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Friday, November 18, 2011

IT'S THE PROCESS THAT'S CUNTY

I've shared my disdain for television bloggers in the past, but I thought I'd take a moment to explain in more detail the reason for my frustration.  

     To come clean, I didn't read any episodic reviews all season.  Then FX sent me a few links about episode 410.  I read them.  I got seduced by the praise and began reading more.  My personality is not inclined toward moderation, so I fucking binged.  Soon I was overwhelmed and reminded of why I stopped reading them in first place.  Hence, this blog post is more to remind me of why I need to detach.

As we know, most TV reviewers get paid or are sustained by the number of hits their site receives.  It's all about numbers.  Quantity, not quality.  So they review hundreds of episodes of television a week.  Literally.  They are forced to power through these hours and give quick, reactive reviews that vary from godlike praise to utter disdain.  Most are uneven, unthoughtful and completely miss the point.  Even smart people like Mo Ryan are cranking out quick, mediocre reviews that are way beneath what she is capable of as a journalist.  That's why I read Poniewozik and Goodman.  If they don't have time for a thoughtful review, they pass.  Now I realize the conditions of their jobs give them that luxury, but I guess that's my point.  The conditions are cunty. 

But the fault isn't with the reviewer, it's with the process. More, more, more, faster, faster, faster. Online journalism demands instant, catchy coverage. There is no time for in-depth, thought-provoking process. It's all flash, snark and a catchy headline. Alan Sepinwall and his uber-hokey, "A review of tonight's episode coming up as soon as I (insert contrived episodic joke at the expense of someone's performance)..." is testament to the fact that it's no longer about the art of critique, it's about being clever and memorable.  It's incredibly frustrating for the artists who do put the thought, time and care into their work to be judged by such an inept process.  

And I use this opportunity, when a majority of SOA reviews are good, to make the point -- so I don't look like a douchebag writer scorned.  It's a fucked up process.  The relationship between artist and critic is ancient.  They need each other.  But it only works if both parties are committed to the integrity of their jobs.  If not, it's just a bullshit cuntfest.


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