->''"It '''stinks'''"!''
-->-- '''Jay Sherman''', ''WesternAnimation/TheCritic''

The Straw Critic is the bane of all living writers, performers, and other artists everywhere. He comes in two forms, both of which live to AccentuateTheNegative:

# The guy who only likes TrueArt, which is, of course, [[TrueArtIsAngsty angsty]], foreign, [[TrueArtIsIncomprehensible incomprehensible]], daring, political, and created by someone who is [[TrueArtIsAncient long since dead]]. He [[FanHater thinks less of you]] for liking whatever it is that [[ItsPopularNowItSucks you do like]], and firmly believes that ViewersAreMorons. After all, if viewers weren't morons, they obviously wouldn't be watching LowestCommonDenominator crap!
# The guy who is incapable of understanding TrueArt, and judges it harshly based on its stubborn failure to hold to any conventional formal scheme.

Any character in fiction who is described as a well-known or influential critic, an editor, or as an English professor, is likely to be a Straw Critic as well as an insufferable snob.

A variant of the Straw Critic is the Straw Editor, who takes joy in rejecting perfectly good story submissions, [[ExecutiveMeddling demanding ridiculous changes]], and otherwise has no purpose in life other than to make the writer's AuthorAvatar miserable.

Critics and editors often attract the ire of writers, because it's their job to tell people when stories suck. Needless to say, "Your story sucks" is not something most writers want to hear, which sometimes leads to a writer becoming a bit bitter and filling their stories with subtle and not-so-subtle jabs at the editors and critics who are too closed-minded to appreciate them properly. Frequently involved in a TakeThatCritics moment.

Can occasionally be a case of TruthInTelevision, since some critics have been known to make pronouncements about media which they haven't even seen firsthand. But this rarely happens so spectacularly as in fiction.

As with other tropes in TheWarOnStraw, please refrain from adding TruthInTelevision examples, as there is a very thin line between an actual Straw Critic and a troper attempting to portray [[Administrivia/ComplainingAboutShowsYouDontLike a critic they don't like]] as one.

See also ReviewerStockPhrases. Compare FanDumb, UnpleasableFanbase, CausticCritic, and {{FanHater}}s.

