Friday, March 30, 2007

Why Nobody Listens to Critics

The more I write reviews and the more I read them, the more attuned I am to the selective presentation of press clippings and quotes. I understand that a lot of reviews tend to be mixed, and the publicist obviously has a need to protect his client from the snarky asides, but when you're reduced to quoting one word ("Great") or when you're deliberately misrepresenting the original content . . . at what point do we stand up, wave our arms around, and shudder? Now more than ever, I'm convinced we need some sort of aggregate theater system that eliminates (or at least provides a second opinion to) the fictitious quote-mongering out there.

Here's an example:

PRESS: "An indestructible global blockbuster! It will probably run forever!"

NEW YORK TIMES (Jason Zinoman):
“Be,” the latest low-budget spectacle trying to tap into the seemingly inexhaustible tourist market for banging on trash cans in unison, seems like a collection of loose parts stitched together to create an indestructible global blockbuster. Produced by the Israeli company Mayumana, it starts with elements of “Stomp” (like drumming on one’s chest), throws in some from “Blue Man Group” (giant tubes) and then adds sex appeal. It will probably run forever. (I just hope I’m not quoted on the front of the theater.)
Let's be honest: with the latter quote, Zinoman was begging for it. But the first part? Dishonest exclamations. Mind you, I enjoyed the show. I wasn't blown away by it, but I wouldn't advocate against it (like Isherwood against Rapp). This is why people should just go to the theater more regularly, to be surprised: then all this nonsensical buzz wouldn't matter.

At the 032607 blogging panel, one of the questions that was raised was in reference to the quid pro quo symbiosis of the critic and publicist. I ask that question again, as critics routinely allow themselves to be misrepresented: can anything be done to stop such indebtedness?

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