Tsk! Some people do nothing but criticize…

By Laura Bergells on

“Waah! Some people just sit back + criticize when we try to do good for our community,” pout legions of wannabe activists.

Many passive-aggressive dimwits have gotten it into their puny brains that thoughtful, articulate criticism is the equivalent of “do-nothing”. That critics “sit back” while criticizing. That criticism is a nobler, fancier word for “bitching”. Or that a critic is slothful at best and damaging at worst.

Sloth

photo credit: Rhys Asplundh

Here’s a five-step self-help program designed for those who whine about the perceived ease or “negativity” of thoughtful criticism:

1. Build or co-opt a good-sized public following of readers, viewers, friends, clients, and/or colleagues.

2. Publish a witty or thoughtful speech, article, video or blog post. Sharply criticize a sacred cow or popular vice/trend of the majority of followers.

3. Make sure the audience — including both saints + pyschopaths — has a public feedback mechanism. Respond to or categorize every rant, rave, and threat.

4. Participate in public discussions. Learn how to deal with personal threats, hate mail, irrational fanaticism, reasonable arguments, and irate phone calls.

For the fifth and final step, post but one ironic and grossly iniquitous tweet:

“Some people have nothing better to do but sit back and criticize.”

Alternatively, try this ostensibly easier exercise: learn to listen to and respect thoughtful criticism. Far from bitchy, good critics make you think. They inspire conversation. They foster relationships. They make ideas better. They make the community better.

Heck. They make YOU better.

Without criticism, there can be no activism. And honestly: when was the last time you learned anything from a great review of your work?