After watching that video by Thomas of SFF180 I had been thinking about the responsibilities of being a critic or reviewer.
If you have not watched it I suggest you do. While its not focused on the topic exactly as I am presenting it here it does give a sort of view about it. Even if it pertains to one critics apparent severe dislike for Terry Pratchett and said critics refusal to read his works while simultaneously condemning them.
My goal as a reviewer is first and foremost to share. To share my personal views and opinions on a work so that others can make an informed decision as to whether to experience said work or not. It was that way when I did restaurant reviews. It was that way when I do game reviews. And it will be that way as I do book reviews here.
And thats just the thing. Anything I say is an opinion. Its my perception of the work. Its how I personally view it. That does NOT under any circumstances mean its the final word on the work, nor should it ever be considered to be so. And I see things like this happening frequently, more often then not under a game reviewer however. I mean, recently Totalbiscuit created a Steam Curator called the “FPS Police” where they literally go around marking Steam games that have 30fps capped. As if its their job to police such a thing. Who gave Totalbiscuit and his followers this job? No one but themselves. And that’s just a single example.
I swear to never get that way. I don’t WANT to get that way. Its not how I view things for one. When I look up reviews for example, I never take one persons word as gospel. I always look up multiple critics, articles, check Metacritic, check Amazon and Steam.
The point of a reviewer or critic is, in my mind, to share a viewpoint. Their viewpoint. Its not the hard truth. Certainly at times things can be considered objectively bad or good (murder is bad, for example). But media, entertainment, and the like really can’t. Yes, Ride to Hell for example is generally considered a terrible game, but I am pretty sure somewhere out there someone likes it.
50 Shades of Grey is a book that I personally will never read. But I know for a fact people love it. The Eragon series is another one that I will never continue with (I read Eragon, but was scarred, so scarred), but I know for a fact that there are people who love it.
Another thing is this: In order to critique or review a work you HAVE TO BE FAMILIAR WITH IT! I will never write a review for 50 Shades, or Twilight, or the Eragon books because, frankly, I will never read em. I have zero interest in them. So I will never put into words my thoughts on them because it would be hearsay. I have never experienced them the way it was intended.
What I am trying to say is this: A reviewer or critic should never consider themselves to be the final word on something. Hell, anyone with ten minutes of time can create or write a review on something. You could write a review on my article for example! You could write about how a particular bottle of water tastes. A reviewer is no one special. They are just someone sharing their personal views and opinions on something. Should you read such views? Yes. It can help you form an opinion yourself? But should you only read one such critics views? No.
Its why I link to Goodreads and Amazon at the end of my book reviews. So a person reading them can go and find other peoples views and opinions, so they can make a better choice as to whether the book is for them.
Anyway, thanks for reading!