----
!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Noboru Yamaguchi of ''Manga/CromartieHighSchool'' describes himself as an expert of comedy, despising vulgar, sophomoric jokes that are made and being critical to successful acts of comedy. The latter includes hiring a ventriloquist as a new right-hand man, finding out what makes the in-show Pootan so popular, and admiring his rival 'Honey Boy' (Takashi Kamiyama) for a sense of humor Yamaguchi has yet to surpass.
* ''Manga/{{Bakuman}}'' has an arc with a new editor, Miura, who has a passion for gag mangas that he tries to force onto the protagonists. After a lot of argument he and the protagonists find a compromise, getting into a style that the protagonists prefer, but with much more humour. His approach is partially influenced by his believing that gag mangas generally do better and, being a new editor, needing to edit a successful series in order to keep his job.
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[[folder:Comicbooks]]
* Creator/JMichaelStraczynski's Franchise/{{Superman}}: Grounded had an entire slew of straw critics in the form of reporters asking Superman a series of ([[StrawmanHasaPoint perfectly reasonable]]) questions about why he randomly decided to walk across America. Not only does this attempt completely fail to recognize the in-universe hypocrisy (Clark Kent is a reporter) but it also foreshadowed that we'd get a series where basic logic is ignored (even though the story is ''supposed'' to take place in a more realistic depiction of America) in favor of [[{{Superdickery}} Superman being a dick.]]
** Hilariously JMS gave up on the series completely because it sucked. A series that uses a Straw Critic in its very first issue pretty much screams "I refuse to do my job competently!".
* From ''ComicBook/TheSandman'' story "Calliope," one of the many story ideas Ric Madoc devises [[spoiler:after he is cursed with "ideas in abundance" by the Sandman, in a case of BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor]] involves "the fraternity of critics": "In reality a dark brethren, linked by profane rites and blood vows. To destroy an author they sacrifice a child and perform a [[{{Pun}} critical mass]]..."
* DC has a few of these: Funky Flashman (created by JackKirby as a thinly-disguised and none-too-affectionate parody of StanLee) and Superboy-Prime (a parody of the very worst aspects of the continuity-obsessed forum-posting online fan) both spring to mind.
* The ''{{Viz}}'' strip "The Critics" is a type one parody.
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[[folder:Film]]
* One character in ''Film/LadyInTheWater'' is a movie critic whose primary traits are that he is very GenreSavvy and is extremely jaded. He sometimes gives advice to the other characters. Eventually, he suffers from DeathByGenreSavviness. It's worth mentioning that the director Creator/MNightShyamalan's most recent movie at the time, ''The Village'', had been critically panned, something which did not go unnoticed or unremarked upon by many of the real-life critics who reviewed the movie. RogerEbert found that in fact, the Straw Critic got ''off easy''.
* ''Film/HistoryOfTheWorldPartI'' has The First Artist in the Prehistoric segment painstakingly paint an animal on the cave wall. He is followed by "the inevitable afterbirth, the First Critic," who pisses on the First Artist's painting.
* In ''Film/{{The Raven|2012}}'' (2012), the killer's first victim is a literary critic who had bashed Creator/EdgarAllanPoe's work, and had been killed with a contraption from "The Pit and the Pendulum", which leads the Baltimore police to call on Poe himself to help solve the crime.
* In ''Film/TheatreOfBlood'', VincentPrice plays a Shakespearean actor who kills the critics who had panned him. While dueling with one (the only one who makes it to the end of the film), he delivers an AuthorTract lashing out at critics.
* Subverted in the Tony Hancock film 'The Rebel' where George Sander's art critic Sir Charles Broward is portrayed as being the only one to recognise that Hancock's work is actually rubbish and that Paul Massie is the real genius.
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[[folder:Literature]]
* PiersAnthony wrote a short story, "Nonent", which he included in a short story collection called "Alien Plot" that consisted of stories of his that he had tried and failed to publish elsewhere. In "Nonent", an alien [[ASimplePlan comes up with a plan]] to destroy humanity. The alien is going to do this by shutting down printed fiction so that everyone will turn into TV-watching degenerate zombies and destroy themselves. Earth has too many publishing houses to destroy directly, but he finds a weakness - they accept and evaluate unsolicited submissions. He writes a short story that will cause anyone who reads the beginning it to be compelled to finish (unless they're already a degenerate zombie), and the last page contains a picture that [[BrownNote will drive anyone who sees it insane]]. The story ends with the alien receiving a pile of rejection letters. The reason the plot failed [[DontExplainTheJoke is left unstated]]. [[spoiler:Not one editor finished reading the story!]]
