If you thought the work of a critic was glamorous, Arts Fuse critics Matt Hanson and Lucas Spiro prove you wrong. On this episode the boys tackle some of the behind the scenes stuff about writing critiques, particularly book reviews. For their inspiration, they discuss the cover essay from this April’s Harper’s by Christian Lorentzen called “Like This or Die: The fate of the book review in the age of the algorithm.”
If you’re a fan of the podcast or the magazine, you know Arts Fuse writers are sworn adversaries of the dreaded algorithm. It may ultimately replace us and, if done well, could lead to some good recommendations. But, given the rather unimpressive nature of artificial intelligence when it comes to culture, and the anti-intellectual, anti-creative ambitions of corporations, no binge-watcher is safe from having their tastes manipulated — for the sake of profit, power, or marketing — by some nefariously malignant code. So, for the time being, keep us around a while longer. If you feel like it.
Lucas Spiro is a writer living outside Boston. He studied Irish literature at Trinity College Dublin and his fiction has appeared in the Watermark. Generally, he despairs. Occasionally, he is joyous.