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A Rare Candid-Yet-Effusive Art Book Overview By ACHOF’s Mike Goldstein

Serious Play 2-book set by Larry Vigon

posted February 24, 2022 by Mike Goldstein

I’m not a critic. In my mind, to be a critic, you need to know a lot about a topic and, to make your criticisms more believable, you should also have some first-hand experience and/or expertise in the creation of some things similar to what you might be expressing your opinions about. While the word “critic” is first defined (on dictionary.com) as “a person who judges, evaluates, or criticizes” (with the definition then expanded to “a person who judges, evaluates, or analyzes literary or artistic works, dramatic or musical performances, or the like, especially for a newspaper or magazine”), it’s the third definition that’s given – “a person who tends too readily to make captious, trivial, or harsh judgments” or a “faultfinder” that seems to better-define many of today’s professional critics in the arts and, for that reason, I’ve stayed away from really ever saying anything critical about the work of the people I cover on the ACHOF site.

Of course, it can be said that I do make value judgements when deciding what to include on the site or in my monthly news postings, and I really can’t argue with that. Editors and writers are critics by default, since we’re choosing to present a story (or a character in that story) from our own unique viewpoints, but I’d like to think that I’m presenting people and their stories in such a way that you as the readers are given enough basic information so that you then can make up your minds as to whether a story has been worth your time and/or has left you with some sense of satisfaction having learned something new and exciting (even when the subjects might have been well-covered previously). I’ve made one example of this – any article I find in which has been headlined something along the lines of “the Top 10” or “the 25 best album covers of all time – a running joke in my writing over the years, as I’m sure some of you have noticed. Yes, people are entitled to their opinions but, in most cases, scant thought or evidence of any specific method of how these “best” things are determined is ever presented and so, in those cases, I’ll either present them to you with a short-but-snarky intro or, perhaps more often lately, I’ll leave them for you to stumble across in some other fashion.

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