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The Sad Circus by the Sea - RE: Essential Reading for Weekend Internet Critics
- - SAG Actor (Voice of GIR from Invader ZIM), creator of comics, writer of books, feeder of cats, Augmented Realist. - - Bio - - Twitter - - FaceBook - - Comics --
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Thu, Nov. 16th, 2006 07:29 pm
RE: Essential Reading for Weekend Internet Critics

New entry here: http://sadcircusbythesea.typepad.com/the_sad_circus_by_the_sea/2006/11/essential_readi.html

Crappy_edit_vroom


Following this Journalista link from here and then to here, I have this to say on the subject of critics and reviews:

Kevin Church's "handy Primer" is silly and illogical, especially when you compare point one — Your LiveJournal "friends list" does not necessarily reflect the taste of the general reading public — with the utterly conflicting point two Marketing yourself and your work includes your personal blog and website. Well, which it?

In fact all of these points expect point two — do not immediately assume they are a moron — I mostly disagree with. I don't think they're morons. I think they're often just full of themselves. Critics, take your lumps, just like we do. You cannot post a review to a blog with a comments section turned on or your e-mail made public without expecting to hear from the author if they disagree with you. Your review is not any more immune from recrimination than an author's books are. For the angry author, this probably falls under the heading "if I want to make an ass out of myself that's my business" but if we're at least respecting point two for the critic then the least the critic can do is the same when the author takes them on (politely). We also cannot control what our fans will say when they read your review. In some cases when the author links to your review they are inciting a riot, but if the author just blew a year of their life on a work, fatigued, bent in real starvation, and the reviewer spent an hour reviewing after getting free swag, then you as a critic should forgive this reaction. It's called human nature and professionalism is irrelevant (and usually just wishful thinking on the part of the would-be critic).

Being a critic makes you a target and you are only more welcome than the IRS because of the hope of a good review — but even a good review isn't as fun as a tax return. I respect the right of critics to write reviews, but I cannot respect the plea against recrimination when the author thinks they've been short-changed. A lot of comic critics on the internet are like web comics guys who make video game comics in order to receive a press status and get free Wii. They are doing it to fill their shelves with free swag in many cases.


So I think it is you the critics who should give us the authors and artists some slack and not the other way around, because you're the ones who have the most to profit from a review, not always the author. Creative artists have responded passionately to critics since the first bonfire actor boxed the ears and face of the first peanut gallery heckler. This didn't change with the invention of the printing press and it didn't change when ink and paper got upgraded to ones and zeroes.

I say all this without spite. I would add one of those little happy faces at the end of my paragraphs but they make me twitch.

With all that said, here's my review of Pixar's Cars. And don't nobody say nuthin' bad to me about my awesome opinion! Booohooohooooooo! (insert pandering wink-face here).

Cars, and Look into the Post Apocalyptic Nightmare


In the name of Darwin and all that is scientifically holy and good, what am I looking at here?!? Where are the people? Why are these cars talking to me and emoting whilst septic country-pop throttles my VERY SOUL? What kind of glaciers carve canyons into the shape of mufflers and pistons? Why do these metal denizens have the same hatred for progress and love for idealized Americana and WASPish 1950's nostalgia as modern animators do?

It's obvious isn't it? The machines have risen up once again in fiction but this time in the aftermath they have taken the strangest shape of all. Gone are the silver blobs of Terminator or the black metallic squids of The Matrix, or even the robot head-thingie of Hardware. Whatever hive-mind controls this post apocalyptic nightmare has not only wiped humanity from the map, but all biological life as well, and for some reason it has designated the anthropomorphised automobile as their form of choice.

