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>Who needs critics?

>Film critic Mark Lawson’s Guardian piece about media producers shutting professional reviewers out is interesting to consider in light of the increased commercialization of children’s fiction, particularly this:

Professional solidarity aside, it’s easy to understand why publicists are looking at ways of bypassing conventional critics. For example, the considerable majority of those who regularly review films in Britain are, like me, white males over the age of 40 who tend to prize originality over repetition and realism above sentimentality. These demographics and values are completely the opposite of cinema’s main target audience: 15-24-year-olds seeking, in two senses, a big release on a Friday or Saturday night.

As a result, the cinematic commentariat tends to be far keener than potential ticket-buyers on small-scale, brainy pieces (such as, recently, the quirky drama Son of Rambow or the political documentary Taxi to the Dark Side), while rating many very profitable genres far lower than cinema-goers do: chick flicks, romcoms, horror, children’s films and any returning title that is followed by a number higher than 2. That attitude to sequels is typical of the fundamental philosophical difference between serious critics, who flinch at the idea that they know what they will get, and civilian audiences, who are often attracted by familiarity.

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.

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Comments

  1. >All the more reason why bloggers like myself must avoid becoming the Ain’t It Cool News of literary blogs at all costs.

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