Criticism is Easier Than Creation

But that hardly lessens its importance. I’m really tired of that stupid phrase that gets lobbied at critics, namely any claim that they couldn’t make one of whatever they’re criticising, or that they should. As if having created something means you’re capable of critiquing someone else’s work. Just because it’s easier to criticise than to make something doesn’t mean anyone can do it.

Criticism is a different field, just like sculpting is different from poetry. It’s just that it’s a bit more meta than most things that people can be good or bad at. For example, many good film critics couldn’t direct or write a feature film. That doesn’t mean they aren’t good critics. It means they aren’t good directors/screenwriters. It may be easy to have an opinion (and some people can’t even manage that much) but it definitely isn’t easy to express it.

The climate is a problem as well. For everyone, really. These days, it’s a simple matter to try one’s hand at just about anything. The world is full to bursting with people who are pathetically desperate for attention. It doesn’t take much to selfpublish an ebook, host a webcomic, start a video series, or write a blog. And the promise of returns for even a minimal amount of work abound. They rarely happen, but that’s the dream, isn’t it?

Personally, I hate it. Sturgeon’s Revelation has become a word of caution for consumption of free entertainment, rather than a humbling or encouraging idea for creators as it might be.

Sigh. I rather like that good cameras are prohibitively expensive. It probably saves us from a lot of video series that should never ever be made. Once it’s out there, it’s so much more strain on the system. Thousands more entries that clog a search for something decent. Even good critics can’t staunch the flow of failure. And that’s one of the things we have them for, isn’t it?

It makes an afternoon browsing the internet an occasionally depressing experience. My head hurts too much to expand further upon the subject, but there it is. Something positive and something irritating.

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