I’m now 26 years old. I took a long break from writing this blog and I’ve done a lot of thinking. Here begins the state of my mind at 26.
Remember the scene in Ratatouille when the infamous food critic, Anton Ego, takes one bite of Remy’s freshly prepared Ratatouille? The dish is so delicious that it sends the critic on a journey through memory to his childhood where a young Ego sits at the kitchen table at his home in the French countryside. His mother serves him a bowl of steaming ratatouille and when he takes a bite, the boy swells with bliss before snapping back to the present. Ego freezes, drops his pen, and quickly devours the meal.
Remy’s cooking inspired a change in Ego; a character who was established as an uptight predator who would seemingly never grace a chef with a positive review. As we find out in the next sequence, Ego writes a positive review, which may very well be his first, in which he examines the idea and fundamental flaws of criticism as a whole.
One line in his piece is strikingly resounding and bares strong relevance in 2018. Before recanting exactly what he said, think about this: Here, today, now we spend a vast amount of our time inhaling endless streams of criticism.
Although commentary, both positive and negative, is necessary and it often expands awareness and schools of thought surrounding works of art, social media elevates and projects often unnecessary, negative and second-rate criticism. That which creates uproar is king, apparently.
In addition, the absolutely free access to social media lets anyone easily present their opinion with little to no thought or reflection before hand. And those thoughts appear in the same channel and often obscure that which is actually fair and meaningful. The average inquiring reader may not know better and continues to hold everything they consume against the same scale.
So what defines this awful thoughtless commentary of today? Words of opinion about political and social messages that were not intended by the creator, but invented by the commentator. Undeserved and overblown accusations of racism, sexism, or pro-right wing politics.
Worst of all, today’s toilet-seat critics (named in reference to where these types likely pen their criticism) turn the heat up when something defies their head canon. In other words, when something challenges or betrays how they imagined an anticipated piece of media would play out in their heads.
As Anton Ego said in regards to critics, “We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.”
With that in mind, let’s toss the criticism in the trash and talk about what we enjoy. Let’s defend, praise, and try to bring a little positivity into the world. Per Anton’s words above, the commentary found here is nothing compared to that which it seeks to examine.