Friday, August 31, 2007

Moving On II

I'll be working on my book this weekend -- I'm off on vacation, mostly working at the library, for the next week, and won't everyone be so orgasmic not to have me posting too much.

I'm not dropping the critic-blogger brouhaha, but I am in conversations with press agents and other critics about it, and action is promised, and action will occur.

I want to say that my position is to bring certain blogger-critics into the fold, not to keep them out of it. If they're good enough to be comped, to publish reviews, to be used to generate buzz, they're surely good enough to play by the rules, whatever they might be.

And maybe the rules have to be changed, or maybe they don't. Separate but equal, however, is not going to stand. It's fair to no one and it's indefensible -- as indefensible as saying that all so-called "critics" are "backed up" by the "institutional MSM" and bloggers are mere writers who, upon receiving comps, have no ethical, artistic, community or moral responsibilities whatsoever. If 70-80% of the so called critics out there are freelancers, how, exactly, are they "backed up" by the "institutional MSM"? How are they not writers first? Indeed, as freelancers, aren't they, by definition, writers first? I think so. And as for those of us, a shrinking number, so fortunate as to have jobs in which we write for a living, how does that make us not writers first? Are people with professional journalist careers somehow different, better, or worse? I don't think so.

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Alison Croggon said...

I think you've got your targets mixed up, Leonard. If you want "separate but equal", then theatres ought to invite bloggers along on opening night like everyone else. (That's what happens here). And your beef - if indeed it is a question of professional ethics - seems to me not to be with George, who transgressed no understandings, but with the theatre company that issued the invitations in the first place. Have you taken this issue up with them?

Statler said...

Dear oh dear. Way to go about making a fuss over nothing.

2 separate issues going on here and it's best to treat them seperately. Firstly the part about reviewing a preview - this is almost entirely about being fair to the production. Given that Playwrights Horizons provided George with the tickets on the basis he would write about it, and with no suggestion of any form of embargo there really shouldn't be anything else to be said on this. As Alison says, if you really have a problem with this take it up with the company.

The second aspect of publishing a review having left at the intermission I have more of a problem with. Given that George has stated the tickets were on the basis he would write about it "after seeing the performance" it does seem inappropriate to write about it after seeing half the performance. To me, this has breached the conditions on which the tickets were provided. I think George really had 2 options at the interval - stick it out and write his review or alternatively leave, pay for the tickets and not write the review.

For my own site, we decline press tickets as it allows us more freedom to react honestly and means we are under little or no obligation to the theatre to write anything at all. But we also generally try to avoid commenting on previews.

But seriously, this really shouldn't be a big deal. Let it go.

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Anonymous said...

Hi Leonard,

What action is this that's going to occur, that you're in discussion with press agents and critics about?