... over book reviewing, this one from Richard Schickel: Not everybody's a critic. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
"Criticism — and its humble cousin, reviewing — is not a democratic activity. It is, or should be, an elite enterprise, ideally undertaken by individuals who bring something to the party beyond their hasty, instinctive opinions of a book (or any other cultural object). It is work that requires disciplined taste, historical and theoretical knowledge and a fairly deep sense of the author's (or filmmaker's or painter's) entire body of work, among other qualities."
Oh, my. Moreover, "D.J. Waldie, among the finest of our part-time scriveners, in effect said "fine." But remember, he added, blogging is a form of speech, not of writing.
I thought it was a wonderful point." I was always under the impression that writing, too, was a form of speech. To be half-decent reviewer, you have be a careful reader of what a text says, you have to be able to think clearly about said text, and write clearly what you think. Which is why, "Very often, in the best reviews, opinion is conveyed without a judgmental word being spoken, because the review's highest business is to initiate intelligent dialogue about the work in question, beginning a discussion that, in some cases, will persist down the years, even down the centuries."
Why one could not do that on a blog escapes me.