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Everyone’s a Critic

December 15, 2015

I usually don’t pay too much attention to movie/television reviews because Pauline Kael, Roger Ebert and James Sarris aren’t writing anymore and, let’s face it, pretty much anyone with a computer and an internet connection nowadays is a critic. Like, he said, looking into a mirror, guys with blogs and some extra time.

That brings me to Cory Barker, a critic for who I don’t know anything about because he has a blank “About” page on the website.

I stumbled onto Mr. Barker after searching for a review of last night’s episode of Childhood’s End. I loved the book but based on previews that didn’t look like anything I’d read I was hesitant to watch the miniseries and I wanted to find out if the show was, or would be, worth my time and the risk of shattering my memories of one of the best, and most influential, Science Fiction books ever written.

I learned all I needed to know when Cory told all in paragraph four when he wrote: “I haven’t read the Clarke book, but I’ve scanned some excerpts and researched it pretty heavily…”

Once, a very long time ago, I wrote a school book report on “The Confessions of Nat Turner” after reading the dust jacket book flaps and leafing through the book. At the time, less interested in school and homework than baseball, I considered that pretty heavy research. Of course I was 15 at the time.

Cory goes on in paragraph four to tell us that it’s “readily apparent” that the show’s writer and director have “worked very hard to capture the high-minded spirit and philosophical curiosity of the novel”. Seriously? How would you know? Having not read the book how would you know anything about the miniseries from ‘research’ any more than I knew anything more about Nat Turner than was a preacher and a slave, educated by one master and abused by another who led a violent rebellion.

But what got me wasn’t so much Cory’s review but his response to a reader comment. Reader Kriege001 commented that s/he couldn’t believe that the reviewer didn’t read the book. Commenting on the short length of the book, Kriege001 suggested – jokingly – that the reviewer turn off his television set for a few hours. Mr. Barker didn’t like that suggestion and replied with the only weapon an angry internet critic has: The Cap Lock Key.

“I DON’T GET PAID TO READ!” he yelled to the world in his taut six-word reply.

In fairness, Mr. Barker didn’t write a bad review, it’s just a little suppositional and not very informative. If you want to read the entire review you can find it here:

If you happen to be a fan of “Childhood’s End” (the book) and you watched the first episode of the miniseries I’d love to know what you thought.


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