Springingtiger's Blog


Critical Miss

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Today I saw the new ‘Dad’s Army’ film. I was in two minds whether to go because much as I have always enjoyed Dad’s Army I listened to the reviewers on Film 2016 of whom the two men slated the film although Claudia Winkelman seemed to have enjoyed it. It was only when I saw the film for myself that I realised that the male reviewers had probably based their opinions on a couple of clips without watching the film, the film I saw was very different from the one they professed to having seen. I always think it’s best to ignore the critics abd make up my own mind.

Had I listened to the critics I probably would never have read the Harry Potter series of books. I admit that they may not be literary masterpieces, but they have good story lines and sympathetic characters. Literary masterpieces or not, they are a literary milestone in that they rekindled a love of reading in the video-game generation.

I think reviewers have two problems, the worst is wanting to be thought of as erudite arbiters of taste and the second is like all of us they tend to rate what they like more highly regardless of merit. I suspect that many of them are the kids who when we were at school dismissed the Beatles as mere pop whereas they liked serious musicians like Miles Davis or John Coltrane. I dislike a lot of modern music because it’s not to my taste, does that make it bad? No it just means I don’t like it, but some of what I do like will never occupy the critical high ground on whichever scale you measure it.

There is a lot of snobbery in the arts and pomposity among critics. Look at Jack Vettriano, loved by the people but despised by the art establishment…like Van Gogh and Gaugin before him. Me, I love Magritte, but I’m generally considered a bit odd. All I’m saying is that it’s too easy to express an opinion, less easy to justify it. Some turn their noses up at Romantic Fiction and dismiss it as lightweight, but do they ever read it? I don’t, but I know intelligent women who do and many are written by intelligent women like Eloisa James (the pen name of Mary Bly) a Professor of English and daughter of the poet Robert Bly and the writer and essayist Carol Bly. Julia Quinn (pen name of Julie Pottinger) is a Harvard Graduate. Stephanie Laurens has a PhD in Biochemistry. Georgette Heyer wrote books for Mills and Boon at one time, as well as romances she also wrote detective novels and some meticulously researched Historical novels two of which ‘The Conqueror’ and ‘The Infamous Army’ remain among my favourites.

At the end of the day the only person whose taste you have to enjoy is you. So you like Westerns and the music of Wham and you watch, big deal? How you choose to spend your time is up to you. How you choose to relax your brain at the end of the day is nobody else’s business. As long as you are not causing others harm read, watch, and listen to what lifts your spirits. However when people tell you ‘Deadpool’ is not suitable for children, trust me, they are so right!

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