Criticaster [kri-ti-KAS-ter]: a minor, incompetent critic. The ending -aster is used to form nouns referring to someone who is inept or unskillful in a certain sphere of activity, for example, poetaster, a person who writes bad poetry, or medicaster, a person who falsely claims to have medical skills.*
Used in a paragraph: Dance critics who write for newspapers and magazines might think that dance bloggers, myself included, are criticasters because we don’t necessarily have journalism degrees and years of professional experience writing about dance, and therefore lack the authority to critique. I disagree. As dance criticism becomes more internet-based, via blogs and online journals, I think it’s important to reconsider the qualifications one needs to write and critique dance. I’m not suggesting that we throw the craft of criticism out the window, as that would lead to us all being criticasters. However, the dance bloggers I’ve met (and whose blogs I read regularly) are passionate, dedicated dance-goers who love sharing their opinions and observations with others by means of their blogs. None of them have made it to journalism school (yet), but dedication to and passion for dance are just as or perhaps even more important than a journalism degree and dance background. So, shouldn’t bloggers and “mainstream” critics be treated as equals?
*This definition comes from Totally Weird and Wonderful Words, edited by Erin McKean. It’s a wonderfully entertaining, whimsical book filled with hundreds of rare, bizarre, and obsolete words.