Short Fuse Podcast #65: Arts Commentary and Criticism — The Canary in the Mine Shaft

By Elizabeth Howard




Episode Summary

In this episode of the Short Fuse, host Elizabeth Howard and Editor in Chief and founder of the Arts Fuse, Bill Marx, discuss the vital role arts commentary and criticism play in nurturing an open and democratic society. Marx founded the Arts Fuse in 2007 as a reaction to the precipitous decline of commentary on the arts in newspapers. He was alarmed at the whittling down of independent arts coverage over the past three decades — an attenuation that continues to this day. The enfeeblement was passed over in silence, as if it were of no significance. Marx begs to differ, arguing that public discussion of the arts nurtures cultural health. The goal of the Arts Fuse is to treat the arts seriously, to write about them in the same way that other publications cover politics, sports, and business — with professionalism, thoughtfulness, and considerable attitude. The journal’s motto, from Jonathan Swift, sums up the publication’s editorial stance: “Use the point of your pen … not the feather.”

The Arts Fuse has just celebrated its 15th birthday, a milestone for a small, independent magazine dedicated to covering the arts. Over the course of those years the magazine has published over 10,000 articles and now receives 60,000+ visits a month. Ample proof that there is a robust readership for a journalistic publication that believes the arts matter. Precious few independent online arts publications make it to double digits.

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The Short Fuse Podcast is hosted and produced by Elizabeth Howard. Learn more at Elizabeth Howard.

The Short Fuse is distributed through The Arts Fuse, an online journal of arts criticism and commentary.

The Arts Fuse was established in June 2007 as a curated, independent online arts magazine dedicated to publishing in-depth criticism, along with high quality previews, interviews, and commentaries. The publication’s over 60 freelance critics (many of them with decades of experience) cover dance, film, food, literature, music, television, theater, video games, and visual arts. Our core belief: that there is a robust readership for arts coverage that believes that culture matters.

Alex Waters is the technical producer, audio editor, and engineer for The Short Fuse Podcast. He is a music producer and a student at Berklee College of Music. He has written and produced music and edited for podcasts including The Faith, Chai Podcast, and Con Confianza. He writes, produces, and records music for independent artists, including The Living. He lives in Brooklyn and can be reached at with inquiries.

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