By Bob Hicks
Bless me, reader, for I have sinned.
For 40 years Moses wandered in the wilderness. And for roughly the same amount of time I have stumbled through the landmines of contemporary culture, wearing the sackcloth of the most extreme form of penitent journalist.
I have been a critic.
Well, apparently I have. That’s what everyone tells me. Lord knows I’ve denied it over the years. For a long time, when people called me a critic, I’d correct them. “I’m a writer,” I’d gently explain, “and these days I happen to be writing about theater.”
It did no good. No one believed me. And “Writer Who Writes About Theater” doesn’t fit in a byline, anyway.
A few years ago I was chatting with Libby Appel, who at the time was artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. “You know, I’ve never really thought of myself as a critic,” I told her.
Libby’s eyebrow arched. (Sometimes eyebrows actually do that.) “Oh, you’re a critic,” she said emphatically.
I like to think she was delivering a description, not an accusation. I like her and respect her, even though I’ve sometimes argued in print with shows she’s directed, and I think the feeling’s been mutual. Still. There was no question in her mind. I was, without doubt, One of Those People. And Those People occupy a curious position in the artistic firmament. “Critics never worry me unless they are right,” Noel Coward once commented. “But that does not often occur.”
Then again, what exactly is right?
Continue reading The first thing let’s do, let’s kill the critics