Prevention is easier than cure. Destruction is easier than creation. I have started to wonder if criticism in the creative market has become easier than praise. I bloody hope not.
I watch Masterchef and wonder how many Michelin stars William Sitwell has before he starts to meticulously dismantle the contestants hard work and just say it’s “nothingy”.
How does feedback like that that improve a person’s work?
Twitter has got a lot to answer for. I try not to do Twitter but the market in which we operate, it is a necessary evil; and evil it can be. I’ve found many, many keyboard-warriors that live and breath for someone to make a mistake so they can show the world just how clever they are by pointing out the mistakes in someone’s pride and joy.
Nobody sets out to make mistakes, nobody sets out to do substandard work, and don’t forget “winning” is about doing your best, not being the best so why can we not build an online culture where advising someone privately about something with an ounce of guidance becomes a thing rather than people publicly lambasting others to show just how clever they are?
Now I’m not saying that criticism shouldn’t happen; I absolutely think it should otherwise we, as a creative market, society, species, etc don’t improve.
What I’m saying is to offer something other than the negative. Criticism is fine so long as you say why and offer a solution, otherwise you’re just a big a part of the problem. And if you’re going to criticise, you better have your own house in order. Let him who is without sin cast the first stone and all that.
Pissing on someone else’s bonfire doesn’t make yours burn any brighter, so don’t be an asshole.
All that said, what about the flipside? What about the people that don’t seem able to take any form of confrontation or criticism without deflecting, blaming or calling it bullying? Maybe I’m getting old, but there’s a generation coming up behind me that were all awarded medals on sports day, and as a result of receiving 17th place medals they have a sense of entitlement that leaves them susceptible to being offended by anything and everything minutely negative.
Bottom line: Critique is a two-way street. It should be given correctly and taken in the way it is intended; to improve you and your output.