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They say everyone is a critic (especially in the age of Twitter and Facebook), but few make a living at it. And even among the professionals, A.O. Scott stands above the rest. He’s one of two principal film critics for the New York Times, and during his tenure he has come to the realization that thinking about films is a good way to think about, well, pretty much everything else. Scott distills his feelings into his new book, Better Living Through Criticism: How to Think about Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth. In it, he patiently dismantles the stereotypes of the critic (e.g. that they are all failed artists) and uses his own experience to defend criticism—and intellectualism generally—as a valued practice. That being said, in Scott’s world there’s still room for stabbing comments; Marvel fans will still remember his assessment of The Avengers as “blinding, empty hecticness.” His discussion at Politics & Prose will be an extension of the book: a celebration of thought that mixes the highbrow alongside the lowbrow, and without thumbs pointing in any specific direction. A.O. Scott reads at 7 p.m. at Politics & Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. politics-prose.com.