October 31, 2005

ONLINE | M/C themed 'Review'

M/C - Media and Culture
Current issue themed 'Review' - Edited by Emma Nelms, Kate Cuthbert and Tim Milfull

Reviews occupy an uneasy position in society. There are those that argue that reviewing is an art in itself, that a well-written review stands alone. There are those that argue that reviewers enjoy a parasitic relationship, piggy-backing on another's creation. Still others see reviews as mere advertisements, one more cog in the publicity wheel. Regardless of which faction you support, however, it must be admitted that reviewing is fast becoming one of the most controversial forms of writing.

What is it about reviews that make them so popular (or unpopular) with consumers? Can a review really affect the way consumers act or feel? Why will people read the opinions of a reviewer they already dislike? What gives the critic the right to pass judgement on another person's work and when do we consider them suitably qualified to do so? At what point does one move from being 'Monday's expert' to a valid opinion-holder, whose views would be welcome in a wider public forum?

What is the difference between a run-of-the-mill review and a piece that offers a critical analysis of an art form; and why do some readers prefer one over the other? Is reviewing an art form, and when does a review merely provide a platform for the reviewer? This issue considers these and other aspects of 'review'.