Monday, March 02, 2009

metaDRAMA: What NOT To Do #1

John Russo, who has been serving as a sort of narrator tying these love stories together, gets the final vignette, “Untitled Short Play.” It’s the least satisfying of the pieces — writers should never write about the art of writing — but Mr. Russo makes it relatively painless.

I'll try to avoid falling into the same trap as Mr. Genzlinger, but while James Bond has already taught us never to say never, critics should "never" say what the artist should (or should not) do. Our job is to point out what they did and, where possible, to provide context as to why they did it. On the more reviewer-y side of it, it's to say whether or not that worked. But it's lazy writing to say that an artist should have done something else instead--they took a risk, they experimented, and you're reviewing what they did. If you want to see them doing something else, doff your critic hat and go write that play.

Then again, Mr. Genzlinger could simply follow his own advice. Critics are, after all, writers, and any time he wishes to stop writing about the art of writing, he's welcome to do so.

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