On Critics and Being Reviewed

1)   It is always nice to be reviewed – flattering that someone took the time to consider your work thoughtfully and seriously. And to write about it in a public forum.

2)   Reviewers often favor snark, or a clever turn of phrase, over heartfelt and justified criticism and I don’t know why. The only place for sarcasm or nastiness is when the work of art under consideration is manipulative, exclusively profit-oriented, or so hopelessly devoid of merit as to demand almost immediate scorn. 

3)   There is a special relationship between the reviewer, and the reviewee. The reviewer holds the power, for the most part, and can help form opinions about work that those reading the review have not yet encountered. But the reviewee knows his or her work infinitely better than the reviewer, and can see through poorly thought out, insubstantial criticism rather instantly. All but the most astute, articulate and penetrating of reviewers are absolutely naked, and utterly exposed before their reviewees.

4)   It is almost always harder to make art than to criticize it. Reviewers should never, but very often do, assume a position of superiority to the object of their scrutiny and its creator. 

5)   It strikes me that it would be innovative and engaging for a publication to allow an occasional rebuttal from a creator of art that has been negatively reviewed. Reviewers get to play god with relatively impunity; they should have to face the music themselves sometimes.

6)   I do value reviewers, and there is a place for good criticism.

7)   I remember the general tone of all my positive reviews, and just about every word of all my negative reviews.