From Iceland — Sour Grapes

Sour Grapes

Published August 10, 2007

Sour Grapes

Now we all know that “the opinion of the columnists don’t” reflect the opinion of the Reykjavik grapevine” is a little legal disclaimer trick to get you out of moral defamation lawsuits. But it seems that any time columnists’ articles are criticized you use this as your only comeback, it’s not boring to do that, it’s just lame. Of course the columnists opinions are not yours, but who picked the columnists? Shouldn’t you take some kind of responsibility for the views you choose to espouse in your newspaper, if not in a strictly legal sense, at least let’s be honest with the readers. And if your only comeback is still going to be that little old line, why don’t you let the columnists reply?
Sara Gauthier Campbell
Dear Sara Gauthier Campbell, You seem to be referring to last issue’s “Sour Grapes”, where a couple of gripes against our columnists were answered by quoting that boring old clause. Now, as a rule, responding to criticism is lame (see below) – especially when it concerns something so subjective as opinions on music or advertising. So, we won’t. That said, our columnists are more than capable of defending themselves and are alloted an 800 word free reign per issue to arrange however they fancy. Be it analyzing music scenes, criticizing advertising or – God forbid – responding to critics.

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Dear Women-or-couples-under-45-with-or-without-children- who-have-set-up-home-away-from-Britain, Here’s your chance to make some quid, quick. Be sure to mail 10% to the usual address.

Dear Grapevine,
Due to your issue last month with the cover about exporting Icelandic music, I really have to criticize your critics…
A critic is someone who analysis something and returned a valued judgment on the item. There are various forms of criticism, both positive and negative, but most importantly it should impartial an unbiased otherwise it doesn’t have any relevance.
Recently, I only seem to read negative criticism in the press, from people who obviously have their specific tastes and judges everything else according to those. On top of that, those critics are competing so hard with one another to stuff as many witty and negative comments to tarnish the item in question in the most original ways, that it’s hard to find anything positive in the review.
I noticed this when I read that previous issue of Grapevine last month. There was page with each album review worse then the next. When you finally brushed a trash from the critics words, there was little left about the album itself and you know nothing about it except it was bad and not worth listening to. The irony is that these were all Icelandic albums and you had on the cover of this issue a headline about exporting Icelandic music.
There on that page was blatantly obvious the critics were in a self masturbation contest with each other to see who could ridicule or put down an album the most. It felt like reading an online chatroom log between spotty 14 year old teens, where the only way for themselves to look cool, is to say something bad about someone else: “This album is like yo’ momma. Loud whine that no-one want to listen to”.
The most ““positive”” (needed en extra pair of “quotation marks” there) bit of criticism on the page was on the line of on critic being surprised that a bands debut album did actually manage not to stink so bad. He quickly adds though that this means the only way for the band from here is down. So he’s already labeled the next album as a flop and is probably right now in the thesaurus looking for synonyms for the word “disaster”.
Since these reviews in Grapevine, I’ve noticed more and more of this type of criticism.
Thanks to the web culture, anyone who can pound aimlessly on a keyboard is a certified critic. Then of course only the juice criticisms are chosen since they make more amusing reading material. Who wants to read how much I enjoyed listening to an album when stories of seizures due to bad musical performances get much more attention.
Excuse me if I’m starting to sound like your critics. I see a similar style with me, but I don’t expect everybody to listen to me by publishing this so everyone can see that I am right.
What happened to all the good critics that had some sense between their ears due to knowledge, age or occupation in the field of the item being criticized?
These days, it feels like finicky eaters which only eat hotdogs, are forcing themselves into all the fine restaurants, just to spit out reindeer carpaccio because it’s too raw. It’s obvious the venom on their tongues has already destroyed all their sense of taste.
The word “criticism” does not imply the need to be negative. People just feel that way, because either you criticize something or you praise it. And since the page said album criticism, the writers were better not trying to stray into the praise area.
But criticism in naturally both. I hope the Grapevine staff re-reads their reviews from that aforementioned issue and see what I mean.
Hopefully I can see some reviews that have some reference I can follow in the coming issues
Best regards,
Ragnar Eythorsson
Dear Ragnar,
Have you considered that the albums in question might’ve just sucked a lot?Not saying they did, but who knows? A lot of crap is released these days. In any case, how come you never write us positive letters, praising us? We have as many feelings in our tender hearts as any rock band out there. And we certainly don’t try and sell ‘em to you for 1.899 ISK.

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