As you probably know, Indiewire is discontinuing its blog network at the end of this month. Some of the individual blogs, like The Playlist and Women and Hollywood, are moving to new places on the web, or already have; some are still seeking them. Criticwire is staying right where it is, but its existence as a self-contained daily blog ends today, as does my tenure as its editor.
As Indiewire’s Deputy Editor Eric Kohn explains, “Criticwire was envisioned as a portal for film criticism driven by curation, a way to cut through the noise and define how the process of intelligent discussion about movies survives today. We started the blog to keep this concept alive when the Criticwire Network went offline during a redesign. When it relaunched, the blog had taken off, but the network was still there. So it’s always been a bit of a two-headed beast.”
“Now, we’re looking at it as the single entity it was always designed to be: We’re going to be polling critics every week, running big tentpole surveys of the best films of the year, and covering some of the best film writing out there — while doing our best to host some of our own. So a lot of the stuff people can find on Criticwire will be around on our site.”
I’ll still be contributing to Indiewire on a regular basis, as well as to numerous other freelance outlets. You can reach me at email@example.com, or find me on Twitter. I’m there a lot.
Having taken a public stand in favor of long, thank-you-filled speeches, a few of my own. (Feel free to skip ahed to the one-armed push-ups.) Thanks, first, to Eric and to Indiewire Editor-in-Chief Dana Harris, who handed me the keys to the site in July of 2013 and rarely peeked over my shoulder. For better and sometimes less-better, Criticwire has for the past three years been a near-instantaneous outlet for my unfiltered thoughts on film, TV, and the culture at large. It’s a privilege to open a blank document each day and not know where you’ll end up.
There would be no Criticwire without Matt Singer, the site’s founding editor, and it would have been a far less interesting place without Vikram Murthi and Max O’Connell, whose contributions enlivened the site daily. As much as anything Criticwire accomplished, I’m proud of the fact that Max went on to a job at the Rapid City Journal and Vikram is a regular contributor to places like Indiewire and the A.V. Club. (Read this piece Vikram wrote about negotiating the relationship between his immigrant parents and “Mad Men’s” Don Draper, then give him some more work.) Their voices are very much worth hearing, as are those of the Critics Academy participants I had the pleasure of working with, and the writers that Criticwire’s Daily Reads allowed us to lift above the din. I have to thank every critic who participated in the Criticwire Surveys, one more way in which we tried to make the ideal of critical dialogue a reality: So many great writers contributed every week, and it was a pleasure and a privilege to have their words pass through my hands.
Most importantly, I have to thank Criticwire’s readers, who inspired me and kept me going and occasionally called me on my bullshit. (One nice thing about writing on the Internet: You never have to fear that someone will fail to point it out when you’re wrong.) Three years doesn’t seem like a long time, but I’ve been fortunate to hear from people who told me that Criticwire made a difference to the way they think about movies and TV, and that it stood for something, which is all I could have asked for. In many respects, the site was an experiment, an ongoing search for new ways to engage audiences in the ancient art of criticism, and we succeeded more often than not. I’d hesitate to place Criticwire in the lofty company of The Dissolve, but that site’s brief, glorious lifetime serves as a reminder that good things last as long as they last, and what matters is carrying that spirit onward rather than mourning its demise. It isn’t snow in April; it’s just a little rain.