Sunday, August 31, 2008

Bathroom Monologue: Criticism Vs. Slander, OR, I’m saying this before I get anything reviewed, OR, I’m looking at you, user reviews

Bitching is not criticism. If you have nothing nice to say, you have probably not criticized. Criticism is not essentially negative; it is essentially reformative. Criticism directed to the artist or individual reflects what worked, what didn’t, and how both could improve, or strives to understand how they some of these elements functioned. Criticism directed to the general audience is to reflect the qualities for artistic or general appreciation and stimulate thought and discussion. There is a weird notion that “This sucks” is criticism. “You’re a shitty person” is not criticism. It is closer to slander. So is a full-page article ripping into a book, or movie, or album. It’s similar for people who solely praise something, except rarely does anyone call that “criticism.” They call it “praise.” The state of criticism in this country would be better if more people were honest that they were “bitching” instead of “criticizing.” Bitching is in human nature, though it’s often looked down upon and we sometimes deny we’re doing it to justify something or other. But as naturalists can teach us, you can only understand pieces of nature when you label them properly.

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