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Jonny's Blog: Issue 4

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Prince of the Squirtle Squad
I was looking over some of my old books, and I picked up my copy of Betrayal, by Harold Pinter. It's a play about three people who have various affairs. It is also quite possibly the dreariest, most boring and pointless book imaginable. I suppose it's the type of play that takes most of its drama from implicit understandings and messages. But as is often the case, I feel as if I'm searching for messages that might not even exist and so as a result the whole thing just comes across as dull, dull, dull.

However, this is a play that was met with critical acclaim, and the writer won the Nobel Prize for Literature. So this seems at odds with the nature of the play itself.
It could easily be argued that Betrayal isn't something I "get" and that a subtle approach is far better. But it raised an important question: why do we rely on critics a lot of the time to gauge if something is good or not?

A review is an interesting thing. It can be helpful in something like a game, since this is a medium that demands interaction and if that portion is broken, even if everything else works, it can be hugely detrimental. A film, though, is different: it's something that passes by without any input from its audience. This makes your own opinion, in a way, more important since you cannot have any influence over what happens. It is a fixed thing.
I suppose what I find interesting is how we take the word of someone else (who probably has different tastes to us) as a reference point as to whether or not we pursue something. Even in the case of an average score being produced by lots of people, it doesn't necessarily mean that we will automatically like something as a result of a high score.

Finally, it's arguable that we view things with the wrong criteria in mind. Take a film like Pokemon: The Movie. The first one has a 14% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But you're reviewing it as an adult instead of a child: you're not the target audience, and if you viewed the film in the way it's *meant* to be viewed you would probably come out with a far more realistic score.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that people seem too ready to take other people's views as a barometer for what they buy, and in many cases this can be helpful. But ultimately, the only real way to know if you'll like or dislike something is to try it, and many people seem to forget that.

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