The New York Times Book Review devoted much of the January 2 issue to the topic Why Criticism Matters. Six writers, critics themselves, offer a deluge of quotations by Alfred Kazin and moments of rhetorical beauty, but they still beg the question: “to whom?” As in the September 7th Critical Failure event at the Wheeler Centre, here are professionals arguing for their own validity in a publication that relies on its readers to value their production. High-fives and fist-bumps to Stephen Burn for attempting to puzzle out the place of online reviews and crowd noise in the literary conversation, and to Leonardo Sonnoli for an elegant illustration.
WNYC’s On the Media, no doubt inspired by our discussion of video games and art, devoted an entire episode to video games with its usual wit, depth, and breadth. Jesse Schell’s discussion of how video game concepts could come to affect our lives wins the David Foster Wallace award for simultaneously inspiring horror and hope.
In a similar vein, artistic deserts demonstrate that the future is now. The end, however, may be nigh. Adam Gopnik reminds us of why it would be neat to be rich in the New Yorker, while this piece in the New York Times reminds me that there is a thin line between visionary and asshat.