In a world of abundant supplies and limited resources, critics are saviors who sift and pick from the numerous options at hand. But how do we trust a critic when every Tom, Dick and Harry claims to be one?
The abundance of subjectivity in the public sphere is so overwhelming these days, that we, including the ones such subjectivity derives from and is warranted by, seem to be displeased with what we assume ( I use the verb objectively ) is an infringement of the right to exercise freedom of judgment. Simply put, we have developed a tendency to dislike critics for the reason, and a very good one at that, that they want to direct the public notion in a divergent manner while depriving the common individual of an intellectual base to start with.
From full-blown reviews in the print media to online posts, tweets, and statuses, the act of critiquing/commenting take many different forms and shapes. One does not necessarily need to run a blog to do the job of a critic. If you have about 25 very active friends on Facebook who in turn have another 25 such friends, you are already a minor celebrity . But what’s contentious is that critics control the depth of our reasoning by setting a platform to launch our thoughts on. Meaning, they limit – or more aptly, are limited – in the areas they explore; this in turn limits the areas the audience/readership explores. And that explains the contempt for critics.
If you agree with the argument, then the next question is: Who should be trusted to explore the relevant areas? Experts? Regardless of what many “critics” might actually do, a critic’s job should be strictly for professionals. And like all other professional stuff, it is about how good you are at what you do, and not just about how good you are. The measure of a good theater critic is not in his/her histrionic grades but in the understanding of the context of the work he/she is commenting on. An expert’s comments are also highly likely to very condescendingly reduce a free thinking individual to loving, liking, disliking, or hating something on the whim of an “expert in the matter”. This, of course, is not to underestimate the enviably witty lines some experts come up with, but in general, technicalities suffocate the ordinary human. Additionally, requiring all critics or commentators to be professional experts would severely curtail the plenty that we are so used to. In any case, no individual can be right at all times; runway failures should serve as a good example.
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