Tuesday, July 17, 2007
There is quite a bit of talk at Shocklines today about reviewers that only give glowing reviews. It's a good point and it was suggested that only doing positive reviews invalidates a reviewer. That he or she isn't serving the critical process duly.
Yes, I'm guilty of it and I emulated the best. Back when I pored over every page of The Twilight Zone Magazine, I used to despise the reviews of Thomas M. Disch. I thought he was a repugnant, smarmy, detestable asshole who delighted in putting a book or author down. It seemed more like cruelty than criticism to me and I've never been able to read a word of Disch's own writing because of it.
Disch thankfully left the magazine and when Edward Bryant took over the book review pages, for me it was like a breath of fresh air. Bryant seemed to wish to point the interested reader toward the good stuff, and there was plenty of it to go around. I never detected a hateful sentiment in his valuable reviews. He seemed to go against the critical process and I loved him for it.
Rest assured, I don't consider myself to have a fraction of the talent that Bryant has. I only love his style and it has been an inspiration to me.
I've been accused of being full of shit, but I don't give a damn. That's fine and I probably am. But I do not wish to be accused of being a critic, which I most certainly am not. Nor would I wish to be one.
I know I'm not the best reviewer out there and I think I've abandoned more half-completed reviews than ones I've uploaded. Some, or more precisely, a lot of them just come across like shit to even me, so I can't imagine that anyone else would want to read them.
This is a big part of why I started this place up. I love books and movies and I like to talk about them. But I don't like deadlines or anything like that. I like being my own boss here and if I feel like getting a review or anything up, I do it. If I don't, I don't.
One thing I give you my absolute word about: I do not give a blanket good review to everything that passes my way. If I praise something, it's from the heart. Everyone might not agree and I might not put it in the most eloquent terms, but it's genuine.
Quite a few people have had some very kind things to say to me about the site and its content. For that I am humbly grateful. I do this out of pocket to share the things I love. I hope that a few will read or watch something that moved me and that they will feel the same things. Maybe help sell a few books or movies. That's it.