Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Emily's List

At The New Yorker, Emily Nussbaum takes down True Detective.  I have no doubt she's giving us her honest feelings, even though looking down at critical favorites is practically coin of the realm over there.  But it gets a bit odd halfway through:

I'm certain that, if you’re a fan of the series, this analysis irritates you. It’s no fun to be a killjoy, particularly when people are yelling “Best show ever”; it’s the kind of debate that tends to turn both sides into scolds, each accusing the other of being prudes or suckers.

What's the kind of show she does like?  Well, Girls, which follows True Detective, for one:

[...] because it’s television, it’s being built in front of us, absorbing and defying critiques along the way. It lingers and rankles and upsets. Like any groundbreaking TV, it shows the audience something new, then dares it to look away. Small wonder some viewers itch to give the show a sound spanking.

I see. So when the audience loves a show and she doesn't, she makes a preemptive strike--any disagreement will be shrill and distasteful, so it would simply be wrong to criticize Nussbaum for not getting it. But when she likes something, the show defies criticism--if you're upset by it that's the point, and Nussbaum can explain away any negative comments.

Emily, just let us know whether you like it or not.  Stop worrying so much about what others think.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I've figured out her aesthetic.

Beautiful women naked = bad

Non-beautiful women naked = good

12:18 AM, February 26, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, not to be unkind, but I think Emily has cause to be worried about what others think. I fear anonymous hit it. [Ed-word choice]

1:28 PM, February 26, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Umm based on the quotes, Emily does not seem to be guilty of what she is accused of here. She seems to be at best lightly chaffing the audience in both pieces and she calls her own position potentially shrill in the first one. "Explaining away" btw is what critics do

2:30 PM, February 26, 2014  
Blogger LAGuy said...

In the first review she's trying to parry the opposition before it even arrives. In the second, she's explaining why the show is good even though so many people seem to have trouble with it. I stand by my post.

Also, critics generally explain how they came by their opinion. Nussbuam is going far beyond that, striking out at any imagined audience that might disagree. Even if she were answering letters to the editor accusing her (correctly) of questionable taste, I'd say she's going too far, but attacking the opposition before they've even said anything is worse.

3:56 PM, February 26, 2014  
Blogger ColumbusGuy said...

I assume your model does not apply to the political system, for the obvious reason that it's a great method for the political system (on the practical assumption that it is solely about power at the expense of substance).

And then in that light, she's probably conceived of herself primarily within that system. So maybe she deserves an award. Would she take the Leg Lamp, or would it have to be a vagina?

3:21 AM, February 27, 2014  

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