That's probably a bit unclear. But I was thinking about this recently while reading an issue of Bitch magazine (which I know I probably referenced in an earlier post, but hey, it had some good stuff). There was an article on the VH1 nostalgia programs, and the author criticized "I Love the 80s" for not delving into social issues of the time, such as the AIDS epidemic. I thought, "Um...but it's a pop culture program, and it's fair that it be restricted to pop culture things!" In the same issue was an article on the TV show "The West Wing" which said that, while the show had had some excellent storylines involving women's issues, a penalty should be given to it because it didn't follow through with them enough. I thought, "But...would they really have time to create the multi-issue, multi-faceted show that it seems to be if they spent so much time on women's issues?" And then earlier today I read a post on another community about a book I quite enjoyed, Barbara Ehrenreich's "Nickel and Dimed". Some posters said that it seemed to be a simple liberal rant, that the study wasn't valid because a priviledged and well-off author always had that to fall back on (the book is about Ehrenreich's attempts to live as a member of the working class), and that she didn't spend enough time going into the race and class issues that related to her study. "Well," I thought (and posted), "I rather liked the book, because I thought it did out what it set out to do--show a woman trying to move beyond being an outsider looking in, and put that into language accessible for those beyond the academy--really well."
I suppose what I want to know is: what is the limit to which we can criticize something for not being so much of something? I understand that we want things to be better, and even to encompass everything that they can, but isn't there a point at which we should stop and appreciate something for what it is and doing well within the boundaries with which it was probably meant to exist? Should we always expect that a great work will breach those boundaries left, right, backwards, and forwards to be great?
I hope that this makes sense. I suppose I just feel like I can't expect every book or movie or TV show to do everything for every cause or piece of societal benefit at once, and I wonder where I draw the line between what I am justified in expecting and what I am not.
(I'll be cross-posting this to my own journal.)