Death of the Critic

What is Death of the Critic?

Written by: Tom Blaich

It has been a long few months since we set out on this journey, and since late last fall, we have been discussing the fundamentals behind the usage of criticism and how we can apply it to different types of media. This raises an important question that we now need to answer? Why do we do what we do, and why is this site called
Death of the Critic?

I created this site so that I could take two things that I’m very passionate about: the study of criticism and theory and different kinds of media, and combine them together. I wanted to broaden the discussion that we have about our media. To look at media of all types and talk about them in a different way than we are used to. To apply the fundamentals of academic style criticism in a much more layman friendly way. To let media that wouldn’t normally see this kind of attention be dissected and discussed in order to better understand it.

The name of this site comes from the 1967 essay “Death of the Author” by French critic Roland Barthes. It advocates against a single, definitive reading of any work based of off the author’s experiences and intent. Essentially, there is no single, correct reading of a text, and it doesn’t matter what the original author says a work means. Every reading is valid if it can be supported, as a text is a product of the many influences and cultures it has interacted with throughout its creation. A text is like a sponge, soaking up ideas, and every time you squeeze it, the puddle of water that it produced changes shape.

So we try to take this concept and apply it to the way in which we talk about media. Last week we showed you a short example of an explication, and in the weeks before that we tried to give a crash course in the use of criticism. But we are not the only voice about a piece of media. We are not always right, in fact, we might never be, and we freely admit that. What we want to do is help others learn to talk about media, and hear more of these diverse reading that every text offers. We lead by example, describing how you can critique instead of prescribing how you must.

It is why we do what we do. We mix in more traditional reviews, opinion pieces, and series to allow time for these in-depth, critical articles to be written and published. And we will continue teaching as we go along. We just ask that you come along for the ride.


Tom has been writing about media since he was a senior in high school. He likes long walks on the beach, dark liquor, and when characters reload guns in action movies.

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