** As {{Anvilicious}} as that is, it may have some small basis in reality. In talking about his career, Anthony said that he used to do detailed, extensive write-ups for stories, all of which were rejected. When he started submitting small blurbs that basically communicated nothing more than the general idea of what he wanted to write, he got approved. Which doesn't make the story any less strawmannish, really, but hey, write what you know.
** The opening chapter of ''Currant Events'' had an evil version of Clio, Muse of History parroting frequent complaints about the Xanth series. (The real Clio responds to this by basically saying "Yeah? So What?")
* DeanKoontz's novel ''Relentless'' was about a cabal of sinister critics trying to drive down cultural standards.
* Even Creator/{{Voltaire}} gets into this in his novel ''{{Candide}}''. In the later chapters there's Count Pococurante who owns an extensive library of great literature. But he's incapable of enjoying anything and ruthlessly critiques all of it. The character also counts as SelfParody- all of his literary opinions are those of Voltaire himself, who also a pretty snarky guy- but the character takes it to insufferable levels.
* Creator/RobertAHeinlein's ''Literature/TheNumberOfTheBeast'' has a "Critics' Lounge" where literary critics are trapped. Lazarus Long is sure that it will get rid of his problem with critics because in order to escape, you must be able to read plain text without distorting or "interpreting" the meaning, which he implies that critics cannot do.
** Although he does mention that the lounge is only intended for the ''worst'' critics -- simple book reviewers and suchlike aren't even given an invitation to go in there. So this may avert the trope in that "critic" is being used as a referent for "reviewer with an agenda", as opposed to the more standard definition of "someone who comments on a creative work".
* Mikhail Bulgakov's ''Literature/TheMasterAndMargarita'' featured some of those, based on the real critics he had to put up with (as well as literary bureaucrats and so on). He then had a witch utterly trash the apartment of one of them.
* The last page or so of [[MacdonaldHall Macdonald Hall Goes Hollywood]] describes a film critic who hasn't liked a single thing he's ever seen in his whole life... until he happens to watch the video tape made by one of the characters that happened to capture all of the crazy events that took place during the novel. Which the critic, of course, immediately declares to be brilliant.
* Dean Koontz's ''Relentless'' has as its villain a hack of a literary critic who disdains works that aren't deconstructionist and postmodern, locking on to the main character because he writes stuff that's conventional. Not only that, but he's part of a murderous cabal that's literally out to restructure cultural standards through low-key terrorism.
* In the third novel of the ''BabylonFive'' Psi-Corps trilogy, a fugitive Bester makes a career of this as a literary critic who ''never'' gives a positive review (A typical review: The plot is revealed on a need-to-know basis. You don't need to know). He actually has a small crisis of professional ethics when he picks a book to review that he actually ends up enjoying.
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[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''ABitOfFryAndLaurie'' had a recurring set of critic characters, although they were more of the academic, literary-analysis type. One of them (the one that Hugh Laurie played) said that he had written a book of his wise sayings, but it had been critically lambasted. "But what do critics know of the work we do?" he wonders.
** This is a very particular AuthorTract -- both Fry and Laurie have talked about why they can't stand [[RealLife real-life]] {{Caustic Critic}}s, including the actual mannerisms they use in the sketches -- affected "tiredness" is one of the things Fry has mentioned specifically, and it's taken to an extreme in the sketches, where the critic characters slump down further and further each time they appear and end up sprawled on the floor eating ice cream, so exhausted are they are by the sheer mediocrity of whatever it is they're criticizing.
* StatlerAndWaldorf, on ''Series/TheMuppetShow'', who appear in the "audience" and only exist to heckle Kermit and the rest of the Muppets. In a subversion, though, they are generally shown as being sharp-witted and incisive; usually they come off as the show being self-deprecating, rather than making a straw man out of their critics.
** Sam the Eagle occasionally took on aspects of the TrueArt breed of straw critic. The laughs at his expense usually derived from [[FeigningIntelligence his complete ignorance of the subject in question]] (he thought Shakespeare wrote ''RobinHood'') or by having a classically trained guest star (Rudolf Nureyev, Beverly Sills) cheerfully joining in on the show's usual silliness to Sam's chagrin.
** In a more recent internet video Sam tries to sing American Woman ([[TheGuessWho hazarding]] that it was written by, "I don't know...John Philip Sousa?"), only to discover that it is not, as he believed, a ballad in praise of Lady Liberty, at which point he starts getting into this on patriotic grounds. But what really gets his hackles up is that the Guess Who are ''[[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking Canadian]]''.
* The ''Series/{{Monk}}'' episode "Mr. Monk and the Critic" featured a theater critic who reviewed a play Julie Teeger was in. He generally praised the play but singled out Julie's performance as "forgettable." It turned out that [[spoiler:he hadn't even been there during that number, meaning that he wrote the scathing comment based on a wild guess]]. Oh, and he also [[spoiler:killed the woman he was cheating on his fiancee with, and had only attended the play in the first place as an alibi]].
* The episode of ''Series/CarolineInTheCity'' where Richard [[DeadArtistsAreBetter takes advantage of his death being accidentally reported]] featured one of these as the "antagonist". His money quote: "Struggling artists are struggling for a ''reason'': ''they're '''bad!'''''"
* Averted in ''Series/{{Extras}}''. Andy's show, ''When the Whistle Blows'', is unanimously and viciously panned by critics, and both we and Andy know they're right.
* ''Series/{{The Mary Tyler Moore Show}}'' episode "The Critic" featured a critic who was hired by WJM to provide commentary. The only work of art he professed liking was an obscure Ukrainian documentary called "Blood on a Dog's Face." He not only hated most movies, food and theater, but decided to use his airtime to bash Minneapolis and the newsroom staff. His eloquent comeuppance:[[spoiler:a pie in the face from Ted]].
* ThoseTwoGuys on ''The Sean Cullen Show'', who were a pair of [[FanDumb guys in the audience who overanalyzed everything and complained about continuity]].
* ''Series/TheWeirdAlShow'' featured parodies of Siskel and Ebert, who in real life had given ''Film/{{UHF}}'' a negative review. Somewhat averted as they aren't portrayed as exclusively stupid or negative people.
* In the episode [[Recap/SupernaturalS02E18HollywoodBabylon "Hollywood Babylon"]] of ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'', Brad Redding a network executive for a horror movie gives notes and critiques of the movie which could also be applied to ''Series/{{Supernatural}}''.
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[[folder:Music]]
* This is the entire point of the TobyKeith song ''The Critic''.
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[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* Parodied/Exaggerated in a few ''ComicStrip/{{Dilbert}}'' strips where Dogbert becomes a StrawEditor just so he can get paid to insult people and their stories.
-->'''Dogbert:''' Hmm...remove the murder, and change the protagonist to a purple dinosaur.
-->'''Writer:''' But it's a ''murder mystery!''
-->'''Dogbert:''' Oh yeah, ''that's'' original.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Sports]]
* Former German [[TheBeautifulGame association football]] pundit Günter Netzer falls in the Type 1 category, but was hugely popular because of his extensive knowledge about the game, and other pundits [[SeinfeldIsUnfunny at the time]] being the [[YesMan exact opposite]].
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[[folder:Theatre]]
* In Gian-Carlo Menotti's opera ''Maria Golovin'' is the character Dr. Zuckertanz, who scoffs at the sentimental duets that the mother keeps, insulting nineteenth-century Romantic music that Menotti himself was fond of emulating, asking "must music only be sweet?" [[CrowningMusicOfAwesome Then he sings an Italian duet written in precisely that style.]]
* The StephenSondheim musical ''MerrilyWeRollAlong'' features a Broadway producer who dismisses a certain song as not having "a tune you can hum," which Sondheim himself has heard once or twice during his career. The song, revised with a new lyric and accompaniment, becomes a chart-topping success; indeed, the same producer is caught humming along to it.
* The bout of VolleyingInsults in ''WaitingForGodot'', which is won decisively with the ultimate epithet: "Crrritic!"
* Creator/RichardWagner's ''Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg'' has Beckmesser, a talentless SmallNameBigEgo who takes Walther's first song to task for all sorts of offenses against form. When he tries to do better, he fails epically and hilarity ensues. Loosely based on Eduard Hanslick, a fierce critic from Vienna, who hated Wagner.
* A stylish (as if we expect any less) example from OscarWilde, ''TheImportanceOfBeingEarnest'':
--> '''Algernon:''' The truth is rarely pure and never simple. Modern life would be very tedious if it were either, and modern literature a complete impossibility.\\
'''Jack:''' That wouldn't be at all a bad thing.\\
'''Algernon:''' Literary criticism is not your forte, my dear fellow. Don't try it. You should leave that to people who haven't been at a University. They do it so well in the daily papers.
* The Creator/{{Moliere}} play ''The School for Wives Criticized'' is ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin; a short play about his previous play, ''The School for Wives'', in which fans of the play enter into a discussion with people who didn't like it. The fans are of course intelligent, witty people, while the critics are pompous assholes who disliked the play because they were the targets of its satire or [[MoralGuardians saw vulgarity everywhere]].
* ''Theatre/TheRealInspectorHound'' features two critics, Moon & Birdboot. Moon is an incredibly anally retentive over-analytical type who insists on comparing the play they are watching (basically a sub-[[Creator/AgathaChristie Christie]] type play) to the works of Sartre whilst Birdboot is a DirtyOldMan who gives high praise to any actress he fancies seducing.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Videogames]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Psychonauts}}'' has Jasper Rolls, a critic boss character who was the absurd epitome of this trope; an ugly, obese, snobbish man who has many jokes at his expense and who [[WordsCanBreakMyBones literally hurls]] cliched derogatory adjectives like "tedious" and "monotonous" etc. whilst you battle him. This gets even more interesting when you remember that the battle takes place [[JourneyToTheCenterOfTheMind in the mindscape]] of [[WhiteDwarfStarlet demented former actress]] Gloria van Gouton, where Jasper represents Gloria's own insecurities and harsh self-judgements about her performance.
