You may have noticed a slight slackening here the last few days, the appearance of distraction, of a mind engaged elsewhere. All true.
Friends, meet the newcritics. Newcritics.com is a fledgling effort that promises "web-based criticism in literature, music, television, film, technology, theater and art from a diverse group of bloggers."
That promise is my promise; I cobbled the site together over the past few weeks and invited a few bloggers to post. Last week, the first posts hit the clickstream.
Newcritics is an experiment for me - it came about after a gathering of political bloggers a couple of months back. What I expected to be a hard-core politicalfest actually became and meandering and fascinating discussion of culture, both high and low. I loved it, and thought about extending the conversation; newcritics is my answer to that problem.
I hope you read the posts there, subscribe to the feeds, link to them, and comment often. So far, there have been some terrific articles - here's a few:
Band of Brothers: The Game by Tony Alva, on role-playing games and soldiers
Steve Bowbrick's Crime for Kids, a review of Carl Hiaasen's latest
Talking on the WhyPhone by Brendan Tween, a reaction to Apple's media domination
Blue Girl's Promises Kept. Chapter One on Calvin Trillin's memoir of love
Sidewalks of New York, by Lance Mannion, which discusses film characters who are controlled by their appetites and emotions
Then there's what I hope will be the first of many "list" postings - argument-provoking Top 10 affairs that spur reaction. Jason Chervokas and I take a shot at the ten best American domestic sit-coms of all-time, those classic situations revolving around a home and a family. Sure, we've all got The Honeymooners, I Love Lucy, and All in the Family...but what's on your list? That's the point! Read Blondie's Children: the Best Domestic Sitcoms and let us know.
Consider what's up the first week, and my reaction is this: that's a magazine I'd read. Lots of voices, shared interests, conversation. We got one comment this week from Roxtar that really hit home, and made it feel (thus far) worthwhile:
A round-table, free-wheeling discussion of popular culture, on the other hand, can spin off in an infinite number of directions. It can take you from poetry to music to television, to literature, to film, to sociology and psychology, to marketing and persuasion, to technology and its role in the future…. I suspect your dinner last November touched on most, if not all, of those areas, and more besides.
Popular culture is not a trifle, or an idle diversion. It is like water to a fish; it surrounds us and, to a large degree, it defines us. But unlike our finny friends, we can actively participate in evaluating and determining the quality of our environment. Which I suppose is what you have in mind.
Exactly. I'm not giving up blogging here by any means. This will still be my personal space, and I'll probably cross-post most media/culture pieces. I'll only blog politics here. No politics on newcritics - it's a place for discussing what unites us, not what divides us. C'mon and set a spell.