What accounts for the vast difference between the Donkey Sauce recipe you’ve published and the Donkey Sauce in your restaurant? Why has the hearty, rustic appeal of roasted-garlic mayonnaise been replaced by something that tastes like Miracle Whip with minced raw garlic?
And when we hear the words Donkey Sauce, which part of the donkey are we supposed to think about?
Is the entire restaurant a very expensive piece of conceptual art? Is the shapeless, structureless baked alaska that droops and slumps and collapses while you eat it, or don’t eat it, supposed to be a representation in sugar and eggs of the experience of going insane?
Perhaps it is that I have been thinking about Scruton and Burke or perhaps I have a mental affliction that causes me to focus on the positive, but scathing reviews such as the above — a critique of Guy Fieri’s new tourist-focused Manhattan eatery — strike me as being a reflection only of the writer and not the subject. There is only snark and pettiness; there is no illumination.
Though over the top, that’s what most criticism has become. The focus is not upon the positive aspects, the energy and work and potential, but on what the creator should have done if only he were as genius as the critic. The critic is the focal point and, having risked nothing, is better, faster, smarter than the creator.
This dynamic holds true regardless of the expression being dissected.
The singer is being held back and the album is so conventional. The singer took unnecessary risks. The writer is merely entertaining and does not eschew tradition in any properly transgressive way. The writer is too esoteric and diffident to embrace his true power. That still life actually looks like a flower. That abstraction resembles nothing.
Criticism is lazy creation; it’s a way to grasp at the coattails of the true risk-takers without opening oneself up to criticism. Either take the risk yourself or enjoy the risks of others. You are not Siva, you’re just a failed musician.