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Photo of Norman Lebrecht

25: Norman Lebrecht

More about Norman Lebrecht

Norman Lebrecht's Free Thought is in defence of criticism, broadcast around 8.30am in Breakfast on 16th October. Or listen to it online right here the next working day.

Your thoughts

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Neil Salvage Brighton
I enjoyed Norman Lebrecht's defence of Criticism but was was a little uneasy about his assertion that the absence of "experienced "critics (whose definition was not really touched upon) could lead to "mob rule".I believe the "democracy" that he feels threatened by their absence is better preserved by a wider range of comment and debate than can be provided by the "experienced" analyst...who, often in the Arts, and particularly in the field I in which I work (Theatre) can provide a stultifying effect: Just because you see a lot of performances does not give you a clearer insight. Sometimes these people who make their living by going from one performance to another can develop jaded -palates.Furthermore there is much value to be gleaned from sample comments from members of the audience who will be able to provide a fresh and honest response at an experience they have paid to see.While we would all distrust comments from promoters who have vested interests, it is not only the "specialists" who have insight. It might be as well to consider this before a term like "mob rule" is bandied about -which smacks of elitism.

Aaron Cross, Worthing, Goring-By-Sea
I actually agree, tentatively, with what Lebrecht has to say on the diminishing value and presence of criticism. I do agree that criticism has been almost subsumed into the endless open dialogue that facebook and blogging pages make possible.I think what is being lamented here is the loss of a certain type, or form of writing, substituted by a more rounded, open ended, coversational style of writing which some might say is evidenced in the endless 'comment is free' style newspapers (no offence to Guardian readers).I think there should be a place presereved for both criticism (perhaps evidenced in TLS and sight and sound style magazines); and too a place for the more 'democratic' style of blogging writings, that can encourage thoughtful, self-reflexive debate and discussion.But yes, to put it shortly, it is a shame to loose all those critics out there who have read the Poetics and the modest proposal, with something informative to add to the reception of new art.

A festival of ideas in Liverpool Friday 31st October - Sunday 2nd November 2008, on radio and online.

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