criticism as privilege


‘Criticism is a privilege that you earn- it shouldn’t be your opening move in an interaction.

The notion that the only way you can critically engage with a person’s ideas is to take a shot at them, is to be openly critical- this is actually nonsense. Some of the most effective ways in which you deal with someone’s idea are to treat them completely at face value, and with an enormous amount of respect. That’s actually a faster way to engage with what they’re getting at than to lob grenades in their direction. If you’re going to hold someone to what they believe, make sure you accurately represent what they believe.’

– Malcolm Gladwell

GIF of professional critic Anton Ego from Ratatouille (2007) via film-instant’s Tumblr. Ego’s famous lines from the movie should really be the lodestone of anyone in a position to critique or criticise: ‘In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment.’

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