During episode 5 of Still Pretty, I took a moment to ruminate on the nature of criticism, and I wanted to share that part of the discussion with everyone, because I think it’s important. You can find the rest of the episode and clearly see the reasons why I opened with this discussion, on the Chipperish YouTube channel.
Here’s the thing about criticism. It’s not all about finding fault. Good criticism, righteous criticism, is about appreciating everything a piece of art has to offer, finding triumphs in work you don’t particularly like, and being honest about the failures in the work you love with your whole heart.
It is so much harder to create than to criticize. I’ve done both; I know.
And I have, in my darkest past, been the jerky critic who valued being clever and snarky over being fair and thoughtful. Anyone who worked in the Anchorage theater scene in the early two-thousandses deserves my heartfelt apology.
I have also created things and put them out into the world, and been the object of snarky slings and arrows from other critics, and I’m okay with that. It’s the price you pay to create, and I will gladly pay it, with interest, for the opportunity to do so.
I am proud of my growth in the world of criticism, I love the work I’ve done as a critic, and I think I’ve put enough good criticism out there to somewhat redeem my humble and insecure beginnings.
All that said, I’m about to share some tough criticism with you guys, and while I do that I want remind everyone that creating something and putting it into the world is always a bold and admirable act, and the people who put creative work out into the world do ultimate good.
When a person creates something, they are giving everyone who experiences that creation a gift, and they are putting themselves in an extremely vulnerable space in order to do it, and they deserve our respect and our gratitude.
The critic risks almost nothing, and the creator risks all, so as far as I’m concerned, the creator wins, hands down, every time.