Having done my share of book, music, and architectural reviewing over the years, I can tell you that it’s easy — and a nasty kind of fun — to write a hatchet job. Part of this is because it’s a target-rich environment, as there is always more bad work out there than good. But it’s also typically easier to explain why you really really don’t like a work than it is to explain why you do. Consequently, I prefer to write reviews for stuff I like, because I prefer sharing cool stuff with my readers, but also because it’s more of a challenge.
Of course, sometimes it’s necessary to swing the hatchet — some stuff just warrants it. And that brings us to Heather Wilhelm‘s take on Girls, the HBO series that seems to be the current media darling (though apparently not Nielsen’s). It’s a good example of a scathing review, explaining both its standards of judgement and why it needs to be said (as a contrary voice to the current hype). It’s also a good read.