The marque would often read: "Critics Choice."
My family and I lived for almost twenty-four years in New Jersey, we lived about thirty miles west of New York City. Often we would go into the city to see a play. Most every time on the marque of the theater of the play we were going to see would be those words: "Critics Choice."
Then and still today when I hear the word critics I smile. Critics choice, for me they often leave a lot to be desired.
Can you imagine that upon your death you were the best selling author in the country. In nine of ten years from 1915 to 1924 you had a new novel that was among the top ten best-selling novels for the entire year. At the time of your death sales of your books had exceeded seventeen million. A press release at this time said of you, "In sales he is exceeded only by the Bible and the Boy Scout Handbook." Pretty strong credentials one would think.
Yet in his obituary the new New York Times wrote---now get this---:
"His art is archaic, with all the traits of archaic art. His style has the stiffness that comes from an imperfect mastery of the medium. It lacks fluency or facility; behind it always we feel a pressure toward expression, a striving for a freer and easier utterance."
Zane Grey--Thomas H. Pauly
Another widely acclaimed literary critic Saturday Review:
"It is difficult to imagine any writer having less merit in either style or substance than (author named) and still maintaining an audience at all." Well now those are very flattering words, you think?
You have to smile, hey people he has sold over 17,000,000 books, somebody is reading his works.
Both critics were writing about Zane Grey--January 31, 1872-October 23, 1939.
And yet often still today the so-called media/critics don't get it...that much of the time the public is not where they are. And for the most part does not want to be. Critics they are not listening, you are not relativity in the lives of millions of folks. Again seventeen million though so in this case.
Frank Sinatra once was ask who he thought was the best critic. His answer: "You the reader, the listener." You.
May 10, 2017