Free read ¹ Better Living Through Criticism

10 thoughts on “Better Living Through Criticism

  1. says:

    I read this for some hours until I toppled sideways slowly and crumpled to the floor where they found me still breathing but only just I write this from a private room tubes going into various parts They say I will make a full recovery They say it was a good thing I didn’t make it past page 215 There’s a woman in the next room been there for three weeks now she read the whole thing She hasn't said a word yet Her family say they will be consulting their lawyers But I don’t think A O Scott can be prosecuted He meant well And what would the charge be? For me it would be severe frustration His book asks a series of really great uestions How do we know something is good?What’s the best way to be wrong?Who needs critics nowadays anyhow? Hasn’t the Tomatometer taken over?Is art drowning in itself?And others too He then smothers and crushes the life out of these interesting things by sucking all the oxygen from every dry paragraph Here is an example But even as we drift into a state of antiscientific mock scepticism we also worship idols of vulgar pseudoscientific empiricism The opiate of the half enlightened masses in the digital era is information data “the math” – impersonal unarguable but nonetheless mysterious numbers that promise to turn our messiest and most intractable problems into sudoku puzzles The burgeoning industries of TED talk idea flogging pop science publishing and slick “explanatory” journalism offers the steady seduction of cool counterintuitive insights and frictionless solutions And blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blahThere was a moment when this brainy white noise suddenly focussed and sharpened and the book came alive this was when he started discussing the specific examples of the movies Bringing Up Baby and The Searchers and how critics had dissed them to begin with and how their reps had risen – I was interested in that – but it didn’t last long and the generalities the high minded abstractions the yellow clouds of poison gas cultural rambling and fumbling and concaternating blathered me into my life threatening coma I may join in a class action suit with the woman in the next room We won’t be the only victimsThis guy got to page 109

  2. says:

    Reading Better Living Through Criticism gave me exactly the same cramped and unpleasant feeling that I got from reading Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion I wanted serious inuiry and instead felt pummeled and bullied into a corner by poorly argued dogmaAt times Scott begins his argument about the uses of criticism with a false axiomatic principle usually a belief that I don't ascribe to but that Scott says I do everyone knows that critics are failed artists and let me tell you why you're wrong to think so And sometimes he does the opposite taking his own beliefs as universally accepted because he thinks they're true and not even bothering to tell me why I should also believe the same way So I as a reader end up feeling pushed around not convinced I also resented the folksyapologetic tone Scott adopts As I read I kept thinking if you want me to think about your ideas seriously then you need to take your ideas seriously yourself A critic who tries to sound dumb and average not only demeans himself but also demeans me as a reader The decision to write this book as a faux Socratic dialogue also failed for me because the uestions asked in the dialogue are somewhat dopy and disingenuous They reminded me of the uestions you might find in a marketing brochure that are there to lead customers to buy your product and reject competing products Hence the dreaded 2 star review from me 2 stars being my least favorite read there is not enough meaty argument here even to hate this book to a one star level; there is just enough to bore and to annoy

  3. says:

    I am predisposed to like any book that references Teju Cole's Open City Philip Larkin All About Eve and the snark vs smarm debate with intelligence and insight but the delight of this book is that Scott takes both his voice and argument to places that I didn't expect Even while retreading a gleefulness animates his prose and rhetoric and makes his general enterprise feel novelI laughed out loud dozens of times sometimes out of surprise the self interviews are hilarious sometimes out of recognition I gained new perspectives on things that I thought I'd covered in full several times over form vs content for instance Scott's passionate digressions on Marina Abramovic's The Artist is Present and Rilke's Archaic Torso of Apollo were especially charming and could with light editing stand alone as art and poetry reviews in The New York Review of BooksScott early on grounds the discussion in classical aesthetics philosophy as well as Kant's work on aesthetics bringing up the tension between the objective judgments and subjective feelings that make up our responses to art This had me thinking about how similar art is in this way to love and sex long before Scott tackles this connection himself In addition to reporting the theory that many people who went to see The Artist is Present fell in love with Abramovic Scott teases out a beguiling and ironic interpretation from my least favorite Larkin poem Talking in Bed Scott believes that the narrator of Talking in Bed finds it difficult to make pillow talk because he is suppressing his natural critical response to what he has just experienced Art is not sex carried out by other means but it seems to be subject to similar anxieties and taboosThe origin of criticism lies in an innocent heartfelt kind of uestion one that is far from simple and that carries enormous risk Did you feel that? Was it good for you? Tell the truth I think the book doesn't uite fit the title and I'd be very surprised if the title did not come before the manuscript Better Living Through Criticism is less instructive and evangelizing in its wisdoms than the title would suggest In fact it is often inuisitively self erasing Finally the book might have carried emotional punch if I self identified as a critic I am instead the happy amateur a path that among other things keeps me off of Twitter where this book was apparently bornSamuel Jackson we know you can't take it but can you dish it out? Better living awaits you if you do