Theirs is a classist, caste society too, built on the stereotypes of their long dead human masters and organised into distinctions of model and maker. Modelist? Makist? Racist will work in this analogy as well, since the cars think they are the sentient biological life-form on the planet. The Ferrari is a Tuscan or Roman car from Italy, but the VW Van is a white hippie who is befriended by Vietnam era army Jeep. These cars were born into their stereotypes by whatever manufacturer serves the invisible architect of this world — and the fact that there are references to “the 60’s” and that the Jeep is Vietnam era implies that the architect has spent its time designing the cars history completely after its human progenitors.

What does this mean for the Cars’ future if the architect has included a California with a Spanish history, or a Vietnam War, or a World War II? It means the architect has tried to mimic its human creators too closely and this society will eventually fall to the same Armageddon that destroyed the humans. Car scientists and Car computer theorists — probably electric cars — will eventually stumble upon building their own robots to do society's bidding and this will of course, just like the humans before them, bring the Cars to flopping face first into creating artificial intelligence — and they too shall die by the hand of their creations. What will this intelligence be to the Cars? Will it be organic? Pure energy?

Tires. Tires are the form their future destroyers will take, because tires are the cars' mode of transportation, just like cars used to be ours. And after the Tires? Rubber. Then molecules. Then quantum donkeys. Shut up. You know I'm right.

So! In conclusion, I sat rapt with terror through this, the greatest and most poetic of Pixar's cautionary tales since that fish movie fortold of a future pre apocalyptic nightmare where hideous 3D talking animals would one day replace hideous 2D talking animals.

Oh, and I liked some of the pretty colors.

-Rikki

Current Music: Quantum Donkey in My Brain. MY BRAIN!

33CommentReplyShare

always_dawn
always_dawn
• Adam • Tsuyo-sa •
Fri, Nov. 17th, 2006 03:57 am (UTC)

What with the flesh-less Terminator? XD


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shutterbox
shutterbox
Tavisha=^..^=
Fri, Nov. 17th, 2006 03:59 am (UTC)

^___________^ This is the internet 2006, and this is how it works~ Its pure freedom of choice and speech here. If you don't want to hear someone's opinion/comments on an opinion/comment you've made, then I suggest the simple solution; don't post it. This always boggles me how somehow we're not supposed to see or know about what is being said about us when someone has posted it on an open message board. The comic industry is too small and too insular for people not to talk. But, I rather do my artwork than talk. In my world, pictures speak louder than words. =P


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rikkisimons
rikkisimons
Rikki Simons
Fri, Nov. 17th, 2006 04:17 am (UTC)

I love when Tavi tells it in PINK!


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gilgrim
gilgrim
Fri, Nov. 17th, 2006 11:43 pm (UTC)

personally, I don't know what to do with critics... love 'em or hate 'em? And how do you tell the "real" ones form regular trolls? Seriously, but I have no idea about how to go about this - personally, I tried to mingle within their confines, and network in some spastic-Patrick Bateman-way, but I don't think it worked... and now, I just do my thing, and hope people who would enjoy it, get a chance to read it.

How do you tell the real ones from those seeking alterior motives - swag, ego stroking, their 15 min bought on their opinion of someone else's actual work, etc???

-gilgrim


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shutterbox
shutterbox
Tavisha=^..^=
Sat, Nov. 18th, 2006 12:19 am (UTC)

One thing you need to remember is just keeping it all in perspective~ that, whatever a critic has to say, that is ONE person's personal opinion. I don't create for critics, I create for myself and my fans. If the critic happens to become a fan, that's just a happy incidental. ^______^ But, I don't place as much weight on critics as I do creators. IMHO, everyone is and can be a critic for anything. To be a creator however, entails a great deal of talent and pressure to perform to an often demanding audience and its up to the creator to be entertaining~but, then it goes back to one's personal opinion whether or not you can be entertained. The entire thing is very subjective, so its obviously impossible to please everyone, which is why its best to please yourself first. Chances are, if you feel good about what you're doing, you'll have others who will too. I think what gets some people in a gripe is not respecting the fact how something they don't like *can* be liked by another group. For them it somehow becomes frustrating that others aren't agreeing with them or reacting in the way they'd want. I say there's room enough for everyone and opinions and just opinions after all. My personal gripe however, is when an opinion is trying to present itsself as a fact. >_______<***


