Letter to the badgers from a critic


Hello, Badgers.. if that is your real name.

Just writing in an emotional state before sleeping on it to calm down or something of the sort, after listening to the podcast “Fireside Chat 20: Merdumgiriz Works and #METALGATE” where Merdumgiriz spent quite a  while talking shit about critics. He seemed to hold quite a disdain for critics as a whole, going so far as to say that we have no skills, create nothing and only seek to become famous off of other people’s work.

I found this accusation quite ironic paired with his complaint that critics pull interpretations of the works out of their ass and pass it off as unquestionable truth, regardless of the opinions of even the art’s own creator. I’m sure I don’t have to point out the hypocrisy at work there. I’m sure he’s had some bad run ins with people hiding behind the title of critic to throw their accusations around under a veil of authority, but that’s the thing… to me, there are good critics, and bad critics.

Obviously I find myself to be a good critic, but I’m more interested in another person on the topic of critics. Who is perhaps the most famous person on earth right now to pull accusations out of their ass, slandering work and creators as being fueled by hate while hiding under the title of critic so as to get away with it all as if they have some kind of authority to make these claims as factual? Why Sarkeesian, of course. A critic who has time and time again failed their job as a critic, to the point where I feel they don’t deserve such a prestigious title as that bestowed upon those of us who contribute nothing to society but seek to become famous off if other people’s work.

The critic has two basic jobs. First and foremost, is to rate the quality of a piece of work. This is what should be objective, but tends to be the most subjective. Everyone has a different scale, some even skip this entirely feeling it superfluous. I can’t think of a single movie I’ve rated that hasn’t resulted in several people telling me I’m simply wrong for my opinion. Secondly, the purpose of the critic is to describe their interpretation of the work to the audience. This comes off like it would be the most subjective, but interestingly if done right one can get the most objective data from here.

For instance, while researching Independence Day I found David Ansen, a critic, complained about the special effects at work as the 1996 film didn’t use the CGI standards of the 1993 film Jurassic Park and instead used  miniatures, resulting in what he called visuals that were “no better than Star Wars.” Clearly, in that statement he expresses his subjective opinion that the decision was shit, but in explaining his position with objective facts to back up his point he expresses to the audience the objective truth that the special effects were achieved with miniatures and not CGI, a point that could sway fans of miniatures to see the movie despite David’s disdain for the technique.

Where Sarkeesian screws up as a critic, is that she doesn’t have the objective facts backing up her claims. Because games give the player a lot of control to do what they personally want, they can manipulate the footage a lot easier and lie to the audience. However, outside of those completely ignorant about video games (a quickly disappearing minority of the population) the lack of solid objective evidence to back up her statements renders all her slanderous accusations hollow and unimpressive. Would  that make her a bad critic, or not a critic at all? How do we define a critic?
Is everyone truly a critic, or does it entail certain qualifying attributes? Does her saying she’s a pop culture critic mean she necessarily is? I could say I’m the president of Rand McNally, but I doubt they’ll accept that when I go to file my taxes.

Finally.. I’d actually like to pop on the show to discuss Sarkeesian’s critic credentials a little more if you’ll have me. Misrepresenting the media you’re critiquing is one of the cardinal sins of critics, and I’d really like to get that off my chest. Toodaly-doo, badgerinos.

-Decker Shado, The Internet Personality with the Best Hair

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<span class="dsq-postid" data-dsqidentifier="154378 https://www.honeybadgerbrigade.com/?p=154378">7 comments</span>

  • Being critical of critics is hypocritical by default right? It’s easy to undermine your argument by saying everyone who is x is y. Logic like that exists in your imagination, but is seldom the realm of reality. A good critic is informative, bad criticism is generally just opinion. When I read a review of a phone, or any technology I am looking for the why? I understood the criticism of the Iphone when it came out, could not swap the battery, could not add additional memory. Lack functionality… So when I had 5 seconds with the phone, I could evaluate it on what it did have… it was cool, and what it did do it did well. So please feel free to criticise me any time, with the facts. 🙂

  • The only critics I’ve ever found to be worth a damn were 90% technical. Describe the quality of the art in the graphic novel, or the gameplay mechanics in a video game, or the shot direction in a movie, or the riff and lyrical depths in a music album. By far, most critics do not focus on these objective qualities. They focus on their subjective opinions, which are often useless. Easy to see why some people dislike critics.

    • I once read a “review” of Frank McCourt’s second book to the effect that the book was no good because the Frank McCourt portrayed in the book was not a person that reviewer would like. Pathetic.

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