  4. says:

    So much of this book has resonated with me of which I have highlighted so much This is one I want to purchase and own for reference as I’m sure I will return to it often

  5. says:

    Better Living Through Criticism and a Strawberry Enema NYTs AO Scott is the worst writer and most unbearable film critic suirting his juvenile thoughts on the market today The ultimate in bs and boring pretention Sniff his title Why not Better Homes Gardens ? In sum he is unreadable

  6. says:

    AO Scott is kind of a big deal He's a film critic for the New York Times and has been at it long enough to be a recognizable name in the business And so I assumed something along the lines of Stephen King's On Writing a practical guide of sorts framed by personal anecdotes and a lifetime of experience Instead it feels like a Philosophy of Criticism 101 class Freed from the shackles of having to review Tyler Perry's latest or yet another Jurassic movie he throws on the smoking jacket and settles in to mine the likes of Rilke Shaw Kant Sontag and Baudelaire to ask the uestion is criticism necessary? And the answer for this and almost every other uestion posed in the book is yes and no It's not looking for answers but instead content to excavate past philosophies And here it veers back and forth from being incredibly smart and erudite to sounding like the worst dinner guest imaginable rambling in self important obliviousness I'm no philosophy buff so it was exciting to listen to Scott drop some knowledge pulled from history's great thinkers and consider the philosophy of art and criticism He's my kind of wordy and it's just approachable enough that I could follow along but tends to overstay its welcome If nothing else I suppose he did just manage to write a mandatory textbook for the Film Studies Class he currently teaches

  7. says:

    nature of the critic is to unpack the underpinnings of artistic endeavor Love them or hate them critics perform a vital service in the creative continuum deconstructing moviesalbumsbooksplays down to their reuisite pieces and casting the bones in an effort to call forth larger cultural themes and ideasSome choose to do this by way of unrelenting pessimism focusing on the negative aspects of a piece of work in order to exert a kind of creative enforcement Others choose to shine a light on the positive juxtaposing the good against the outline of the shadow being castEither way AO Scott makes clear the inherent value of criticism in his new book “Better Living Through Criticism How to Think About Art Pleasure Beauty and Truth” Scott longtime film critic for The New York Times offers up his thoughts about the nature and necessity of criticism and the vital role it plays in shaping the cultural landscapeIt should be noted that the inspiration for this book seems to have been a brief Twitter beef with actor Samuel L Jackson who didn’t care for Scott’s reception of “The Avengers” and implied that the critic should perhaps seek out a new line of workIn many ways “Better Living Through Criticism” comes off as a defense of the job While Scott himself is a professional critic – a gig that is gradually being supplanted by the ever growing hive mind of the Internet – the book is about AO Scott’s ideas yes but it is also a celebration of all manner of criticism Scott isn’t necessarily a fan of the blogosphere or online aggregation but he also recognizes that the art of critical writing must evolve to better fit the online age in which we liveAs you might expect there are than a few highbrow references peppering the proceedings – Immanuel Kant Rainer Maria Rilke and Susan Sontag feature prominently – but Scott doesn’t restrict himself to elitist expression; he gives a lot of love to movies like Howard Hawks’s screwball masterpiece “Bringing Up Baby” and Pixar’s delightful “Ratatouille” He’s someone who sees value in work up and down the creative cultural spectrum Through it all his constant touchstone is the partnership he perceives between artist and criticA noteworthy device that Scott uses throughout is a sort of imaginary dialogue with himself Four times he interrupts the proceedings with a uestion and answer session in which he is both interviewer and interviewee continuing the almost tradition of the self interview Scott cites David Foster Wallace’s “Brief Interviews With Hideous Men” as his inspiration but it vibes old fashioned like the one man As that gained prominence in the ’50s and ’60s Its presence is a touch baffling but it does help introduce of Scott’s own identity into the proceedings something that is somewhat lacking in the rest of the bookScott’s many ideas about the value of criticism basically boil down to the notion that it is a key component to the creative process Generally art is intended to evoke some sort of reaction from an audience; criticism serves as an “official” take if you will uantifying the impact made by an artistic workIt warrants mentioning that Scott’s choices regarding depth of exploration vary from concept to concept; sometimes he spends time with an idea than might seem necessary while other times he skims the surface of a thought that could have merited a layered take However even the lightest touch offers a truthful and measured perspectiveThere’s something wonderfully meta about reviewing a book about the value of reviewing “Better Living Through Criticism” offers some broad and engaging insights into the art and craft of creative commentary However you might view the merits of criticism there’s no denying that this book is engaging well wrought and thought provoking

