All or Nothing, or, Why the Fine Lines?

As a childhood graduate of Wossamotta U., I was never a stickler for fine lines, but I found myself sucked into them through the vortex of the hyper-critical culture rampant on the internet. Everything that’s anything has to be categorized and rated. In comparison to what, I still don’t know. I guess we are supposed to granulate our inner sense of satisfaction and/or justice and woe unto those items (whatever they may be – vacuum cleaner bags, chamber orchestras, pole dancers, coffee beans) that fail to cause our bells to tinkle at the highest maximum tinkle-ability.

Where do you go once you reach the top, anyway? If one thing deserves a 10 (or a 5 depending on your scale), what could possibly ever compare? I see people holding out all the time, not willing to part with that highest of holies just in case something else might someday crop up that they’ll find even more fulfilling, even more replete with complete and utterly rewarding satisfaction.

Or else they compare the latest production of their hero with a previous production by same and find it not quite there. In that case, they will muster a rating even lower than a production by someone whose output they actually despise. Where are the comparative merits? Where is the personal responsibility? Who are these 47% of online critics who feel entitled to sniff at their product-creators and knock them down a peg or two if they merely feel like it?

In other words, when the hell did we all become like a snooty New York Times food critic?

I’ve been moving steadily towards a binary rating system on all the online sets. Up or down, five stars or zero stars. Yes or no. I’m not interested in pitching in to the popular delusion of the madness of crowd-sourcing. Mobs just aren’t my thing.

I will recommend something. Or I won’t. But I really don’t think my critical sensibilities are all that fine-grained that anyone should give a shit about the number of stars I bestow on any given product. Besides, it just hurts my brain. I liked it, or I didn’t. That’s good enough for me.

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