The Critical Edge — Rise of Internet Critique Culture

TGWTG_Toonize_by_Benzaie

I always find it interesting what the Internet has brought us. If you look back to its dawning ages (the 80’s and 90’s) you see lots of people with high hopes that the world of computers would bring us great advances. Look at the movie Tron, a whole world of programs, living programs. Science Fiction flourished at that time because people believed that computers and Internet could take us far beyond our imaginations. But then there’s what we really got: cats, porn, more cats, war upon war between angry commenters, memes, Nyan cat, and online reviews. Those reviews are what interest me the most, though.

For years critics and their reviews have existed here and there: in books, newspapers, the radio, TV, but now they’ve evolved into something else entirely now. Reviews have become a production onto themselves thanks to the Internet, they have become their own genre of entertainment. By now this isn’t a new phenomenon, these reviewers have been around for years — they were preceded by the likes of the now deceased Roger Ebert, whose various televised and written reviews had been widely viewed. But it is still around four or five years old, so not ancient or long-standing either.

Nostalgia_Critic_Reloaded

One of the most interesting aspects of online reviews is that people now seek out these critiques as forms of entertainment, often even more than advice. For me, I still know what movies I will and will not watch. Yet I still log onto thatguywiththeglasses.com to watch the Nostalgia Critic yell obscenities at terrible movies.

The rise of reviews as more than just critique has been noticed by the critics themselves, as their reviews have become more… showy(?). Already being laden with jokes and quick sketches, some have even taken it up to the next degree. The Nostalgia Critic has hired extra actors and put a lot more story into every review. Linkara, a comic book reviewer also from thatguywiththeglasses.com, has an actual ongoing story behind some of his reviews.

Even along a more traditional reviewing line, you have critics on escapistmagazine.com (such as MovieBob and Yahtzee) who not only review movies and games, respectively, but are called on to offer critique and advice on other fronts, sometimes of the same medium. Bob “MovieBob” Chipman is most interesting because he’s given multiple columns in both writing and video to editorialize movies, television, and even the culture of the eighties, nineties, and today.

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The strange thing though is this: I don’t know quite what I want to say about this phenomenon yet. I came to this same conclusion when I tried making an essay out of this last year, and here again I come to the same dead end. These critics are out there, they’re entertaining, and I’d like you all to know they exist. But it’s hard to say what I think about them. Do they add something to our culture? Do these Internet reviewers put a new spin on the way we view culture?

Well, I’m sure if I keep spreading the word, then we can all think about this together, and then one of us will come up with an idea, yeah?

 

Photos via: Google — thatguywiththeglasses — Escapist Magazine



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