Thursday, September 10, 2015

Banksy and the Problem with Writing About Stuff You Haven't Been To (Dan Brooks in the NY Times)

One of Banksy’s many talents is getting people in the public sphere to reveal themselves at their most self-serving. Like turning over a rock, his Dismaland has brought to light a gaggle of journalists (and/or editors, who goad them into it) willing to put their scruples aside and gain exposure by taking advantage of Banksy’s notoriety. I mean, really, you’d think that the first requirement of having an opinion on any experience would be to actually have the experience. But nooooo….first to tip me off to this phenom was a commenter who asked if the author of the negative Dismaland critique in the LA Times had actually attended it. Then in today’s New York Times Magazine, one Dan Brooks waxes at length on “Banksy and the Problem with Sarcastic Art.” citing negative reviews from Business Insider (“bad and boring”), HuffPo (“Dismaland is not interesting and neither is Banksy”) and others to bolster his point—while there’s no evidence that he, or any of the other writers, found occasion to visit the event. This conundrum is especially interesting when one considers that Brooks fancies himself a specialist in “ethical dilemmas” who, in his blog, has taken issue with those having an opinion about a book they haven't read.

Rats! I should have written a critique of the Jeff Koons retrospective, which I missed, based on my certain assumption that I would have hated it.

Is this happening relative only to Banksy or does it portend a trend? If so, it’s bad news for readers, good news for writers who will no longer have to leave their chairs to cover music, art, theatre, restaurants, etc. Think of the gas money they can save! And no need to get a baby-sitter. As for hard news, staying home is not only a lot safer than going into a war zone, the food is much better.

I’m off to Dismaland next week, will report.


Update: More on Dan Brooks's ethical dilemmas:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

it's too bad artfcity's mention of your undertaking has such an unnecessary sarcastic tone: "we can't be bothered to get off our asses but we'll pooh-pooh people who do."

you make a good observation; i suspect in the near future reviews will just a series of daisy-chained links between the same handful of artblogs without any original coverage in between.