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Friday, April 12, 2013

The Moveable Circle: The Death of the Critics (Our Last Post)

Time it Takes to Read: 1 minute + 26 seconds

In the nineties, “we” (whoever that we is) killed the author.  In art, the creator is not important anymore. He is out of the picture. Once a product is produced, it belongs to the audience.  The audience is the one tasked to give meaning to the work, depending on his own personal experiences and beliefs. 

Following the death of the author, the death of meaning ushered in. Finding the hidden meaning in works of art or popular entertainment is so twentieth century.  In the new millennium, everything is in the surface. Meaning is skin deep. Nothing is hidden and most importantly, things do not have meaning at all.  They just exist.

Now, in the age of the Web, almost everyone can become a star.  You become popular or notorious for mundane, superficial or unexplained reasons.  At times, you do not even have control. Being caught on camera doing something private may be the scariest thing in the world now. In the past, you can have a private argument with a security guard and it is just between the guard and you. However, now the whole country (or the world) can get involved as if everyone has the right to judge or ridicule you. What is more interesting is legitimate media will also jump on the bandwagon.  The only plus side is you will be forgotten in a few months but you will remain as an interesting footnote in popular culture.  If you are wise enough, you can use your notoriety for fame and fortune. Forget morals. In this day and age, morals may be subjective.

Bottom line, on the Web, you can still become a celebrity because you are talented, good, or you are advocating a belief, but you will be competing with silliness, absurdities, scandals, novelties, and physical beauty. In the past, critics took it upon themselves to analyze these pop culture phenomena. But do people still listen to critics?  If the author is dead and meaning is optional, then the critics are obsolete. Perhaps in the future, it is the critics turn to die and we will be left watching a cute person eating candy on the web. This video, by the way, has received one million hits and counting.

Nothing is wrong with that. Everyone likes candy. 

F.Y.I. Today marks our third anniversary.

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