Thursday, August 30, 2007

More Hunka Fallout

So Aaron Riccio posted a comment on my prior blog entry on George Hunka giving professional ethics the wagging middle-finger. My response is below.

Aaron writes,

Just a note of clarification, as Hunka got his tickets the same way I did, through an offer from Playwrights Horizon's publicity department. They asked for comments to be posted, regardless of content, in return for tickets. That's what they got: George just writes like a critic possessed. Think of it as a very lucid blog. When I accepted tickets, I asked very carefully if they wanted a REVIEW or a BLOG: they chose the latter, which as far as I'm concerned, pretty much frees me of any obligation (as a print/online critic) to wait for an embargo. So on that, I think George is off the hook. For the theaters, however, I do think it's dangerous to actively SEEK comments for preview performances if they're not able to handle negative, Deuce-like hype, as well as positive, audience building comments along the theatrosphere.
My thought is...

1) Just because there's a pimp doesn't mean you have to raise your legs and fuck everyone who walks through the door.

2) How about addressesing the grievous and savage, irredeemable wrong that a pre-review review does to the artists? This non-mea culpa -- "they offered us tickets, we're innocent" -- is like blaming conscription in the German army for mowing down a town of Jews.

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Aaron Riccio said...

Actually, the "grievous and savage, irredeemable wrong that a pre-review review" goes back to something mentioned on both Freeman's and Isaac's blog about the obligations of a critic to the artists. For my own writing, I try to be helpful to a production and honest to the audience, which is why with 100 Saints, I took the latest date offered, and why I won't be posting a formal review on the NTC site. My goal would then be more akin to what you write as a throwback, "critics...regarded as part of the process, essential eyes and ears in the developmental experience." That's me, though, and I maintain that, fucking or not, George is allowed his review: the Jews didn't ask to be mowed down, and they didn't actively invite it.

Leonard Jacobs said...

George was wrong, period -- so was Playwrights Horizons. All else is just blogorhythmic exonerating.

Freeman said...

Could we please hold ourselves back from comparing a lousy review on a blog to the Holocaust? It's in really poor taste. Even as hyperbole.

To speak to the issue... Playwrights Horizons invited free and open commentary about their production, without specifying any embargo date or any notation and previews. They sell preview tickets on their website as if they are "opening" tickets and, in fact, show the "run" as including preview showings. It's not very cut and dry.

Would anyone be crying foul if George had written: "I went to a preview of 100 Saints and loved it! Here's an advance review..."

I honestly don't think so.