This is a guest-post by Phil Bledsoe
Criticism is an inevitable outcome of writing. I have never known a single person who made even the pretense of writing without holding strong opinions on the work of others, whether those opinions were positive or negative. This can be as simple as the person who credits their favorite author with inspiring them to get started in the first place, or as complicated as someone who has a top ten list of favorites and a bottom ten list of least favorites, along with specific and detailed reason for each and every one.
Some people even seem to thrive on their ability to put down others. That is not what criticism is about. Criticism is about learning how to judge something, be it a movie or a book or whatever it is, with an educated eye and formulate a coherent opinion. You can educate yourself in the convention sense, by attending classes where you may learn film theory or literary theory, in which case your opinion will sound very well-informed and you will know just the right terminology. The alternative to this these days is the informed fan, the common everyday member of the public who has such a love and passion for their favorite forms of entertainment that they have consumed them en masse for long enough to become an authority on the subject. And yes, I am saying that if you have read enough comic books in your life, then you are in a position to knowledgeably comment on both the content of comics and the state of the industry, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the creators working in that field.
The popular wisdom is that everyone is entitled to their opinion, but are they really? Do we not feel any obligation any longer to earn that right, just a little bit? Do we not feel any obligation to broaden our horizons and take in as much information as possible, in order that our opinions may be more eloquently formed and stand on a more solid foundation? I am not talking about ranting, or trolling, or plain old-fashioned complaining. I am talking about being a critic, about looking at pop culture and the media with a skeptical eye and a ready arsenal of prior observations on which to draw. Criticism can be fun, no doubt, but it can also be a careful application of intelligence, wisdom, and knowledge in the pursuit of higher truth in art. It is the opportunity to take the sum total of what you know as a human being and use it as a filter to separate the good from the bad, or the exceptional from the mediocre. I have had my critiques and opinions offend more than a few people. I have rained down my disapproval on the work of people that I don't even know and probably never will. I have been told to shut up, to mind my own business, to get a life, and to get a real job. I have been contradicted, misquoted, and taken out of context. I have been called a failure as a writer and a human being, if you can believe; all of this, on the basis of a small number of individuals who simply disagreed with my opinions and believed that it would have been best had I never expressed them in the first place.
People love to critique a critic; I suppose the Internet will have to come up with a term for that one of these days. I have written a manifesto about Hopefully, a few people who read it or just read this very article will be inspire to speak their own minds about a few things. Every time you tell a friend, “Don't go see that movie, it sucks,” you're doing exactly what I do, only in shorthand form. Take a step up to the plate, be bold, and speak out. No one was ever to shy to praise something of which they approved. Why are we so anxious to quell criticism? Don't say it was “okay” if you thought it was terrible, don't say it was just “bad” if you thought it sucked out a piece of your soul. Never call a spade a spade when you can call it a hell-bent digging implement forged in the furnaces of Hell itself. If negative fan reaction can stop something as frightening as the Adrianne Palicki “Wonder Woman” TV series, then there's hope for us all.
You are invited to read more articles related to criticism from Phil : http://bledsoep.hubpages.com/
In : Writing Tips & Guide
Tags: "criticism writer" "criticism in writier" "deal with criticism" "phil bledsoe"
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