to resist is the impulse to be too nice and therefore, critically speaking, useless."

Sure. I see this on the TV front all the time. Because almost everything is shit, anything that shows some signs of intelligence and wit gets overpraised for the mere fact of not being thrown together in bad faith. Part of it is genuine critical response -- the response the thirsty have to water -- and part of it, I'm often convinced, is poltical. Raves can save shows, but a nuanced, engaged, but overall positive review won't.

And as a consumer of criticism I find myself enjoying praise more than the kind of slam we're all supposed to enjoy. Most of those slams connect about as well as a weekend hacker's overhead smash; besides, I feel these are urgent times, and a critic's passionate engagement in and love of a work can save it from drowning.

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