** In a bit of a [[FridgeBrilliance Fridge Brilliant]] [[SubvertedTrope subversion]] to this trope, Jasper doesn't die after you defeat him--he just shrinks from his previously huge size. Having an inner (or outer) critic isn't ''bad'' in and of itself (without it, we wouldn't feel the need to improve ourselves)- but if it grows too harsh or too negative (like in Gloria's case), it can become a problem.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* ''Webcomic/{{Starslip}}'''s Memnon Vanderbeam is an art critic from TheFuture who sees amazing depths in 21st-century relics like ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' and the movie ''Film/{{Catwoman}}'', but goes into a fit when he discovers the woman he loves owns a [[{{Pun}} "Hang In There!"]] poster. He resolves his cognitive dissonance by writing a hundred-page dissertation defending the "Hang In There!" poster as an example of TrueArt.
** On the other hand, he frequently comes off as something more like an Absent-Minded Art Professor - his detailed analysis of a BrownNote MacGuffin is so spot-on that it ''[[AwesomenessByAnalysis prevents it from working on him]]'', for example. He's only wrong most of the time because he thinks out his observations to ridiculous levels, and then assumes that the artists had that in mind every step of the way.
* Katie Teidrich would like you to know that all her critics are legitimate ([[http://www.awkwardzombie.com/comic1-090108.php First panel, look close]]).
* ''Zen Pencils'', known for its comic-style interpretations of inspirational quotes, posted an original story called [[http://zenpencils.com/comic/144-the-artist-troll-war-1-hatred-breeds-hatred/ "The Artist-Troll War"]], where [[YourHeadASplode the heads of several Straw Critics explode]], and the resulting goo combines into a [[AttackOfThe50FootWhatever giant monster]] named #HATE, the pure embodiment of Straw Criticism.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Jackie Harvey from Website/TheOnion is a massive inversion. It's hard to find a movie he doesn't absolutely love.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Video]]
* The entire purpose of WebVideo/TheCinemaSnob is to lampoon movie critics who hate any film that isn't meant to be a pure work of art. This is made even more brilliant when you know that the real Creator/BradJones actually likes most of the schlock and smut he reviews. Jones will sometimes even use the character to examine the line between "high" and "low" art- the review for the film ''Salo,'' points out that the movie does all the same shocking, tasteless things you'd expect to see in a low-budget exploitation film but frames it in such a way that it appears high class. As a result, the Cinema Snob character continuously praises the film, even though he can barely watch it and the content makes him physically sick.
* [[WebVideo/TheSpoonyExperiment Spoony]] joins in on the fun in the short lived MST'ish show, ''It Came From Beyond Midnight''. At the end, the hosts would invite Leslie Striker, a insufferable critic that was let on the show due to a debt owed by the host. He will typically nag on the low quality of the show, point out the plot holes, and insult the intelligence of the hosts for good measure. The bit tends to end in him doing something related to the movie (like [[ItMakesSenseInContext getting a death threat from ants]]) followed by the hosts questioning why they keep bringing him on the show. The character itself was a TakeThat towards then-WWE color commentator Matt Striker.
* ''FunnyOrDie'': Creator/AlfredMolina as Arthur H. Cartwright, [[http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/0a662de547/children-s-theater-critic-with-alfred-molina?rel=player# children's theater critic]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Jay Sherman, the main character of ''WesternAnimation/TheCritic'', is a film critic who hates almost everything he reviews. However, the movies he bashes really ''are'' horrible; the amount of sympathy the audience is expected to feel for him varies from episode to episode.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Ratatouille}}'' features as an antagonist a ''restaurant'' critic, Anton Ego (who looks more than a bit like author WillSelf). In a partial subversion, Ego is [[AccentuateTheNegative extremely hard-to-please]], but his high standards are sincere, and when confronted with true culinary genius, he recognizes and supports it, even when it would jeopardize his career. He also receives a small but powerful bit of CharacterDevelopment. Therefore, it turns out that he's not really a Straw Critic.
** Linguini even mentions that, for a food critic, Ego is extremely thin. Ego replies that he doesn't simply ''like'' food, he ''loves'' food, and, if he doesn't love the food, he doesn't swallow. Apparently, he has extremely high standards.
* The conclusion of ''WesternAnimation/TheBeatles'' cartoon "Tell Me Why" has a donkey eating one of the boys' guitars. George quips, "Eight million mules in Spain and we had to get one that's a music critic." (This was back in 1965, when they were seen by media critics in general as another band churning out disposable pop.)
[[/folder]]

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