Criticism and common sense

by Daniele Cernilli 07/10/17
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La critica e il buon senso

The elistit behaviour of many of those who define themselves as 'critics', often due to the attitude of 'cultural' superiority, is simply useless and even harmful. 

There is an anomaly that is quite widespread in criticism whether it deals with music, literature, cinema and even wine and food. I was reminded of it after the recent death of actor Paolo Villagio because, like fellow comedian Totò and, in the world of art Roy Lichtenstein, he was undeservedly under-rated by critics in their lifetime for reasons that with hindsight appear to be totally unacceptable. Much of this has to so with the “cultural” superiority that many critics suffer from and that often results in viewing popular success as something vulgar and below them. What makes everything even more ridiculous is that many of them, even in our sector, define themselves as being “on the Left” and yet they betray this by not respecting what one of the fathers of Italian socialism, Antonio Gramsci, had to say on the argument.

But I’m getting off track here. In our small world many such instances can often be found. For example, if a wine enjoys a certain ‘popular’ success, appreciated by the vast public but not the trendy wine snobs, then certain wine critics do not like it. They consider it to be part of a “fad” or “banal” and “contrived wine-wise”. Examples of this that come to mind are Sauvignon Sanet Valentin, the Montepulciano of Marina Cvetic, the Vintage Tunina of Jermann and even the Arneis Blangé from Ceretto or Berlucchi’s Franciacorta, all wines that made their mark and still enjoy great success today. A similar situation exists in the restaurant sector, with the great examples of traditional cuisine, like Cantarelli’s place we wrote about last week, are not adequately appreciated because they do not meet the “esthetic” ideals of the majority of critics.

All this being the case, let me have my say. I believe that criticism based on an elitist attitude is simply useless and even harmful. I think that even in our sector certain critics are shortsighted and out of touch in dealing with the public and this is one of the reasons why there is a crisis in communication in the world of wine and food. Much of what can be found on the Web, on the other hand, is much more reasonable and based on common sense and economic compatibility. I am convinced that the elitist and snob attitudes of many of those who define themselves as “critics” is a contradiction with what their authentic role should be, that of informing the public with intellectual honesty and judging from the reader’s point of view. I’ll stop here but I will get back to the subject depending on what you all think, so let me know.





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