The article on Barbershop is the perfect example to describe what Oscar Wilde meant in The Preface to The picture of Dorian Gray. Wilde writes, "criticism is a mode of autobiography"(11), this means that the view and interpretation of art comes from ones own personal experiences. That if someone were to read into art and try to find a message it is their own view and own message and stems from their own life experiences.
One side of the controversy over the movie Barbershop is that it may form negative views and opinions of black leaders and historical figures, and that young black children will get the wrong idea of many of these leaders if not taught otherwise. The filmmakers certainly are not to blame for that. It is not the filmmakers" job to teach or inform, only to entertain. The movie is a work of art and therefore should be appreciated as such. "Those who go beneath the surface do so at their peril"(11). The Reverends Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have deemed certain jokes and defamatory remarks made about Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks as inappropriate and have even gone as far as to request that they be removed from video and DVD release versions of the film. From Wildes" opinion this is ridiculous, art is a beautiful thing. "Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming"(11).
Another look at this is from Sandy Banks, the author of the article Barbershop Uproar Ignores Real World. She puts into perspective what Wilde means by "criticism is a mode of autobiography"(11). According to Banks, she spent much of her childhood in her fathers" barbershop and has a totally opposing view on the same movie. Her opinion was formed based on her experiences. She says that it is "as true a slice of urban black life"(1E) as she has ever seen, while she does admit that she "cringed at the offensive lines"(1E).
Somewhere in the middle of this is Oscar Wilde and his view that "criticism is a mode of autobiography"(11).