Slick as snot on a glass doorknob, and as cool as the other side of the pillow.
– Roxtar

For your cultural dining pleasure…
– James Wolcott

Cool, hip, savvy, snobby, elitist, effetist, hoity toity art and culture blog I wish someone had told me about sooner.
– Lance Mannion

newcritics: web-based criticism in literature, music, film, theater and art from a diverse group of writers.

The short pitch:
This site is an online journal written by a talented and diverse group of authors. Newcritics is an outlet for them to write about – and discuss – cultural topics they may not focus on in their jobs or on their own blogs,and a way to engage with new audiences. Please note that newcritics is editorially independent. We never accept payment in exchange for editorial coverage.

The back story:
New Criticism was a movement among early 20th century writers and critics of English that argued a strict adherence to a series of absolute truths, the most important of which was that everything that can be known about a work of literature can be found in its published text. Almost a century later, technology and media distribution have changed the mean of the most important word in that description – “text.” These days, the text is never finished and it goes far beyond the written word. Further, criticism, once the province of a few well-educated, semi-cloistered academics, is now the work of the masses. Critics today must either wade into the crowd, or be left on a remote shore.

In this WordPress-powered “anomalous experiment” – TS Eliot’s description – we do not adopt the principles of close reading so favored by the New Critics of old. But there is one element of the namesake school that is the key to this group blog – ambiguity. Different critics see different books, films, television shows, music, poetry, performances in vastly different ways. Further, the best works about human life are far from absolute, even the most moralistic of tales. Here, many different voices explore iconoclastic reactions to media – and the rest of us react to those reactions. That’s the goal; we’ll see how it works out.

But let me tell you the background: I was at a dinner of political bloggers after the particularly vitriolic 2006 election season. I expected to spend some time discussing the big issues, the tough races, the political future.

Instead, we spent hours and hours talking about movies. And TV shows. And books. And music and theater and even some poetry. It was incredibly enjoyable to listen to, and to participate in. So the kernel was planted: why not continue that conversation?

So a group of active bloggers and commenters has come together to experiment here in that cultural group dynamic.

I have no idea where this will lead or whether this site will become a semi-permanent gathering spot, but I kind of hope so. And I invite you to take part in the conversation.


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