||05/13/10 11:40 AM
Originally Posted by Jeremy Aaron
I don't necessarily disagree with this entirely. However, I feel like I choose words very carefully to convey the meaning I'm looking for. I would hope that people would like this because they understood it, not because it was over their heads. Granted "chiaroscuro" isn't exactly a common term that everyone knows, but I wouldn't call it antiquated, since as an art technique, it can apply to anything from any period. It doesn't exactly have a synonym I could have used. It does give the sentence the meaning I wanted. In my review for the new Ted Leo album, I referred to Hieronymous Bosch's Ship of Fools painting, for no other reason than the album made me think of it. I pretty much knew going in that much of the audience wouldn't know what it was. The ones who did would understand immediately what I was trying to say. Maybe the others would Google it and learn something. Most probably wouldn't. But oh well. In another review, I mentioned Oceanic Flight 815, knowing that not everyone watches Lost. In this review, I reference The National's last two albums and Interpol, which some readers may not be immediately familiar with. Maybe not everyone understands that Keystone Light is cheap shit that college kids drink or that Paxil turns a bundle of nerves into a functional human being. But I've written over 100 reviews for this site and most of the earlier ones followed typical review conventions, and few generated responses like this has. I think you lose something when you try to write to an audience or anticipate how they might receive something. I was a little concerned that most folks would respond like you, but I just went with it, and I'm happy I did. I've been a lot looser lately with just letting my mind wander and typing out thoughts; people seem to appreciate it more, and it's a lot more fun for me, so for better or worse, I'll probably be sticking to it.
I'm not attempting to discourage you from making obscure references or even using larger words in your works. I'm not trying to say that you should aim for the LCD and not challenge yourself.
That said, there is something to be said for just how you approach it. In your mind, your overuse of large words where smaller ones would do gives the review more meaning, and I'm arguing that it actually gives your review less meaning because exactly what you're driving at isn't readily evident or clear.
Whether you like something or not, the fact is you're publishing on a large site where the audience does expect a certain something in their reviews, and if you continue not to deliver that, then you may run into some problems. You're lucky in a sense because The National is a band that I would assume are enjoyed by more intelligent, educated fans, hence this review being received well. And in no way was I trying to say your review was bad, you made some good points(which I acknowledged) and I do agree that shooting from the hip is most often the best way to write a piece like this you feel strongly about.
You seem to suggest you're writing in this way because it's more of a challenge, though I would argue that writing in a more concise, direct fashion is more of a challenge than writing in this style.
I'm not trying to slander you, I barely read this site anyway and I did enjoy this review far more than some of the others I've read on this site, just making some suggestions based on what I read, which are no doubt informed by my background(English Lit degree, English teacher, professional editor) and this site certainly doesn't require my opinion to be successful, nor do you.