In the voyeurism of Reality TV, the viewer's passivity is kept intact, pampered and massaged and force-fed Chicken McNuggets of carefully edited snippets that permit him or her to sit in easy judgment and feel superior at watching familiar strangers make fools of themselves. Reality TV looks in only one direction: down.
Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian would have left little more than lipstick stains in their passing had it not been for the sex videos that lofted them into reality-TV notoriety. Once notoriety has warmed into familiarity, celebrity itself becomes one big 'Brady Bunch' reunion, or a therapy session with Dr. Drew.
What's happening to movie critics is no different from what has been meted out to book, dance, theater, and fine-arts reviewers and reporters in the cultural deforestation that has driven refugees into the diffuse clatter of the Internet and Twitter, where some adapt and thrive - such as Roger Ebert - while others disappear without a twinkle.
Bad acting comes in many bags, various odors. It can be performed by cardboard refugees from an Ed Wood movie, reciting their dialogue off an eye chart, or by hopped-up pros looking to punch a hole through the fourth wall from pure ballistic force of personality, like Joe Pesci in a bad mood. I can respect bad acting that owns its own style.
The days when the words 'Hollywood actor' framed Ronald Reagan like bunny fingers as an ID tag and an implied insult seem far-off and quaint: nearly everybody in politics - candidate, consultant, pundit, and Tea Party crowd extra alike - is an actor now, a shameless ham in a hoked-up reality series that never stops.