This post is by Om Malik from On my Om


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Photo by Mohammad Metri on Unsplash

Yancey Strickler, co-founder and former CEO of Kickstarter, was once an aspiring music critic for Pitchfork, an indie-music publication that was acquired by Condé Nast about five years ago. Last week, Condé Nast decided to roll up Pitchfork into GQ, essentially ending Pitchfork’s run. In a postmortem titled ‘Prestige Recession,’ Strickler pointed out that this is not just about Pitchfork, but rather, it is about cultural criticism at large, and the not-so-surprising death of the critic.

It was once critics who helped shape cultural values – spotting a trend here, putting a scene on the map there – but now the process is driven by metrics. Context, the land of the artist and the critic, has been determined valueless (unless algorithmic) by the mainstream, which honestly never much cared for it to begin with. Instead, art and culture have been safely neutralized as interchangeable commercial objects just like everything else. Who was it that criticized selling out in the first place? The critic, of course. The decline of the critic mirrors the decline of the mediums they cover. Music and film are industries whose relative cultural value has dipped, thus their critics’s cultural influence has plummeted. In realms like politics and the culture wars, however, critics are thriving. Where there’s power and money, critics can have influence and get paid. When the money and power dry up, the beat does too.
Given how we consume media, I would argue that this was (Read more…)