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PRC Founder’s Talk (2)

I’ve spent some time in recent years pondering the word citizenship. This began when a good friend pressed me to define the public function of criticism more precisely. To my considerable surprise, I heard myself explain, “It’s the activity of responsible citizenship within a given community.” Though I’ve worked as a professional critic for close to thirty years, I hadn’t known I believed that. […]

Toward Knowledge-Based Criticism (4)

I don’t think you can “teach” wild knowledge, any more than you can teach voice and tone; the very notion seems oxymoronic. I don’t think I’ve ever taught anyone to be a critic, or to sound like themselves and no one else. At best, in my own writings and lectures, and teaching, I’ve modeled that, in an eccentric, one-off way. Because, in the last analysis, as the film critic P. Adams Sitney once said, “Criticism isn’t a profession, it’s a disposition of the soul at certain moments.” […]

Forumization and Its Malcontent (4)

This forum participant interrupted a cordial and collegial exchange among a number of more informed parties, jacked the thread, issued a string of the most bizarre pronouncements, adamantly maintained insupportable claims, sidestepped every polite invitation to provide evidence validating her extremist positions, flamed me — and neither the moderator (who’d asked me to participate in the first place) nor any of the forum participants took her task for any of that, or took her aside to correct her behavior, or responded at any length to even her most indefensible assertions. […]