Richard Shickel Complains About Bloggers: “Get Off My Lawn!”

LA Times critic, Richard Schickel doesn’t read blogs. But he gets to whine about them:

Criticism — and its humble cousin, reviewing — is not a democratic activity. It is, or should be, an elite enterprise, ideally undertaken by individuals who bring something to the party beyond their hasty, instinctive opinions of a book (or any other cultural object). It is work that requires disciplined taste, historical and theoretical knowledge and a fairly deep sense of the author’s (or filmmaker’s or painter’s) entire body of work, among other qualities.


Schickel, when he isn’t cranking out reviews and articles for Time at a rate that makes his criticism of Wickett for publishing 95 reviews in 12 months verge on hypocrisy, largely spends his days propping up Hollywood corpses with clip-laden documentaries for basic cable.

And one of the bloggers Schickel rips on says:

Schickel fails to understand that, by way of expanding options in a democratic medium, it remains ever more possible to find “oases of intelligence and delight,� if one looks hard enough. He seems inured to even contributing to these potential oases. He presumes that criticism and the joyful archipelagos of art must remain perennially dictated by a select mainstream elite.


Oh, it’s not impossible for a blogger to write a serious review, he says. But before he’ll listen to a word anyone says, he demands credentials. Only the annointed — again, by whom? — are invited, or can be taken seriously.

This all began when NYT proposed that not everybody is a critic. That’s true. Some are puppets of a media-controlling hell-bent administration.






2 responses to “Richard Shickel Complains About Bloggers: “Get Off My Lawn!””

  1. Christopher Waldrop Avatar

    Schickel’s piece was a perfect example of a straw-man argument: he creates a generic literary blogger as unworthy of occupying the lofty heights where criticism is an art that can only be practiced by the elite then bashes that figure with Orwell and Edmund Wilson. It would be funny if the Los Angeles Times weren’t so hard up for articles that they’ll publish such tripe.

  2. Gerry Avatar

    Blogger versus print journalism. The bitterness continues.
    Book reviewing is an “elite enterprise,” according to Mr. Schickel.
    “Elite” is a subjective term. Not only that, but “blogger” does not necessarily mean a writer with only “hasty, instinctive opinion” to offer. Also, making broad generalizations and assumptions about a wide variety of people, as Schickel does, is certainly not the quality of a good critic, which he obviously claims to be.
    And he shouldn’t be in such a hurry to deride “instinct.” My instinct tells me that writers such as Schickel are deathly worried about how competition from lit blogs could affect their yearly income.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *