RE: Grade inflation

Dear Sirs,

A frequent sight at this time of year is increasingly populous groups of enthusiastic young people celebrating their results, unaware that the ‘awards’ and ‘certificates’ they clutch are nothing more than grossly exaggerated parodies of that which former generations had to struggle and strive for.

I write of course about the proliferation of ‘stars’ awarded by non-professionals to productions at the East Alba Great Exhibit of Theatricalitie and Relat’d Trades (commonly, but inaccurately, known nowadays as the Edinburgh Fringe).

We must condemn categorically, as have I in numerous editorials for my own Newspaper, these charlatans who pass themselves off as Theatre Critics armed with nothing more than a love of theatre and a desire to share it with the world, entirely lacking the requisite professional qualifications and years of training which are necessary to watch a play and write down what you thought about it.

A Real Newspaper

This invasion of amateur critics and bloggers has led to a gross level of star inflation. I, for instance, have never awarded more than two stars to any of the eight thousand plays I have Reviewed and my immediate predecessor at this Newspaper awarded only a single star in the period 1917-38. Yet some of these “bloggers” regularly award three stars to a single production.

In response to this onslaught, my organisation has chosen to institute a re-denomination of the critical currency: from now on, all plays Reviewed in Real Newspapers will be rated out of 100 stars, rather than the conventional five. It will be immediately apparent to the ignorant masses who frequent today’s theatre that an 80 star review from someone such as myself holds more credibility than the four star review of any of Broadway Baby or West End Whinger.

After thorough research I have identified The Internet (or as I call it, the Great Bolshevik Plot) as responsible for this sort of outrage. It allows people to publish their amateur, uninformed, irrelevant thoughts – which will only lead to confusion amongst those little people who go to plays – without a license from their betters in the theatrical and Journalistic classes.

If people wanted this sort of variety of diverse opinions then the Newspaper industry wouldn’t be enjoying the sort of unprecedented success that it has over the last five years, with circulations soaring and advertising revenues forever rising.

If this “blogging” business is allowed to continue, however, then the hallowed and sacred system which has ruled civilisation for centuries of glueing stars onto fringe posters based on what me and my mates think will be forever destroyed. Frankly, the sooner this Internet is turned off the better.

Yours faithfully,
Honourable Alliance of Theatre Critics for Real Newspapers