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rikkisimons
rikkisimons
Rikki Simons
Sat, Nov. 18th, 2006 08:13 am (UTC)

I'm just trying to nip it in the bud before it builds to a crescendo between Internet critics, and they come to a convenient consensus (as they often do): that the idea that criticism is somehow immune to authorial complaint (angry or otherwise). That idea is ridiculous and untenable because the Internet makes us all even closer. Authors are not robots and our stories are passionate because AUTHORS are passionate, so why should critics expect a tempered response. I've seen all kinds of defence by critics, most of them silly, from immunity being an absolute right to criticism being a form of creativity itself (which would make criticism even more so open to critique if it truly is a creative outlet).

This is a new age of communication, and the old rules between author and critic no longer apply — though they were unwritten rules anyway and a courtesy on the part of the author, since the reviews they got were from standard sources, like magazines and newspapers, who actually did benefit the Author's work due to the respected status of their industry. There are few standard sources left, and those that remain are mutating rabidly to keep up with the overwhelmingly large but fractured Blogsphere. Because of this fracturing, there's no reason why any Internet critic can reasonably expect immunity from anger if the author feels the critic is owed a verbal beating.

It's been a long standing iconoclastic tick of mine: I'm just always angered by the very idea that anything, ANYTHING, the Bible, the Koran, politics, science, tradition, status, wealth, and indeed criticism itself could be beyond reproach. Even something as SOLID as history is subject to evidence.

So the message to internet critics is: post your reviews but post them wisely, and if you really want to avoid knowing what the author or his or her fans think of your review (or in some cases you) then don't provide an e-mail address or a comment section on your blog, and don't read the author's journals if you can't handle the a passionate response from someone whose very life is on the line through their work. You have nothing to complain about because your hobby (or your job) is exactly like dressing up as a pheasant and running out in front of Dick Cheny.


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rohantm
rohantm
John Scharmen
Sun, Nov. 19th, 2006 04:56 am (UTC)

I always weight criticism by two factors: respect for the critic, and volume of similar opinion. A peer's criticism is going to carry more weight with me. Likewise fifty occurrances of the same basic criticism.

It's generally been my opinion that professional critics are really useful to people who don't know anyone whose opinions they respect.

But while the first amendment protects (for now) one's right to say whatever one likes, it does not protect from the recriminations of what is said. To think one's own criticism should be immune to criticism in turn seems both naiive and hypocritical.


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shutterbox
shutterbox
Tavisha=^..^=
Sat, Nov. 18th, 2006 08:18 am (UTC)

Am I partly the cause of all this bloggin'? O_O One thing I DON'T miss is getting off the internet so I can do more work. I tend to miss all these Great Blog Discussions, but for me, I think it's a good thing.

No~ and WHAT "Great Blog Discussions"? No offense to all you bloggers out there, but I've yet to read one. There's nothing that wastes my creative time more than weeding through the trolls and reading about people talking about the obvious as if they've discovered a cure for cancer. I'm far more impressed by someone's efforts in their creative body of work than their personal opinion on something. Xp

^___________^ Also, I don't need a critic to help me shape my own opinions on something. I love what I do~ therefore, I don't care if they don't. And, if the world of critics relied on me to listen to them to go read a book or watch a movie based on their opinions, they'd be out of a purpose in life real quick. But, hey, critics have their place in the world, because like religion, there's always those who seem to need it.

XD Does anyone else find it hilariously ironic that apparently some critics can't take criticism on their own criticisms?


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rikkisimons
rikkisimons
Rikki Simons
Sat, Nov. 18th, 2006 08:26 am (UTC)

Well, I do end up reading quite a few blogs and news sites because I'm a writer who is stuck toning black and white comics all day. AsTavisha knows, I feel this is a dreary job that makes me want to die. That said, I think some blogs are very interesting, and some even have something worthwhile to say, but I'd still rather be writing than reading.


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always_dawn
always_dawn
• Adam • Tsuyo-sa •
Fri, Nov. 17th, 2006 04:00 am (UTC)

ACTUALLY, it's more of a Terminator/Cornelous (the guy from "the Cornelous and Bob" shortie that used to show on Oh Yeah! Cartoons [old school Nickelodeon]). o___o; Interesting find, though. XDD


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woxel1
woxel1
Jacob Strick
Fri, Nov. 17th, 2006 04:02 am (UTC)

Oh, so you read the Manohla Dargis' review of Cars too?
Incidentally, I just finished watching Terminator 2. Just now.


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rikkisimons
rikkisimons
Rikki Simons
Fri, Nov. 17th, 2006 04:10 am (UTC)

Nuh uh. Who is Manohla Dargis?


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woxel1
woxel1
Jacob Strick
Fri, Nov. 17th, 2006 04:15 am (UTC)

She did the review for the New York Times. An excerpt: "An animated fable about happy cars might have made sense before gas hit three bucks a gallon, but even an earlier sticker date couldn't shake the story's underlying creepiness, which comes down to the fact that there's nothing alive here: nada, zip. In this respect, the film can't help but bring to mind James Cameron's dystopic masterpiece, "The Terminator," which hinges on the violent war of the machine world on its human masters."

You know what they say about great minds thinking alike and all :)


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rikkisimons
rikkisimons
Rikki Simons
Fri, Nov. 17th, 2006 04:16 am (UTC)

Ha! That's great!


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kinkyturtle
kinkyturtle
A.R.M.
Sun, Feb. 4th, 2007 02:42 am (UTC)

I think Manohla Dargis is taking it more seriously than you are, though. Anyway, what she doesn't realize is that talking cars are already here! Remember Rusty & Dusty, the cars that own the Rust-eze company, played by Click & Clack, the Tappet Brothers, from NPR's Car Talk? That's what they look like in real life!


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davemerrill
davemerrill
Dave Merrill
Fri, Nov. 17th, 2006 04:09 am (UTC)

I would like to see Point Five used more often. I think Point Five should be gospel. No matter how brain-dead the critic is, the creator is doing nobody any good by engaging in a huffy flame war. Creator should say "thanks for your attention" and move on. There might be such a thing as bad publicity, but I haven't seen it yet.

I spent WAY too much time taking criticism of AWA personally, when what I should have been doing is saying "Sorry you didn't like it, hope we do better next time" - and movin' on to more important things. It took me years to do the movin' on and I wasted a lot of time arguing with people who had nothing better to do that whine about elevators and costume contests. There are people in this world that have nothing better to do than argue pointlessly with strangers on the internet, and unless you enjoy handing those people pieces of your life that you'll never get back, it's probably best to limit your involvement with them.

Actually I think Kevin has some good points. Those who can't handle criticism should probably avoid putting their work into the public arena. Opinions aren't just like assholes any more, they're like assholes that can be sent around the world to any address in seconds.

On the other hand, as a critic, actually hearing from someone whose work I've criticized is an eye-opening experience and one that's made me a more thoughtful critic, or at least one that's less likely to rely on cheap shots.


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rikkisimons
rikkisimons
Rikki Simons
Fri, Nov. 17th, 2006 04:14 am (UTC)

I do like watching a horrendous punch ups though. If both the critic and the author are being asses it's even more entertaining. But I never know who to root for because it's sometimes like watching retarded children slap each other.


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sexualcabinetry
sexualcabinetry
The Previous Grand Mufti (aka Max Brooks)
Fri, Nov. 17th, 2006 05:31 am (UTC)

A Bug's Life: There exist a group of individuals from outside of the established order who exist solely to steal from our hard work here in the colony. Also, they are brown.

Finding Nemo: A child (or talking clownfish) should never take the risk of differing from his parents (I think this is about abortion rights, probably), lest he find himself in an aquarium in Australia.

The Incredibles (aka The Ubermensches): Those who are superior (and white, and blonde) are often forced to dumb themselves down for the benefit of mundane society, when in reality is their solemn duty to procreate and save humanity from giant spiders plagiarized completely from SimCity 2000. Those who propose to eliminate elitism are immediately a threat, and probably voiced by Jason Lee.


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rikkisimons
rikkisimons
Rikki Simons
Fri, Nov. 17th, 2006 06:26 am (UTC)

and probably voiced by Jason Lee

Didn't he play Heat Mizer?


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sexualcabinetry
sexualcabinetry
The Previous Grand Mufti (aka Max Brooks)
Fri, Nov. 17th, 2006 06:48 am (UTC)

Nope, George S. Irving.


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rikkisimons
rikkisimons
Rikki Simons
Fri, Nov. 17th, 2006 06:54 am (UTC)

I'm sorry. What I meant to ask was, "Didn't Heat Miser play Syndrome?"


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sexualcabinetry
sexualcabinetry
The Previous Grand Mufti (aka Max Brooks)
Fri, Nov. 17th, 2006 07:09 am (UTC)

I thought it was one of those troll doll pencil toppers.


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finalglory
finalglory
finalglory
Fri, Nov. 17th, 2006 05:50 am (UTC)

At least you didn't have to sit through a double feature of Pirates II and Cars with someone who had no clue about personal space and laughed hysterically at ever little joke in Cars.


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babyasoftwaregr
babyasoftwaregr
Babya
Fri, Nov. 17th, 2006 09:27 am (UTC)

Very interesting review of Cars-in fact it's the best I read.


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stahlhelm
stahlhelm
.
Fri, Nov. 17th, 2006 06:06 pm (UTC)

You're a loose cannon, Simmons. A LOOSE CANNON.


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shutterbox
shutterbox
Tavisha=^..^=
Sat, Nov. 18th, 2006 12:25 am (UTC)
XD

:::points:::
OOoooooooooooo~ you called him Simmons XD


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stahlhelm
stahlhelm
.
Sat, Nov. 18th, 2006 09:23 pm (UTC)
Re: XD

Did I make a boo boo? :X


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rikkisimons
rikkisimons
Rikki Simons
Sun, Nov. 19th, 2006 12:23 am (UTC)
Re: XD

There's only one "m" in Simons. Now I steal your kneecaps like a cute lil' bone saw wielding goblin-bear! Yaaaay!


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stahlhelm
stahlhelm
.
Sun, Nov. 19th, 2006 12:29 am (UTC)
Re: XD

DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMN. Cold as ice!


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zoemoss
zoemoss
Zoë Moss
Sat, Nov. 18th, 2006 02:15 am (UTC)

IT'S TRUE IT'S ALLLLL TRUEEEE!!!!!


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gremrat
gremrat
Mon, Nov. 20th, 2006 04:07 am (UTC)
I'm not alone!


Thank god someone thought to speak up - that bothered me too! Why does no one notice the grimness of the situation? WHYYYYY??? *explodes*


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smoofy0277
smoofy0277
dobyfreak0277
Thu, Nov. 23rd, 2006 09:53 pm (UTC)

oh, won't life in the post apocalyptic nightmare be great? What with demon cars and hellfire, I can't wait!
thank you so much for distracting me from writing my college essays. ;)


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taco_girl
taco_girl
Kat Sams
Mon, Dec. 4th, 2006 10:33 pm (UTC)
Worst dream ever.

Speakign of cars, I had a realllyy bad nightmare on the day after thanksgiving, involving a demon-guy being phisically and painfully having limbs and such cut off/out and being replaced with car parts. it was very screamy.


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