John Dryden
A drama critic's turn to face the music

Critics don't get much respect. (Pause here for raucous laughter.) If you doubt it, look up the word "critic" in any book of quotations and see what you find. H.L. Mencken's "New Dictionary of Quotations" is full of zinger after zinger, most of which revolve around a single theme: Those who cannot do, review. I especially like this sulfurous couplet by John Dryden: "They who write ill, and they who ne'er durst write / Turn critics out of mere revenge and spite." Is that true? Not really -- yet there's some truth in it, especially when it comes to my particular line of work. While a fair number of playwrights and directors have written...