The Existential Pain of the Critic and the Physical Pain of the Dreidel: Links You Need to See


It’s easy to assume that critics hate everything. My mother assumes I hate every movie we’ve ever watched together because I’m so critical. Sometimes it’s hard to turn off that little voice in your head that nitpicks the things you love. Dana Wollman of Engadget described the nature of the critic’s double-edged sword in an essay about the difficulties of having to buy herself a new laptop. That’s the conundrum that comes with being well-informed: it’s harder to choose if you know everything about every choice that exists. At least Wollman is willing to pay a fair price for her gear — when she doesn’t get it sent to her for free.

Musicians, professional or amateur, cannot expect the same courtesy from their fans.

Spotify released an interactive “year in music” page, which shows users their most listened-to songs and albums of 2015. The Verge combined their personal listening information with the scant information they have about Spotify’s per-play royalty rates. The result? Well, let’s just say it’s safe to assume that only the most obsessed streamers listened to their favorite artists enough to “pay” for their albums. (Lizzie Plaugic, the author of the piece, estimates that you’d have to stream an album’s tracks 1,190 times for the album’s rights holders to earn $10.)

There will always be fans willing to go the extra mile, though. Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight will only see limited release in 2015. The theaters that show it will have a special, extended cut of the film released in 70mm. In light of a recent story from the New York Times about the difficulties theaters face when attempting to screen a film in a format that would be dead if not for cinephiles, A.V. Club‘s Charles Bramesco argues that maybe the time is right for theaters and studios to push a 70mm revival in order to add value to the moviegoing experience.

On an entirely different note, I don’t know what happened to Jen Spyra to incite a desire to write about a dreidel fight club for McSweeney’s, but whatever it was, it was probably for the best. Monday will only be the second night of the holiday, but it doesn’t seem too early to call “Ultimate Dreidel Fighting Rules” the best Hanukkah article of 2015:

“Listen closely. You want to dance with the four-sided devil, you play my way. We throw down San-Juan style. That’s no holds barred, raw-dog jungle justice. If that gets your dick hard, you’re in the right goddamn place. If it sounds like a little more than you bargained for, then drop some change in the Tsedaka box on your way out — because once I bar the door, you’re in my world. And you’re either down to pound or you can get the fuck out of my Chanukah party.”

Dreidel-based combat, no matter how violent, pales in comparison to the incessant squabbling between media organizations. In the ongoing battle between Gawker and The Daily Mail, the two organizations have come to an impasse. The Daily Mail demands that Gawker compensate them for an allegedly libelous account from a former reporter. Now, according to the New York Post , Gawker said The Daily Mail‘s reputation is so bad it can’t be libeled.

Jeez, everyone’s a critic these days.