Kathy Brewis: dumbing-down journalism

by Stephen Tall on October 27, 2009

Kathy Brewis asks in The Times, Who are the curators kidding?, attacking the soon-to-be-reopened Ashmolean Museum in Oxford for (that tired old hack’s cliche) “dumbing-down”.

The irony, which doubtless will escape Ms Brewis is this: she hasn’t stepped foot in the revamped museum.

Yes, that’s right a journalist who complains of dumbing-down has done so by spewing out 900 words without undertaking any primary research beyond a bit of Googling, and parsing a press release. I didn’t actually trouble to read Ms Brewis’s article in full – I really didn’t see the need to do so before deciding to attack her: I mean, why bother? [/irony] – but this sentence did catch my eye:

I loved the old Ashmolean. I don’t want to “discover how civilisations developed as part of an interrelated world culture”. I want to look at something really peculiar with a sense of awe and wonder at its otherness.

I have no problem with Ms Brewis taking pleasure in gaping slack-jawed at peculiar things without bothering to place them in any kind of international, historical, social or cultural context. But I don’t think it’s the Ashmolean which is guilty here of dumbing-down.

If you want an informed journalistic take on the new Ashmolean, try this article by Jonathan Glancey instead.

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5 comments

New post: Kathy Brewis: dumbing-down journalism http://stephentall.org/?p=16721

by Stephen Tall on October 27, 2009 at 12:25 pm. Reply #

I thought it was quite weak as well.

http://tallenin.wordpress.com/ for my opinion on thematic exhibitions.

by Tallenin on October 27, 2009 at 3:37 pm. Reply #

That reminds me, I need to book another hotel for me and the missus to come back to Oxford early next year. The Ashmolean was closed when we came back in March and it was one of the things we had wanted to see most!

by Mark Reckons on October 27, 2009 at 7:32 pm. Reply #

RT @stephentall Kathy Brewis: dumbing-down journalism http://stephentall.org/?p=16721 + preview of new Ashmolean http://bit.ly/2Bdw3i

by Duncan Stott on October 27, 2009 at 10:58 pm. Reply #

Think you missed the point, frankly… but I agree Jonathan Glancey's article v good.

by Kathy Brewis on February 14, 2013 at 5:10 pm. Reply #

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