Saturday, April 16, 2011

Game of Criticism

I'm looking forward to "Game of Thrones" on HBO.  I'm actually behind the game; I hadn't even heard of the books until the news about HBO's production, but it seems to be my "teacup."  I love political intrigue (see "Shogun") unusual use of language (see "Justified," "Deadwood," "Brick"), and swords and shields (see "Spartacus" Or don't-many find it overblown and gory).
So it's interesting to me to see that according to the NYT reviewer, as a Vaginal-American, I'm not supposed to like it.  I guess some bedhopping was thrown in there because I'm not supposed to like any of the things listed above.

In addition, there was a truly bizarro review at Slate (in which I'm disappointed-I usually love Troy Patterson's writing) that I'm not sure I even really understood.  It was more of an exercise in writing on a meta level about how fantasy is perceived, or something.  I think I can see what he was aiming for, but missed.  Actually, that's a bit strong, I can't know what he was aiming for.  But neither can he, the reviewer who admits he doesn't watch/enjoy fantasy, claim to know what the production was aiming for, either.  There's a way to critique outside of your comfort zone by identifying those elements that are off-putting.  (I find the violence disturbing, the language opaque, the huge cast of characters confusing, whatever it is.) But Patterson keeps going back to an adolescent motif, perhaps his code word for fanboy.  Full of sex and violence, but not for grownups?  Again, I'm confused.

So critics, by all means, give me reasons why I might like a production or not, but do not tell me I won't like it because I'm developmentally delayed or a woman. (Or both.)  That angers me.

And Matt Zoller Seitz, evidently.


Nicole said...

Chris has these books & swore I would like them. Got a few chapters into the first book and put it down. Decided recently to try again when a bio friend of mine swore by them.

VenetianBlond said...

But that's the thing. If it's not your teacup, it's just not. Sometimes you think you might like something for some reason, but it doesn't appeal. That's where the reviewers went wrong-trying to argue too strongly about who will like it and who won't, rather than actually describing the content/production/style, etc. I'm so not in the target audience for Starz' "Spartacus," but I love it for some twisted reason.