What’s the Function of Criticism? Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast #36 with Critic Noah Berlatsky

Do we need pro­fes­sion­al crit­ics reg­u­lat­ing our enter­tain­ment intake?  Noah has writ­ten for numer­ous pub­li­ca­tions includ­ing The Wash­ing­ton Post, The Atlantic, NBC News, The Guardian, Slate, and Vox, and his work has come up for dis­cus­sion in mul­ti­ple past Pret­ty Much Pop episodes.

He was invit­ed to join hosts Mark Lin­sen­may­er, Eri­ca Spyres, and Bri­an Hirt in spelling out the func­tions of crit­i­cism, the idea of crit­i­cism as art, ide­o­log­i­cal vs. aes­thet­ic cri­tique, and whether there’s any­thing wrong with being neg­a­tive about oth­er peo­ple’s art. While we talk most­ly about film, Noah also writes about TV, comics, music and more.

First, read some arti­cles by Noah about crit­i­cism:

Oth­er authors speak­ing on the util­i­ty of crit­ics:

Here are some exam­ples of Noah’s crit­i­cal work rel­e­vant to what came up in the inter­view and our recent episodes:

Includ­ed here with Noah’s per­mis­sion, here’s some crit­i­cism direct­ed at Noah:

At the end, after Noah leaves, Mark lays out a tax­on­o­my of crit­i­cism: sup­port­er, decoder, taste enforcer, and hater. Noah prac­tices all of these! Fol­low him on Twit­ter @nberlat and get scads of his writ­ing by sup­port­ing him at patreon.com/noahberlatsky.

Watch Mel Brooks’ depic­tion of the very first crit­ic.

This episode includes bonus dis­cus­sion that you can only hear by sup­port­ing the pod­cast at patreon.com/prettymuchpop. This pod­cast is part of the Par­tial­ly Exam­ined Life pod­cast net­work.

Pret­ty Much Pop: A Cul­ture Pod­cast is the first pod­cast curat­ed by Open Cul­ture. Browse all Pret­ty Much Pop posts or start with the first episode.

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.