Tonight, I got the most terrible review…almost made me puke, it was just so ridiculous.
I whimpered a little bit but as I’ve got pretty thick skin, I brought myself back to my normal, somewhat cheery self with a quote, ironically, “from a singularly unexpected source”. Ratatouille.
“In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.” – Anton Ego
Every time some crackpot throws a low star my way, I dodge it with this little beauty. I believe it goes without saying that Brad Bird is a brilliant writer. In fact, he’s brilliant in many, many ways but with this tiny paragraph, Brad Bird shows me that he too has experienced vapid, thoughtless insta-criticisms, that he too knows the humiliation of a nobody-in-particular rating six months worth of your labor of love in a few mere cutting sentences.
After reading Brad’s quote, or should I say Anton’s quote, I no longer feel anger or hurt. No. I feel heartbroken for the critics who feel it necessary to poison an artist’s work simply because the art was not flavorful to them. Yes, when you offer up your effort, I agree that an artist opens themselves up for criticism, be it negative or not. Ironically, I applaud anyone brave enough to deem something not worthy but only if that critic is willing to do the legwork. I am understanding of those reviews that give me something to work with, when the reviewer is all-embracing. I do not understand when a critic blasts an artist’s endeavour without ever truly making an effort to get to know the work itself.
Thus, a note to critics: Take care with your words for blunt edged declarations not only hurt the artist you review but without a real explanation as to why you felt the work lacked, you appear foolish and utterly un-thorough…an exceedingly deadly combination for those who claim to ‘review’. Your appearance feels false. You are all mirage with no tangible legs to stand on.
And that my friends, is my criticism of critics.
p.s. I feel it absolutely necessary to point out that ninety-nine percent of the critics I surround myself with do not bear this quality. I wouldn’t associate myself with them if they did. No. My critics, whether they like my novel or not, gave it the sporting chance it deserved and those who did finish yet did not favor my work deserve every bit the same respect as those who finished and enjoyed. Because they are critics with integrity.