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Critics bashing critics


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#31 Calliope

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Posted 10 October 2002 - 09:20 AM

My gripe was that the Times isn't the only paper to have printed similar pieces. The Observer had a far more controversial one (granted, that may have been an axe to grind) Why not refute the points though? Is Barnes writing the piece more for his peers or for the readers?
Homans is someone who is obviously younger (and perhaps biting off more than she can chew in one piece) but she's the voice of a younger generation. One that didn't grow up seeing what the company was and what it is now.
The way NYCB was "glorified" in so many ways early on, makes it ripe for criticism.
And as Kevin pointed out Kisselgoff writes reviews, not really much in terms of commentary.
Thanks Alexandra for the commentary, I was hoping you'd chime in.

#32 Calliope

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Posted 13 October 2002 - 01:17 PM

I too wondered abou the timing of the article. Being cynical ;) , I'd guess it was that it coincides with NYCB's winter season opening in November.
As someone of the younger generation, who reads the Times for the News and the Post for what's really going on, there are a lot of people who don't know Barnes' history and just look at the piece as someone who's "unprofessional" (given that he writes for the Post).

#33 Calliope

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Posted 14 October 2002 - 01:50 AM

Well, laugh all you want, but for all the Post's "gossip" they're pretty on target with some of their business gossip. They've "announced" layoffs and CEO departures before they've been announced.
:P

#34 Calliope

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Posted 17 October 2002 - 10:29 AM

If I were Homans, if nothing else, at least I know that I got under someone's skin, which was part of the point of her article. And Barnes' critique probably drew more attention to the article itself.

#35 LMCtech

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Posted 10 October 2002 - 10:53 AM

But on the other hand....

Who better to criticze a critic than one of her colleagues i.e. another critic. I didn't really like either of the pieces because I felt them both to be blatant speculation without any real cold hard fact backing them up. But I guess it is the critics job to put forth their opinion without necessarily any factual back-up.

Obviously Barnes was very affected by Homans' piece to spend his monthly column on it, and that in itself is very interesting.

#36 LMCtech

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Posted 17 October 2002 - 09:46 AM

I fina;;y read it yesterday too. I didn't think it was that bad really. He brings up the point of having all your ducks in a row before you very decidedly state an opinion which I think ALL critics (including Mr. Barnes) should strive harder to do. I wonder how Ms. Homans feels about it?

#37 LMCtech

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Posted 18 October 2002 - 02:48 PM

True, probably not one of it's intended purposes. However, both pieces spurred discussion which makes the BOTH successful in a way.

#38 LMCtech

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Posted 25 October 2002 - 03:07 PM

I actually thought his pokes at the New York Times were the most interesting part of that article. In a way I agree with him, that a well respected news organization should be more careful who they allow to spout in their paper. On the other hand, it was interesting journalism to print a dissenting view, whther their was anything to back it up or not.

#39 BW

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Posted 12 October 2002 - 08:38 AM

I was really quite surprised to read Clive Barnes' piece yesterday. In my opinion, he was very dismissive of Ms. Homans (as opposed to "the editor") in much more of a personal way than I would think would be considered "professional". I also found it rather interesting that he (Dance Mag.) waited to fire this one across the bow until November! Homan's article was back in May. The timing of this seems to make it even odder - to me.

#40 BW

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Posted 12 October 2002 - 08:48 AM

Alexandra, I figured there was quite a bit of lag time...perhaps that's a good thing sometimes? Unlike the Internet posting board, waiting for a magazine to go to print does give one some time to reflect. :P

I can understand Mr. Barnes feelings - he's been close to NYCB and ballet in general for many years...I guess to me it seemed odd to bother printing it now. Guess that's the flip side of the Internet (and the newspaper) - you need a lot less lead time. ;)

#41 BW

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Posted 13 October 2002 - 03:53 PM

Very funny you guys! :P I always thought people only bought the Post for sports news and page "6" gossip! ;)

It's OK Farrell Fan, we know you're Suzanne's self-proclaimed lapdog and we accept you as you are. :) ;)

#42 Farrell Fan

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Posted 12 October 2002 - 12:16 PM

My November Dance Magazine finally came today. I usually find Clive Barnes' back-of-the-book pieces fun to read, but this was really unfair toward Jennifer Homans.

I thought this comment nonsensical: "She complains for instance, that Martins has not called upon the full experience of other Balanchine dancers, forgetting perhaps that teaching and coaching cannot be by committee, as choices must be made and practicalities considered."

To call in Violette Verdy, Patricia McBride, and Suzanne Farrell to coach Jewels, as Edward Villella did for Miami City Ballet is not to teach by committee. It is to recognize the uniqueness of dancers on whom roles were made by Balanchine and who, better than any company director, can perpetuate his heritage for future generations.

I did appreciate Barnes' characterization of the current state of NY Times arts coverage as "roguish, voguish." But I don't think the Homans piece fell into that category. She said nothing that others hadn't been thinking and saying for years.

In the interests of full disclosure, I confess to being Suzanne Farrell's lapdog.

#43 Rachel Howard

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Posted 14 October 2002 - 11:23 AM

Speaking of Barne's history and "critics bashing critics," "The Vanishing Point," a collection of Marcia B. Siegel's reviews from the late 70s/early 80s launches a voracious attack upon him. I bought a copy second hand and, since I wasn't writing in those boomtime years, am just beginning to unravel what the heck it was all about. Suffice to say, the message that Barnes had an incredible amount of power as the chief NY Times critic has come across loud and clear.

#44 Rachel Howard

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Posted 18 October 2002 - 06:22 PM

Not to veer away from the Homans issues at hand, but I've just received a new book that shows the tradition of critics bashing fellow critics is alive and well. Wesleyan University Press has just released a collected writings by Ann Daly titled "Critical Gestures." Perhaps I should be embarrassed to admit I hadn't heard of Ms. Daly before, but I'm finding the first section of this book fantastic "catch up" reading on the history of NY dance criticism in the last half decade. I don't agree with Daly on a lot of things, but she states her positions so clearly that it's fun to argue back.

Anyway, the choice moments of "critic bashing":
She loves trouncing Arlene Croce's "infamous temper tantrum about Bill T. Jones" etc. "'Discussing the Undiscussable' was Croce's way of taking her marbles and going home, because artists had dared to move from the 1950s to the 1990s without requesting her permission." She also says, "the bad news is, [dance critics] will also be known as the folks who gave the world 'victim art'." I say it's not such a bad thing to be known for, but then I'm something of a Croce worshipper.

And Daly notes that Jill Johnston, then institutionalized, once shot back at Clive Barnes, writing: "I also stake out a claim to be an artist, a writer, if that's what I'm doing when I go to the typewriter and decide that I liked something well enough to say what I think it's all about."
Hmmm . . . Siegel, Johnston, Homans--I'd say Barnes is well-practiced at jostling with other critics and embraces it as an occupational duty. I have yet to read the column, and so can't toss in my two cents.


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