Foucaulf's review of Antonio's review of Scott's "The Sunset"
Criticism, applied to a piece intended to be taken seriously, usually takes less time to produce than the piece. In the case where the piece is already of little merit, the criticism will likely be ignored even more than the piece. Recognition of the problem would lead someone to spice up their criticism with flair, an exaggerated incomprehension of what made the piece possible. It is too bad most, Antonio included, does not realize the problem.
What criticism in this review - and how much is there to criticize that isn't immediately obvious? - tries too hard to be funny. Consider the following paragraph:
Where is the conflict? Any form of drama needs a conflict (be it between characters, within a character, between a character and an abstract concept or a situation...). But in The Sunset, nothing indicates that anything like that will arise. Since we have no idea who Fanny is, we can't tell how she will react if Marty eventually comes to terms with his feelings. Marty's feelings themselves do not provide a conflict, since they are barely even mentioned. Come on, you are telling me that you devolved five miserable lines to what is supposed to be the central issue of your plot? Besides, what good can come out of a plot that revolves entirely around a character not being able to spit it out? Come on, you've got to have more than that!
The joke is that the characters are unrealistic and wooden; this much is obvious. Yet Antonio feels the need to lecture on what "conflict" means and justify his claim that there is no conflict in the story. Near the end the style becomes almost pleading, as if Antonio realizes himself he is overexplaining things, begging himself to believe he needs all this verbiage.
Egoism permeates this review, as if we haven't had enough of that given the review's object is a vanity project. Antonio's relentless formalist analysis seems more to convince the reader that he is smarter than Scott and a better writer. But the problem is not that Scott is dumb, or of intelligence in general: it is about what possesses someone to write bad prose and think others will care.