We Don't Have to Agree, But, "If It Doesn't Fit, You Must Acquit"-A Postscript to "Reporters, Boosters, and Critics"

One problem with generalizations is that they are, almost by nature, overbroad. A problem with citations of specific instances has the opposite problem; “Hard cases make bad law.” If one accepts the inherent limitations of daily press coverage of classical music, and is inclined to be sympathetic to its generators, my criticisms may seem petulant, or churlish, or unfair. I know this, and acknowleged in the article’s very first paragraph the patent unfairness of my criticism, at least when contextualized in the general devolution in the extent and depth of reporting on the arts; which implies a certain recognition of the difficulties the critic faces. But if one risks the path of generalizing, one is not obliged to specifically attack anyone. In fact, part of the point of the article is the helplessness of the individual critic to do an adequate  job; and attacking anonymously is the objectionable thing, not attacking the anonymous, that latter is just bluster, Buster! Not that it matters, as a voice alone can have as much legitimacy as the voice of many, but what I voiced in the article reflects viewpoints which I’ve heard time and again from students and musician acquaintances, both.

Now, there are those who don’t see much of a problem, and they very well might be right. I disagree, obviously, and have no real defense to a criticism along the lines or, “This Holdekunst snob makes these sweeping accusations, and then doesn’t give evidence to back them up!”…maybe so; I can, however, rebut the accusations that I eat children or poison the wells most authoritatively. (this is a technique I’ve learned from politicians. If you don’t feel like responding to some possibly pertinent criticism, make up something wild and pretend that that’s what you have been accused of)… I did comment specifically both positively and negatively on specific reviews in earlier posts, by the way.  And if one’s experience doesn’t corroborate my point of view, one really ought to reject what I say. But none of us should simply eat whatever happens to be put on our plate. Discontent is the mother of change.

For those who practice the noble and vital art of criticism effectively, I can only say, apropos my diatribe, “If it doesn’t fit, I must acquit.”