Author(s): A. O. Scott
Few could explain, let alone seek out, a career in criticism. Yet what A. O. Scott shows in Better Living Through Criticism is that we are, in fact, all critics: because critical thinking informs almost every aspect of artistic creation, of civil action, of interpersonal life. With penetrating insight and humour, Scott shows that while individual critics - himself included - can make mistakes and find flaws where they shouldn't, criticism as a discipline is one of the noblest, most creative and urgent activities. Using his own film criticism as a starting point - everything from an infamous dismissal of the international blockbuster The Avengers to his intense affection for Pixar's animated Ratatouille - Scott expands outwards, easily guiding readers through the complexities of Rilke and Shelley, the origins of Chuck Berry and the Rolling Stones, the power of Marina Abramovic and 'Ode on a Grecian Urn.' Scott shows that real criticism was and always will be the breath of fresh air that allows true creativity to thrive. As he puts it: 'The time for criticism is always now, because the imperative to think clearly, never goes away.'
The New York Times chief film critic shows why we need criticism now more than ever
A. O. Scott has been a film critic at the New York Times since 2000. His writing has appeared in many other publications, including the New York Review of Books, Slate, the New Yorker and the Nation. A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism in 2010, Scott is currently Distinguished Professor of Film Criticism at Wesleyan University. He lives with his family in Brooklyn, New York. @aoscott