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James McNeill Whistler

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Two and two continue to make four, in spite of the whine of the amateur for three, or the cry of the critic for five.
--
Whistler v. Ruskin

 
James McNeill Whistler

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It is particularly displeasing to hear professional critics using the term "layman" to describe people who are amateurs and patrons of those arts with which they are themselves professionally concerned. The fact that the critic gets money for knowing something, and giving public expression to his opinion, does not entitle him to consider the amateur, who may be as well informed and as sensitive as himself, an outsider.

 
Robertson Davies
 

I've noticed that there is not necessarily a great relationship between what the majority of critics have to say and what is actually true. Some of them are so busy trying to mold the public taste according to the limits of their perceptions, and others are so busy reflecting what they consider to be the public taste — that view limited again by their perception. You find very few critics who approach their job with a combination of information and enthusiasm and humility that makes for a good critic. But there is nothing wrong with critics as long as people don't pay any attention to them. I mean, nobody wants to put them out of a job and a good critic is not necessarily a dead critic. It's just that people take what a critic says as a fact rather than an opinion, and you have to know whether the opinion of the critic is informed or uninformed, intelligent of stupid — but most people don't take the trouble.

 
Edward Albee
 

Tree-hugging, Birkenstock-wearing, hippie, tie-dyed liberals [in Hollywood should]… go make their movies and their music and whine somewhere else…. It's just too damn bad we didn't buy them a ticket [to become human shields in Iraq]."

 
Jim Gibbons
 

I began my work as a film critic in 1967. I had not thought to be a film critic, and indeed had few firm career plans apart from vague notions that I might someday be a political columnist or a professor of English.
Robert Zonka, who was named the paper's feature editor the same day I was hired at the Chicago Sun-Times, became one of the best friends of a lifetime. One day in March 1967, he called me into a conference room, told me that Eleanor Keen, the paper's movie critic, was retiring, and that I was the new critic. I walked away in elation and disbelief, yet hardly suspected that this day would set the course for the rest of my life.

 
Roger Ebert
 

I think myself as a fabulist, not a critic. I realize that every writer is necessarily a critic — that is, each sentence is a skeleton accompanied by enormous activity of rejection; and each selection is governed by general principles concerning truth, force, beauty, and so on. But, as I have just suggested, I believe that the practice of writing consists in more and more relegating all that schematic operation to the subconscious. The critic that is in every fabulist is like the iceberg — nine-tenths of him is underwater.

 
Thornton Wilder
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