Ah, pretentiousness. Truly, it is the stock in trade of the professional critic. Either that or verbose cluelessness. I’m not sure which is more defining. Today’s example is the high-falutin’ stylings of Peter Schjeldahl. He cranked out almost 3,500 words on the artistic value of graphic novels as a signifier in the war of youth on old age. Or something. My eyes glazed over a little bit so I missed some parts.

All I can really think is some pretentious art fuck has just recently discovered graphic novels and now feels qualified to tell the rest of us what to think. Ultimately, that’s the problem of critics like Peter. It’s not enough to tell us whether something is worth our time to engage, be that reading or viewing or listening. He must also tell us why it’s wonderful and why we should care. We have to read incessant blather on the meaning of art or the growth of the medium or the fantabulousness of dramatic thaumaturgy as demonstrated by complicated visual design. Whatever, art boy. I‘ve got college degrees, too, and can spit out big words to describe small ideas with the best of them. I can also determine meaning for myself. Just tell me if you think it’s worth me spending my finite time on, not where it sits in the pantheon of western culture or how it shapes history.

Damn. No wonder I never read the New Yorker. Or most criticism, for that matter.


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