Monday, October 28, 2013

Miscellaneous / Philosophers / Writing critically

1.  The weirdest philosophers:

I have absolutely no idea why such stuff interest me.  Or irks me.  (What is the difference?)  I should focus on important writers not these who have themselves lost in the maze.

2.  On the coffee table still sits the William Zinsser  "On Writing Well.  The classic guide to writing non-fiction".  It is very enjoyable and I love the examples he provides.  They illustrate his points and also some of the non-fiction of life.  Hopefully, it has ever so slightly improved the writing on this blog.  I have attempted to cut out superfluous and extraneous words and thoughts.

But I am only on page 195.  Here I want to quote him because he makes the same point that Chesterton made a few posts back:  a critic should be someone who loves the subject matter.  It also connects to the last post:  someone who hates everything and denounces everything quickly becomes a bore.


"Yet I suggest several conditions that apply to both good reviewing and good criticism.  One is that critics should like--or better still, love--the medium they are reviewing.  If you think movies are dumb, don't write about them.  The reader deserves a movie buff who will bring along a reservoir of knowledge, passion and prejudice.  It's not necessary for the critic to like every film;  criticism is only one person's opinion.  But he should go to every movie wanting to like it.  If he is more often disappointed than pleased, it's because the film has failed to live up to its best possibilities.  This is far different from the critic who prides himself on hating everything.  He becomes tiresome faster than you can say 'Kafkaesque.' "

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