Academic journal article et Cetera

Better Living through Criticism: How to Think about Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth

Academic journal article et Cetera

Better Living through Criticism: How to Think about Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth

Article excerpt

A. О. Scott. Better Living through Criticism: How to Think About Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth. New York, NY: Penguin, 2016.

At the beginning of this book, A. O. Scott asks himself "whaťs the point of criticism" and "what are critics good for?" His response: "These are big questions! The obvious questions. But they're not exactly the same question." True enough, and in the rest of the book, Scott goes into great detail explaining what critics do.

Scott, who along with Manohla Dargis serves as chief film critic for The New York Times, uses his own film criticism as a starting point but quickly expands outward to provide insights into other art-form criticism. He describes the arts as falling on a continuum, with music being the most abstract and criticism, which he argues is an art form, being the most representational. In between, going from abstract to concrete are dance, the plastic arts, poetry, narrative prose, and film.

Scott argues we are all critics because criticism informs our social interactions, private feelings, and how we view art. But as consumers of culture, we are lulled into "critical passivity" by the anti-intellectual bias of our society (Scott says anti-intellectualism is our civic religion, "we trivialize art, venerate bullshit"). …

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