Now that I'm pursuing a career as an artistic critic instead of an actual artist (yeah, I know, last refuge of the incompetent), I find myself surprisingly with an even lower tolerance for most other critics than even before; and that's because, as we all know, most so-called "critics" in this country are not really critics at all, but rather people paid to write synopses of every single corporate-released project in existence, and perhaps throw in a couple of words at the end about what they thought of it, done mostly as an excuse to sell more ads to the exact corporate entities they are supposed to the watchdogs of. And the more of these so-called "critics" who exist, the less the general public cares about the opinions of any critics, even the ones who actually do their jobs; and that's why we have a situation, for example, where a movie like the recent Evan Almighty can get a 23-percent rating at review-aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes, yet still be the number-one box-office draw in America. And this is especially bad when it comes to the television industry, where there are so many journalistic hacks skulking around looking for payola, you don't know what to believe about any given show anymore.
So ask me, then, how much I love a critic like the San Fransisco Chronicle's Tim Goodman, whose column "The Bastard Machine" has been running in their paper edition for many years now, but in the last year or two has finally started appearing online as well, along with lots of web-exclusive content and even a weekly podcast. Opinionated, outspoken, not afraid of pissing people off, Goodman is one of the only people in that entire industry to lay things out like they actually are, while still managing to be endearing and laugh-out-loud funny every single day. Not to mention, how can you not love a guy who refers to the annual Television Critics Association summer press tour as the "Death March with Cocktails?"
Unfortunately for all of us, Goodman's on vacation right now; but he'll be back before you know it, regaling us with excuses for why he didn't watch the shows he was supposed to be reviewing that day, as well as the latest projects he has decided to "TiNo" (or that is, remove from his TiVo subscriptions, which he claims is such a traumatic experience that it deserves its own name). I highly encourage you to become a daily reader, if like me you are absolutely sick and tired of most of what passes for artistic criticism in this country anymore.