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Spitz’s Incoherent Rambles: Criticism

September 3, 2013

Oh the irony in writing an article criticizing criticism…
Let me go ahead and preface this with saying that I don’t necessarily consider myself a critic. I’m a person that, when he chooses to, can nit-pick something to the ground; and there may have been a point in my life in which I had considered chasing that line of work, but the idea of a person whose job is (often) to berate things for a living is ultimately pretty silly to me.
It’s a job that polarizes audiences’ opinions before they even play/watch the product in question, and while it may produce laughs from the readers/viewers of the critic’s work, doesn’t accomplish anything in the long run in my opinion.

A lot of people like to know whether something is worth the time/money before they put forth that time/money to check it out, which is an understandable sentiment; and I think the best breed of critics are those who are able to detach themselves from their egos and explain in a down-to-earth manner whether that thing is in fact worth seeing.

One of my primary issues with criticism, and one that flirts with the above-mentioned issue of ego, is the matter of opinion. “I didn’t enjoy this thing, therefore it must be terrible.” is a concept I see a lot with reviews, and in most cases those reviews seem to be more focused on explaining how every little facet of a particular product is less than what was desired, and less focused on explaining why those things seem terrible to the reviewer.

Still, even if you’re someone like me who has no interest in getting into the nitty-gritty detail of what makes something as good or as bad as it is, something is always bound to come along that really rubs you rotten.
But coming from someone who has the hope of one day being a writer of fiction, it’s difficult to put aside the feelings that someone out there put a lot of hard work into what they put out, and while I’m not going to say something is good that isn’t just out of sympathy, I hold back as much unnecessary snark as possible when explaining that it wasn’t what I was looking for.
Not to say I’m the perfect reviewer out there, either. My explanations aren’t as detailed as maybe they should be, my proofreading is awful, and I partake in more hyperbole than I wish I did (among other flaws, some of which I’m certain I’m not even aware of).

After all is said and done though, and in setting aside whatever style of criticism you think is correct, the one thing I wish more critics thought about was the idea that different things appeal to different kinds of people. If you like something, and someone else despises it, it can be difficult to accept that; but that doesn’t inherently make either one of you “right”.
Something may be widely accepted as rubbish, but if even one person out there thinks it’s worth the time, I personally think that thing is worth existing.

From → Rambles

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  1. Spitz’s Year-end Wrap Up 2013 | Spitz's Soapbox

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