On What Makes A Great Critic?

Think critically: "I am crazy about Pauline Kael, just like everyone else is." Not everyone else is. I understand the appeal Kael has for people who are self-conscious about what herd to follow, especially those who want to belong to the cinema crowd but secretly just want to go to the movies. But she wasn't much of a critic.

She had fancy, compelling ways to write that she liked or disliked something, but that's the last thing a critic should be doing. Critics, properly, take things on their own terms, analyze their means and figure out if they do what they claim. A critic can dislike something and still say it's good, as they should. Kael was arbitrary and not very smart. Nor could she even fit the claim people make for her, or else she would have loved Clint Eastwood.

Posted on August 18, 2011 at 10:43 am 0