Skip to main content
Report this ad

See also:

In Praise of Loquaciousness

I'd like to take a break from TV criticism to deal with an issue that I find important, and whose point was driven home by two separate events that happened within the past week--- one good, one... well you'll see
Frequent readers of this column will know how much I worship NBC's Parenthood, a show I consider the most underrated on television today. Which is why I was delighted to hear from NBC-Universal, about referencing one of my many, many words of praise on the series 'for consumer and trade purposes', surrounding the release of Season 5 on DVD (and I can only assume for Emmy submissions). At first, I was over the moon---- the people at NBC read my column! I'm not writing in a vacuum! Then I was a little depressed.
I've written literally thousands of words about the show ever since I started writing this column, and all that work is being reduced to a single sentence, even if it's a really good one? Couldn't you at least link it to some of my other work? And I felt a little nonplussed that my work was being reduced to a blurb.
Then earlier this week, I wrote a column on my disappointment with the current season of Glee, and how it's diminished in quality and ratings over the past year. I was delighted to get feedback on the column almost immediately. Again, I was initially overjoyed--- not working in a vacuum, yada yada yada. Then I read the feedback which was essentially two lines that said Glee's always sucked, it's characters are ripoffs, die Glee die.
How do I explain this... I began my career writing online essentially working on X-Files episode websites. And while I looked at those sites as an opportunity to expound at great lengths on one of the greatest series ever made, I was demoralized that so much--- more than half, I'd say--- of the postings on that website amounted to. 'this episode sucks! this series rules! MS shipper for life'. All of that space available for commentary, and everybody seemed determined to make their point as briefly as possible.
The posting I got reminded me of way too many I saw on those websites, the kinds I started my career in criticism to avoid. Blurbs like that not only make me wonder if the author ever actually saw an episode of the series, but if they even bothered to read the entire review., because my conclusion was kind of the opposite of the article I labored over.
It has always bothered me about the limitations we put on writing. When I started professionally writing columns, it took a tremendous amount of effort to reduce my article to under 500 words. This is, by the way, the main reason I loathe Twitter. It's bad enough that we have to reduce our thoughts on deep subject to a single sentence. Now the sentence doesn't even have to be grammatically correct. I never use one word when ten will express my point of view better.
The field that I work in, despite all evidence to the contrary, is an important one. It's not enough to explain whether or not something is good, you should be able to explain why it is. The late Roger Ebert gave the same amount of space he did to Transformers: Dark of the Moon that he did to The Artist--- all movies, good or bad, got the same number of words, and I'm eternally grateful that he did. If my words are given the same weight as some anonymous cretin with a cell phone, then it's my job to make my words better, and if that means writing more so be it.
So... if you like my work, post and tell me. If you appreciate my work, explain why. Your essay must be 250 words and is due tomorrow.

Report this ad