I saw a movie last night that I thought was terrible.

But I didn't tell anyone about it.

I immediately thought about sharing my views about it. I was frustrated and disappointed and all riled up. But then I remembered something obvious—something many of us forget when we are clinging to our right to be a critic of everything we experience.

A person made that movie. Many people. They worked their butts off on it. And while I can't help but wonder if their paygrade may soften any blows they take for their “failures” in making this film, they're still people like you and me, who can be bruised and broken just as easily by words as by 'sticks and stones.'

I am not a critic. I mean, I may be “critical” of some things many times in my life, but I posses no special qualities that in any way make my critical credibility better than anyone else's. I think all seafood tastes like fungi-filled pond water, but many people like it. I love art, but view most current artwork as kind of boring and confusing, but many professional art critics say otherwise. I'm extremely annoyed by the band, Maroon Five, but 30,000 people consistently show up to sold-out arenas and sing along. I think one of Paris Hilton's songs is...well...okay.

I am in no position to tell anyone if they are good or bad at anything at all, because I do not hold the measuring stick for talent. Nobody does. There are no 100% proper, perfect standards for anything—every skill is subjective, all abilities are arguable, each decision debatable.

Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with people sharing their critical views, especially if they're asked to, or if they are motivated by a desire to help others make the right decisions. But let's be honest, we ALL know the difference between helpful and hurtful, and we are fully conscious of which we are being when we choose to be “critical.”

So if I want to be helpful, I could always wait another day or two to tell people why I didn't like that movie I saw last night. I could ponder and process, and provide thoughtful, helpful feedback to other movie goers who have similar viewing preferences, and they could choose whether or not they wanted to spend eight bucks on something more suited to their tastes.

Or...I could do what too many of us are doing daily about almost everything else—I could respond immediately to my frustration or disappointment. I could convince myself that my critical viewpoints are somehow always spot-on. I could say that I'm just trying to “inform” and claim that I'm only being honest. I could nit-pick, bash, gripe, vilify the people involved, play victim and say all the things I'm feeling in that moment.

Then later, when I'm feeling a little “different” about what I thought about the movie, I could simply tell myself that what I said didn't matter, and that nobody was really affected by it anyway. I could think about how much of a hassle it would be, or how embarrassed I might feel to go back and change my “feedback.”

And I could forget, that no matter how much positive feedback I've received, sans sticks, stones, and other projectile and striking tools, it still stung like hell when I read that first “critical” negative review of my story.

And then...I guess I could call myself “a critic.”
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Published on June 09, 2012 08:07 • 145 views
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message 1: by Kitty (new)

Kitty Nottoli I like this Jas. It convicts us to really look inside ourselves and examine the most vulnerable aspects of who we are. Good job!

message 2: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Chatwin Amen

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