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What is it with your columnists and their timid habit of trying to justify the reviews they write? Arion Berger’s commentary on Martin Scorsese’s Bringing Out the Dead (“A Prayer for the Living,” 10/29) begins with a lengthy explanation of how critics “follow in a pack.” She goes on to declare that no one (herself included, we can assume) wants to be the sole critic to praise or pan a movie. Four pages later, in his review of This Desert Life (“It’s Time to Requite Adam Duritz’s Love,” 10/29), Christopher Porter reluctantly admits that he has liked the Counting Crows since ’94 but would never own up to it until recently.

Oh, how humiliating to be a critic who finds an album or movie appealing that the others don’t care for! Get some self-esteem, people, and stop acting like junior high preteens trying to get in with the popular crowd. If you like something, say so. If it sucks, tell us. Your only job is to state your opinion, so state it with some pride.

As a music critic for a local magazine myself, I’d like to set the record straight that not all of us write our reviews with apologies. When a critic excuses himself for stating his opinion, it makes me wonder if he’s writing from the heart or just jumping on the bandwagon. If Berger and Porter are trying to dissolve their credibility, mission accomplished.

Dupont Circle