From the hot take factory: Hot take on critical takes arguing critics should agree with the audience. No. When I started Entertainment Weekly I had to suffer that argument from Time Inc. editors who claimed critics not liking popular works were "wrong."🧵…
It is *not* the job of the critic to predict or align with popular opinion as revealed in best-seller & box-office charts. The critic is not the predictor of mass market success. That is the job of producers. 2/
The critic, I always said when I was one, is simply the person who has the privilege of seeing/reading/hearing something before the public does and offer's one person's thoughtful view of it as a service to the public. 3/
My mission for Entertainment Weekly was to help people decide how to spend their ever-more scarce time and money on ever more entertainment. 4/
I insisted the critics I hired like the medium they criticized. In other words, I didn't want someone who hated TV to do nothing but grouse about it as that would be no service to the audience. 5/
However, hiring a TV-loving critic meant that person would be more profoundly disappointed upon watching shit on the tube and would be more adamant. The critic, I said at EW, should have high expectations. 6/
Entertainment Weekly had a rough launch. That is a story I hope to tell soon. The execs at Time Inc. came down on us. One editor took the time to calculate the grade-point average of the grades (my conceit) they gave in the magazine. He decreed them too tough. 7/
When @OwenGleiberman gave a bad review to Pretty Woman, that editor waved the hit box-office receipts in my face and shouted that my movie critic was thus "wrong." That would be to say that EW would have done nothing but liked blockbusters. What use would that have been? 8/
In the Rosenberg's over-long newsletter that inspired this over-long tweet, he pulls out the mass-media trope that Twitter is small; it's not everyone. That so misreads what Twitter--and what critics--are: Just individual voices. 9/
When I became the first TV critic at People, my editor, @petertravers, told me he didn't care what my opinion was so long as I argued it well. Right. We give our readers the opportunity to judge our opinions so they can better make their decisions. 10/
Irony is that Rosenberg paints himself the populist, standing up for Harry Potter fans but then attacks the platform where popular voices can be heard, Twitter, because there aren't enough of them. This is such a mass-culture perspective. 11/
Bottom line: There is not right or wrong in criticism, there is only conversation. Rosenberg dismissing the critics does just what he accused the critics of doing. We all have opinions about culture; that is how it is built. The role of criticism is to spark that discussion. /fin

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More from @jeffjarvis

9 Jan
I've been thinking about @photomatt's response to @brian_armstrong's response to @moxie's excellent post about Web 3. Some responses in return. tl;dr: I think @photomatt + WordPress provide much of the model @moxie seeks in the end. 1/
First, let me say I don't give a rat's rump what is Web 1, 2,or 3. They are all hubristic labels based on the ego of the present tense. This is web .000002. As I say often, it's 1475 in Gutenberg (Johannes, not WordPress) years. 2/…
A key lesson I came to writing my book (still seeking publisher) on the (Johannes) Gutenberg Parenthesis is that it took a century and a half before groundbreaking innovation came *with* print: the newspaper, the modern novel, the essay (Montaigne), a market for printed plays. 3/
Read 19 tweets
7 Jan
Here is @pilhofer's excellent analysis of the @nytimes acquisition of @TheAthletic and its likely impact on local newspapers: not good news for them. I have a few more thoughts & questions. 1/…
It's becoming clear to me and I think others that The Times now values total subs as its key metric and so it is acquiring a bunch of new subscribers to get it impressively close to its audacious goal of 10 million paying subs. Mazel. 2/
Thus I'm guessing that The Times will add more subscription products alongside sports, food, & puzzles. Sports seems obvious but The Times is not a sports paper a la @NYDNSports. So it needed to acquire something. Here comes The Athletic, in need of a home. Kismet. /3
Read 17 tweets
5 Jan
Well, well. Djokovic hits a hiccup at the border. He should be turned away. Asshole.
Visa and exemption evidence concerns delay Novak Djokovic’s entry into Australia…
From Murdoch's Australian.
Good report from ABC Australia.…
Read 5 tweets
3 Jan
I've been fearing for Wired, as it seemed to take a dystopian, Guardianesque turn, making up for last snark about technology. But I'm heartened by @glichfield's manifesto concentrating on large problems & tech's role in them vs tech-as-solution-or-problem.…
I'm glad that @glichfield is also focusing on the role of people over machines. It is time to learn from the humanities in this discussion. That is why I am starting this course & program at my school.…
I want students to learn that they have the agency and responsibility to build the future of the net and society with it. Treating tech as *the* problem will at best get us incremental improvements, at worst more unintended consequences. Thus:…
Read 5 tweets
31 Dec 21
In this devastating review of "The Story Paradox," @TimothyDSnyder calls news deserts a crisis of American storytelling. This brings to mind my contention that journalists make the mistake of calling their work "stories" v. "articles." 1/…
My journalistic problem with stories is related to my complaint yesterday about coverage of science. To tell a "story" is to need an alpha, an omega, and a neat arc in between. But science--hell, life--is a process without the neat endings journalism desires. 2/
I trust @TimothyDSnyder's judgment and so it's too bad the book is not an adequate examination of the presumptions, seductions, and perils of the story. I'd welcome that discussion. See, for example, les affaires Stephen Glass & Claas Relotius: 3/…
Read 8 tweets
14 Dec 21
I think we might be seeing the last supernova of scale. Scale was required in the age of mass media but that age, my friends, is at its dusk. Every last newspaper trapped in the evil hedge-witch's cabin & pureplays all huddling against the cold are last-ditch efforts to be big.
Will mergers to scale make these companies better able to compete with Google, FB, et al? I think not. The platforms & the rollups will all fight over what is left of the attention-based ad market. That scrabble will go on for awhile.....
In the meantime, others try for scale outside of the ad market: Spotify trying to buy up all the podcasts; Substack trying to lure all the newsletter writers. Apart from some marketing advantage, I see no necessary role for scale in subscription products.....
Read 12 tweets

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