  8. says:

    Here I am writing a critical review about a book about criticism And someone could if so inclined and so bored write a critical review about my critical review about a book about criticism This Sisyphean effort to find the final word on any piece of human ingenuity or creativity is why Scott writes this book in the first place criticism he argues is the second born twin of our inherent human condition entering the world mere minutes after the first born of the creative act It is both art and not art Critical analysis is as fallible as any other human endeavor of course but it provides a deeper look into and understanding of not only art but the uality of our lives as well Good criticism is even important in the information age as a helpmate in parsing of the wheat from the glut of informational or artistically produced chaff I enjoyed this book and the celebration of the act of criticism even if it didn't contain anything particularly enlightening The title promises a bit than Scott delivers Happily Scott doesn't shy away from admitting paradoxes nor does he try to manufacture solutions to ultimately unanswerable uestions He emphasizes and even celebrates the dichotomy between a critic's entrenchment in the subjectivity of artistic enjoyment passions and the objectivity of analysis reason as well as the critic's delicate balancing act of individual and universal values The Socratic somewhat schizophrenic passages bring to life the self doubt and uncertainty that Scott claims plagues any good critic the fact that a critic may have of a mind divided or mind complicated on a piece of art than we would suspect from their writings Writing good criticism is one of the most basic and yet difficult intellectual activities we can engage in and Scott provides a nice case for why we should embrace it in our own lives

  9. says:

    This book of philosophical essays by New York Times movie critic AO Scott was hugely disappointing and not even worth a full write up at my main arts center's blog For while I'm a big fan of Scott's insightful essays for the newspaper and was hoping that in this book he was going to go into detail about how he goes about the business of actually writing them it's instead one of those books where he traipses across the entire human history of critical thought and then says Look at this famous project from the past Doesn't it ask some interesting uestions? Now look at this famous project from the past Doesn't it ask some interesting uestions? That's true they do indeed ask interesting uestions; but in the meanwhile Scott barely shares even one opinion of his own about the craft and art of being a good critic turning this into a survey about the history of people being critical and sort of proving that he has nothing of original interest to actually say about it Based on the book's title and Scott's populist history I thought this was going to be of a practical guide on how to be a better critic of the arts yourself but it's certainly not that so stay far away if you were expecting something similar yourself

  10. says:

    Really a 25 A survey of the philosophy of criticism But I was left cold deciphering what he thinks about his profession Criticism is thinking? Criticism is art? Is it? Yes? No? So many???? So abstract To be fair I don't mind abstraction but I felt the argument ironically enough was weak Hedge duck etc

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Better Living Through Criticism

Review à PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB Ò A.O. Scott

Mistakes and find flaws where they shouldn't criticism as a discipline is one of the noblest most creative and urgent activities of modern existenceUsing his own film criticism as a starting point everything from his infamous dismissal of the international blockbuster The Avengers to his intense affection for Pixar's animated Ratatouille Scott expands outward easily guiding readers through the complexities of Rilke and Shelley the origins of. AO Scott is kind o

Download Better Living Through Criticism

The New York Times film critic shows why we need criticism now than everFew could explain let alone seek out a career in criticism Yet what AO Scott shows in Better Living Through Criticism is that we are in fact all critics because critical thinking informs almost every aspect of artistic creation of civil action of interpersonal life With penetrating insight and warm humor Scott shows that while individual critics himself included can make. Reading Better Liv

Review à PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB Ò A.O. Scott

Chuck Berry and the Rolling Stones the power of Marina Abramovich and 'Ode on a Grecian Urn' Drawing on the long tradition of criticism from Aristotle to Susan Sontag Scott shows that real criticism was and always will be the breath of fresh air that allows true creativity to thrive The time for criticism is always now Scott explains because the imperative to think clearly to insist on the necessary balance of reason and passion never goes aw. nature of the crit

  • Hardcover
  • 288
  • Better Living Through Criticism
  • A.O. Scott
  • English
  • 15 October 2018
  • 9781594204838

About the Author: A.O. Scott

A O Scott joined The New York Times as a film critic in January 2000 Previously Mr Scott was a Sunday book reviewer for Newsday and a freuent contributor to Slate The New York Review of Books and many other publications He has served on the editorial staffs of Lingua Franca and The New York Review of Books In addition to his film reviewing duties Mr Scott often writes for the Times Mag