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Monday, September 24, 2007

Critical Assessment versus Just Entertainment

Quote of the day on my personalized Google page is:
"Only fools are positive" by - Moe Howard
Love it love it love it.... agrees with one of my new mantras -The power of Pessimism

Had an interesting discussion with a friend this past weekend, and once again I was surprised by the attitude - " I watch movies/read books just for the entertainment" I don't know why this surprises me. Personally, I have always analyzed what I am reading or viewing or hearing, ever since I was a child I was taught to question/reason/assess - to learn from each and every experience. Of course it is perfectly reasonable and understandable that some/many people just want to be entertained, and I admit that there are times when I actually enjoy mindless entertainment - mainly in front of the boob tube. In fact I know many many people who "just want to be entertained". Escapism is a reality!
None-the-less, for myself I still enjoy analyzing movies or plays or books with a critical eye so as to get the most from the experience.

A critic is - one who discerns, criticism is the act of judgement or informed interpretation. To quote Natalia Poncela, "criticism acts as a mediator between cultural products, principally between material culture and its viewers. Criticism interprets, transcribes, translates and verbalizes everything that is pre-verbal, perceptive, or symbolic, turning it into something pronounceable and meaningful." I think perhaps some people mistakenly think all criticism is hostile or putting a negative spin on something, but it's not! For me there is nothing wrong with viewing with a critical eye. For me criticism interprets and illuminates and opens the overall experience. It can be as small as saying "that was a great movie", or as deep as discussing the camera angles chosen by the director. For me the enjoyment comes with critical appraisal. To paraphrase Moe: "Only fools view without critique"

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