Ooh, FishbowlNY reports that Slate‘s David Edelstein is hopping over to New York magazine to take over from Ken Tucker as film critic (Tucker’s headed back to Entertainment Weekly). So much for high-minded talk of wanting to "exploit this here newfangled Internet medium"; we guess everyone really wants to appear in print (glossy print being extra gravy) after all (and also, we’re sure the pay is better). And actual, it looks like Edelstein’s work will be at least partially online only. But what we really want to know is…who’s going take his place? Ahem.
At the LA Times, Time magazine’s Richard Schickel reviews formerly of New York John Simon‘s recently published collected film, music, and theater criticism, and if that seems a little too industry navel-gazing ("Through the Navel, and What Richard Found There"), we understand. But Schickel raises some interesting points about reviews and their enduring (or not) readability:
[R]eviews are not essays, those lengthy and leisurely reflections on careers or themes aimed at an audience that has some knowledge of the subject at hand. Reviews, however gracefully written, whatever grander fantasies their authors may entertain, are a form of consumer guidance, written in haste, against deadlines and to space. Worse, the reviewer is always the prisoner of what’s on offer at the moment in his field. I would say, based on bitter experience, that well over half the time, he’s obliged to conjure up an opinion about stuff on which he would not normally care to spare an idle thought, let alone a thousand or more words. Confronting these three volumes, which total about 2,000 pages, at least half of which are devoted to (gratefully) forgotten ephemera, the reader can perhaps be forgiven for occasionally nodding, skimming or skipping.
Unfortunately, he doesn’t stop there. Ah, no:
Everywhere, reviewers who at least aspire to making sober, thoughtful judgments are being marginalized, with the moronic burble of television critics and Internet bloggers becoming the dominant force in the field. These creatures bring neither historical knowledge nor subtlety of taste to their task, and they have created the imbecile context in which it becomes increasingly pleasurable to read Simon.
Ha! We would tell him to fuck off, but we’re concerned that we have neither the erudition nor the context to correctly use the phrase. Good lord, for the days when we’ll be old and cranky enough to write off vast swaths in a few generalized, insulting phrases.