Image for article, titled How To Be A Successful Cultural Critic, starring William Evans and Omar Holmon

Photo: Micaela Heck / Elena Scotti

Do you have an interesting take on the latest Marvel movie? It itches that someone hears your unique take on Nine Perfect Strangers? This week we learn how to become sophisticated, compelling cultural critics Problems with black nerds Co-founders William Evans and Omar Holmon. Hear William and Omar talk about how to find your mark on criticism, how to develop the thick skin you need against those who want to fight you, and how to decide what to consume and in the deluge of entertainment review out there these days.

Be sure to check out the new book by William and Omar, Problems With Black Nerds: Essayswhich was released just this month.

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Highlights from this week’s episode

William How To Get Readers To Listen To You:

I think it was important for us to start with something we wanted to embrace, right? If there’s a TV show that has all of the aesthetics and I didn’t really feel them, my review started with, ‘Man, I got into this thing and I really wanted to like it and that stopped me from doing it.’ To the right. And I think that’s putting it like someone who likes the show, who wants to read reviews about it, doesn’t go into it, like, “Oh, man, they over here hate my show.” I think this helps us with some readers so that they are more open to any criticism we offer.

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William How to Decide When to Criticize or Not:

My voice may not be needed for everything. It just mustn’t. You know, I think there is a gamut of something right in my wheelhouse where I could feel like an expert and what just interests me? And what else is there outside of my particular experience and expertise? For example, we have an Asian-American writer on the team [named] Mikkel. And the way he and I talked when Superman was Asian-American in the comics. To the right. And as if we were both reading the comic at the same time. And I thought, ‘Yes, I would like to write something about it.’ and [Mikkel] was like, ‘Yeah, I’m really interested in writing about it too.’ I think, ‘Well, you write it then .’… And that’s why I think it’s nice not to be in a silo and not just be like my voice is the only one that counts in something like that and people to have to bounce off … So I don’t envy people who do this alone. There is no way I would do that.

Omar, if you know when you’re ready to share your opinion:

Don’t be afraid to wait to get the needle through the thread. Oh, I have the needle that puts all of these things together. You can really be passionate about something, but better wait until you have all the parts first … because if you write it just to write it, people can say it. It’s like, it’s like, ‘Oh wow. Two lines and a gif, two lines and a gif … “Wait until you can give your audience that much meat too. You will appreciate it [your critique] more for it.

To learn more of Williams and Omar’s insightful tips on effective cultural criticism, we highly recommend listening to the entire episode.

Episode transcript