Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Introduction - An indirect form of self-boasting.

This is a blog I've wanted to do for a while. I'm calling it a blog because, technically, that's what it is, though to me it will be no different from any other website. I don't have anything personal against blogs, other than my lack of interest in them (for the most part). The word "blog" does appear to have certain connotations in today's world of trigger words and delineative labels; I'll just clear up, for the sake of completion, that this particular blog will not be an expression of my person in the most literal sense i.e. I won't be telling you about my life. Of course, criticism in itself is considered an expression of personal beliefs...

This is where the quote in the title comes in. No, it's nothing profound. In fact, I simply searched up "criticism quotes" on Google, realized I was too lazy to specify "professional criticism", clicked the first hit, and found a quote that was short and could be used in the title. If you're interested, the full quote: "Criticism is an indirect form of self-boasting" and you can thank Emmet Fox for that little piece of wisdom.

However, while I did use the quote only because I needed a good hook, it presents an interesting argument. Assuming, for a second, that we apply the quote to relate to professional criticism (or, to make it simpler, professional reviewers), we're left to wonder: Why do we criticize? I'm sure the phrase "Everyone's a critic" is quite well know, but Fox seems to imply that it is born from a deep-set desire to express our own view of the world as we think it should be. This insinuates that every reviewer, from the guy working with your local newspaper to celebrities such as Roger Ebert, are all simply trying to cash in on whatever work they are reviewing by presenting their own version. I mean, that is what reviewers do, isn't it? Present what they think is the right way, which may involve either agreeing or disagreeing with the source material to varying degrees, effectively showing off their own creation to the world?

If this philosophical road trip is getting a bit tiresome, don't worry. This blog is not as high brow as this first introduction post is leading you to believe (two thirds of the blog is about comics and video games, after all). I simply thought that it would be proper to reflect on why I'm starting this blog, and why I choose to be a critic. Of course, that whole philosophical introspection was only part of it.

Why do I, of all people, take reviewing stuff seriously? I know everyone forms their own opinions about what they see and experience, and pretty much anyone can write reviews, assuming they're literate. I'm not going to be an elitist and pretend that I have better taste than the average individual, or that I'm somehow more versed in the mediums (admittedly, I may be more accomplished among my friends, being the only one that actually reads comic books and watches the occasional art film).

To me, this site was a result of two factors: writing and motivation. You need to be able to write well if your reviews are going to be taken seriously. I consider myself a decent writer, but that isn't the reason, in this case; I want to be a better writer, and while my ongoing fiction projects are still running full-steam, I wished to not limit myself and explore other mediums in which to practice my expertise. With this new blog, and hopefully with outside appraisal, I hope to learn new skills and become more accomplished.

Motivation is the other factor which led to the creation of this blog. I said earlier that anyone can be a critic, and I personally believe that everyone should learn to think for themselves and criticize what they see. I then narrowed the field down, suggesting that a penchant for writing is also necessary for consistently providing fresh, well-formed opinions. However, even with the proper skills, you'd have to have a reason for actually sitting down and continuously putting your words on paper (or, in this case, a computer screen). I've long been intent on reviewing and critiquing almost any medium that I encounter, and over the years that has given me enough motivation that, finally, I've made a decision to actually begin my hobby.

I also really like expressing my opinion and making sure other people hear my opinion, so that was another important factor in my choosing to start this review blog.

So, now that we have all the boring backstory out of the way, I think I can begin this site proper. Before I begin putting up some actual reviews, I'll make a few posts going over my review method and format, and maybe also a heads up to what I plan on reviewing (these 'timetable' posts will probably crop up every week or so).

To end, I would just like to say, good luck (to myself), and thank you (to the readers) for taking the time to read over my work. As always, your constructive criticism helps me on my road to become an accomplished writer, so, please...don't be shy!

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