Sunday, March 16, 2008

More Intelligent Life

The Economist's new(ish?) culture mag, More Intelligent Life, is giving us "the reviewers reviewed"—offering us a guide to the best book, film, music, dance and art critics (aka a Meta-Metacritic). They haven't linked these together very well, so here is
That seems to be it for now, but they may put up a section for television and hopefully one for food.

Since it is The Economist, it is quite transatlantic, but it is also very narrowly limited to New York and London. Not that this is a debilitating limitation (the good reviewers do tend to congregate in the metropoles), but one might hope they'd look a bit further afield and be a bit more diligent in their research.

Among book critics some they have left off unfairly are (I actually added a comment to this effect) Dan Chiasson and Adam Kirsch. I should have also thrown in James Longenbach, Sam Anderson, Daniel Mendelsohn and James Wolcott, not to mention the n+1 Fab Five (Marco Roth, Benjamin Kunkel, Mark Greif, Chad Harbach and Keith Gessen).

In film, I think they missed the boat on the writers of Reverse Shot and... well actually I dislike most film critics who write for major papers or magazines. Their tastes are fundamentally glib, with small variations—a meager passion for innovation, a shallow interest in the cultural valence of a film. Their opinions and, more destructively, their emotions seemed confined to what flies in a column-length expression.

UPDATE [3/18]: The Guardian comments on the lists and points me to this TONY survey from 2006.

No comments: