Saturday, 28 May 2016

Advice to Critics (After Burroughs)

People often ask me if I have any words of advice for young critics.
Well here are a few simple admonitions for young and old.
Never review from a position other than generosity and compassion.
Beware of artists who say they don't want star ratings.
The hell they don't.
What they mean is they want more stars. Much more.
If you're doing business with a theatre company,
Get it in writing.
Their word isn't worth shit.
Not with the good bottom line telling them how to fuck you on the deal.

Avoid fuck-ups theatre companies and magazines.
We all know the type.
Anything they have anything to do with,
No matter how good it sounds,
Turns into a disaster.
Do offer sympathy to the upset performer.
Tell them firmly:
I am not going to change my opinion.
But you are not a terminal boob.

Now some of you may encounter the Devil's Bargain,
If you get that far.
Any old review is worth reading,
At least to a someone bored on social media,
But not every review is worth reposting.
So you can take the offer as a compliment.
He tries the easy ones first.
You know like 'you're an artist,'
All the praise there is.
But who wants to be the best critic in a world full of reviewers?
Not much of an audience who'll read good critique, eh gramps?
Getting too clever to cut the mustard.

Well intellectual theory hits the hardest blows.
Especially below the belt.
How's a load of footnotes grab you?
Like three card monte, like pea under the shell,
Now you see it, now you don't.
Haven't you forgotten something, gramps?
In order to know something,
You've got to be there.
You have to be Foucault.
You're not Foucault.
You are are a writer on-line.
Old fool sold his integrity for a strap-on.

Well they always try the easiest ones first.
How about an honorable bargain?
You always wanted to be a doctor,
Well now's your chance.
Why don't you become a great critic
And benefit humanity?
What's wrong with that?
Just about everything.
Just about everything.
There are no honorable bargains
Involving exchange
Of qualitative merchandise
Like opinion
For quantitative merchandise
Like time and money.
So piss off Satan
And don't take me for dumber than I look.

An old junk pusher told me -
Watch whose money you pick up.

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