Here’s today’s Hi 5 to the Face report. Hi 5s are going out to…

Adam Kirsch, senior editor of The New Republic: For contributing to The New York Times feature Why Criticism Matters.” In an editorial titled “The Will Not to Power, but to Self-Understanding,” Hirsch spells out something that lines right up with an approach to criticism that I whole-heartedly  embrace.

Alissa Wilkinson: For posting this excerpt from Kirsch’s article on her blog, which led us to the whole inspiring article. Here’s just a snippet of the good things that Hirsch says:

A critic who writes primarily out of a will to power (they do exist; they could be named) is never a great critic, or a lasting one. Increasingly, I feel that argument is only the form of criticism, not the substance, just as passing judgment on a particular book is only the occasion of criticism, not the goal. It’s better — certainly it’s better for the critic — not to see criticism as a means of making things happen, of rewarding and punishing, or of becoming what Kazin calls a “force.” The critic participates in the world of literature not as a lawgiver or a team captain for this or that school of writing, but as a writer, a colleague of the poet and the novelist. Novelists interpret experience through the medium of plot and character, poets through the medium of rhythm and metaphor, and critics through the medium of other texts.

Alissa, you get a fist-bump for the link!

And Mr. Kirsch, for having such high standards for criticism, you get a HI 5 TO THE FACE!

For our next Hi 5, I’m turning this over to one of my many correspondents-at-large.

Or rather, to one of my correspondents who isn’t so large: Tiny Chamberlain, a Tiny Skeksis who serves as one of our correspondents at large.

Chamberlain, do I understand that you’re lurking at The William James Bookseller?

Tiny Chamberlain lurks in the Mythology section of the William James Bookseller.

“Mmmmmmmmm, thank you, Cravis! I’m here in Port Townsend, Washington, mmmm? I’m lurking near Joseph Campbell’s books in the Mythology section, at a bookstore that the Overstreets count among their favorite places in the world. In fact, they were here on Friday, mmmmmmmmm? And I saw Jeffrey wrestling with the temptation to buy a first-edition hardback of Shasuku Endo’s Volcano. As you know, Overstreet Headquarters is a home full of bookshelves, and stacks and stacks of those books have come from this small bookstore, which never fails to surprise them with rare treasures, reasonably priced. So, let’s hear it for the William James Bookseller, mmmmmmmm?”

Thank you, Tiny Chamberlain! Sounds like the William James Bookseller deserves a first-edition, hardbound Hi 5 TO THE FACE!!

Now, out to another correspondent: Kermit the Fisher Price Frog, or as I call him, Fisher P. Frog.

Fisher P. Frog at the Edmonds Ferry Dock checks in on the Overstreet Facebook page.

“Hi, ho… Fisher Price Kermit the Frog here! I’m down at the Edmonds Ferry Dock on this beautiful Sunday afternoon. I was checking Jeffrey’s Facebook page, and I noticed that today marks something of a milestone.

“So here’s a special note of gratitude for all 1,800 people who are kindly following Jeffrey Overstreet on Facebook. Jeffrey was quite happy just to have one normal Facebook profile, once upon a time. But then, publishers persuaded him that it would be to his advantage to have a ‘Facebook Author Page’ as well as a profile. Not wanting the hassle of checking two different Facebook properties, Jeffrey asked all of his Facebook Profile ‘friends’ — including actual friends, enemies, family, coworkers, readers, haters, and stalkers — to move over and join him on the Page.

“As of today, a new record of 1,800 people have been generous enough to tune in on the Page for conversation, for links, for rants and raves, for laughs, and for (to steal a phrase from Paste magazine) ‘signs of life in art and culture.’ I’m not sure why they’ve signed on for such daily distractions, but I know that Jefrey is thankful for the company.

“Facebook can be a source of trouble. But it can also be a place to share generous helpings of the goodness we encounter online and elsewhere, and a way to find encouragement and humor and community during times when it might be hard to find in-person. It’s also a great way to get the latest on next year’s most important film: Muppets Most Wanted.

“Now, I’m going to get back to reading, people-watching, and ferryboat-hopping. We frogs are particularly good at that last one.”

Thanks, Fisher P. Frog!

And to all of you who have kept me company through a particularly difficult year, here they come:

1,800 HI 5s TO THE FACE!