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Comments: Week of December 20, 2010


1. Each December, we invite our critics to create their top-ten lists of the year in culture; then we go online to see how our commenters critique the critics. Nitsuh Abebe’s pop list (The Top 10,” December 13) received mostly positive reviews. “A list that ignores reflexive hipsterism and just lists albums that sound good,” lauded a commenter. “Great list, and agreed on Vampire Weekend.” “I felt the exact same way about the new Kanye. I didn’t want to love it as much as I do,” wrote another. Abebe’s list emphasized his personal relationship with the music, a strategy readers complimented. “I love it,” wrote one. “At the end of the day, your year was your year. It’s super-personal to everyone. I appreciate that you make us all feel like our musical tastes are important.” Still, there were some dissenters: “No Beach House? Victoria Legrand’s voice is amazing.” “Things music critics and the Internet like: [indie dance-pop star] Robyn. People would rather dance and do the dishes to Katy Perry’s ‘Teenage Dream.’ Including this music snob.” Movie critic David Edelstein’s fondness for Winter’s Bone earned him some harsh words among our cinephile commenters. “I just saw this, and while it’s admirable that it explores a people and place rarely seen on film, it’s a bore,” critiqued one. “Just because a film is slow-paced, overacted, and ‘independent’ doesn’t mean it is good,” agreed another. “I appreciate the Italian Vincere so much,” praised a commenter. “One of the best movies on contemporary history, made of dreamy images. And the actors were really inspired.” “Don’t listen to these left-brainers. You’re the only critical thinker out there,” proclaimed another Edelstein defender. “You’re the only one that keeps your eyes open.” Jerry Saltz’s roundup of the year’s best art shows in New York also got tweaked by amateur reviewers. “I don’t know. Adolf Ziegler, John Currin, and Thomas Kinkade left me gasping about your judgment. Not a great list except for ‘#class,’ ” noted a commenter. “Awesome to have ‘#class’ in the list!” added another. Others weighed in: “Bruce Gagnier’s show at the Lori Bookstein gallery last spring was much better than the shows Jerry’s listed here”; “ ‘Chaos and Classicism’ [Saltz’s No. 1 pick] has some nice stuff, but the Guggenheim show is overwhelmingly confusing.” It was Emily Nussbaum’s top ten for television, however, which named NBC’s comedy Community No. 1, that sparked a particularly lusty debate. Many applauded her decisions. “Bless you, Emily, for putting Community at the #1 spot,” praised a commenter on “It is often the first thing I think of waking up Thursday morning.” “It’s the best comedy to come out in years and the only one to ever equal, if not surpass, Arrested Development,” added another. “It says something about the quality of [the show] that it beat out Mad Men in inarguably the latter’s best season yet,” wrote a third. The cast of Community also tweeted enthusiastically about their ranking, with creator Dan Harmon noting, “New York Magazine officially named ‘only magazine that counts’ by Community staff.” Other readers just wanted to hash out shows they thought were deserving of recognition: “I would like to protest one omission—Party Down” … “Modern Family couldn’t make your list?” … “Parks and Recreation would top my list” … “I just don’t understand how Sons of Anarchy can be left off” … “Cougar Town is the most underrated comedy on TV right now” … “I regularly watch six of the shows on this list, and they’re great, but Breaking Bad is better than all of them” … “A glaring omission is FX’s The League” … “I’m really surprised that Friday Night Lights didn’t make it” … “Wait, Emily, let me get this straight. Are you the only person on who doesn’t watch Gossip Girl?

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