Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Pink Elephant in Brain

Last night I found myself comparing professional reviewers/critics against litbloggers - and the antagonism between the two. My mind was suddenly stretched for sustained rational thoughts - something it was never meant for. I will stop now. Headache!

But right now it's like someone stuffed a pink elephant in my head - and I can't stop thinking about it.

Recently in the Observer, Rachel Cooke wrote negatively about the standards of critique and writing she found amongst book blogs. The article, "Deliver us from these latter-day Pooters", earned some (well-deserved, I feel) outrage from litbloggers from all around.

Alan Bissett wrote a response, "In defence of the blogerati." He concludes his argument:

Cooke states that professional criticism is better, yet her case rests on internalised values which she presumes to be true: that professional criticism is better. What does "better" mean? Better for people like Cooke. It is only a valid argument that a critic "knows more" than the average person if you can qualify that knowledge as being intrinsically important. She cannot. For the majority of readers it just ain't an issue. Why else do we look to friends, not reviewers, for recommendations? Because art criticism is merely a conversation between critics, its first duty being to itself rather than the public, or even art. Art will get on just fine without critics, who seek only to protect their own status. That we must depend on "experts" to discuss fiction - made-up stories about made-up people - is deluded nonsense.

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