The Playgoer: NY Critic Myopia

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

NY Critic Myopia

“If it’s not in The New Yorker, it doesn’t exist in the culture.”

So said John Lahr, reportedly, to the crowd at a recent NEA conference for arts journalists at USC's Annenburg School. In case you didn't know, Lahr is the lead critic for... The New Yorker.

In this article, Missoula, Montana critic Joe Nickell begs to differ.

I actually respect and enjoy reading Lahr quite a lot. Even if I think he's wacky on what he likes sometimes. (Neil LaBute, Mr. Marmalade.) And I want to allow for the possibility he's quoted a wee bit out of context. (Would he really want to walk into a room of regional theatre critics and say Fuck You???)

But at the very least, he should have a sit-down with Jill Abramson and determine once and for all just who is the arbiter of culture!

You also gotta laugh when you realize how hypocritical Lahr would be in saying the only theatre that matters is in New York when he famously lives in London most of the year. (I know, same difference.)

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