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The critic speaks. The New York Times’ A.O. Scott on how to think about art, pleasure, beauty and truth.
Everybody’s a critic, they say. And it’s not usually meant as a compliment. But we need good, deep critics in the arts and beyond, says A.O. Scott, chief film critic for the New York Times. He’s taken his blowback from Samuel L. Jackson and more. But he’s standing up for the role of the professional critic, even in a time when anyone can be on Yelp. This hour On Point, A.O. Scott on the critic’s role – and we’ll hear a critic on last night’s Super bowl halftime show with Beyoncé and more.
-- Tom Ashbrook
A.O. Scott, chief film critic for the New York Times. Author of the new book, "Better Living Through Criticism: How To Think About Art, Pleasure, Beauty and Truth." Professor of film criticism at Wesleyan University. (@aoscott)
New York Times: Everybody’s a Critic. And That’s How It Should Be. — "I am a critic. A scold, a snob, a paid hack intent on punishing artists and spoiling the fun of the public. That, at least, is the role I’m sometimes called upon to play. And in that capacity I’d like to say: Forget about the Oscars."
Vulture: Samuel L. Jackson, Mad Max, and Susan Sontag: My Road Trip With A.O. Scott — " One of the effects of Scott’s art is that in his criticism, he comes across as the ultimate reasonable man. He’s not a hothead or an assassin. When his judgments veer negative, they do so with an air of disappointment rather than outrage or contempt. His praise songs have the light touch of tempered delight rather than zealotry or intoxication. Partisans who come to his writing have been frustrated by his moderation, but it’s a tone that fits well in the pages of the Times."
Slate: A Conversation With The New York Times’ A.O. Scott — "There are critics who see their job as to be on the side of the artist, or in a state of imaginative sympathy or alliance with the artist. I think it's important for a critic to be populist in the sense that we’re on the side of the public. I think one of the reasons is, frankly, capitalism."
Vulture: Beyoncé’s ‘Formation’: Young, Gifted, and Black — "There’s often talk of what it means to be 'unapologetically black,' and this video is the blueprint. Lyric by lyric, she celebrates blackness. Blue Ivy’s natural hair? Check. Hot sauce always on deck? Check. Recognizing the divine creation that is Red Lobster? Double check. Beyoncé is very black, lest you forget."
This program aired on February 8, 2016.