Friday, December 17, 2010

How to Lose the Respect of Colleagues and Alienate Readers, by Alastair Macaulay

In an article for the Huffington Post, Jennifer Edwards helps to explain why Alastair Macaulay's Nutcracker review--with the uncalled-for crack about two dancers' weight--was worse than just rude:
While Macaulay clearly knows his history, taking 13 paragraphs to extol the magnificence of Balanchine's vision and Tchaikovsky's musical genius, this Perez Hilton-esque comment degrades not only the work of the dancers, but the art of cultural criticism. Commentary of this nature does nothing to educate, inspire, or bring about innovation in the field. 
Edwards also cites critic Eva Yaa Asantewaa, who seems to have already given up on the Times as a source for intelligent, insightful dance coverage:
Since Times arts editors apparently condone or encourage snarky writing in its dance reviews--and since Times reviews, regrettably, are crucial to the careers of artists and survival of arts institutions--we will have to push on and create viable, respected alternatives. Most of all, we will have to teach young performers to respect their bodies, care for their health, and be happy in their dancing.
Now we're getting somewhere, to the heart of the matter. Macaulay's brand of childish, decadent criticism--by an insider for other jaded insiders--just doesn't cut it anymore (if it ever did).

(My initial reaction is here.)