Posted in Of Philosophy

For All Those Who Think They’re Stupid

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This is a manifesto/confession I wrote in my first year of college whilst studying English literature. My natural response when it comes to reading old diaries is to cringe, but I pretty much feel the same now, as I did then. I was reading The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing last night, where she writes,

Why is their interpretation of the word critic always to find fault?…That valuable person who understands what you are doing, what you are aiming for, and can give you advice and real criticism, is nearly always someone right outside the literary machine, even outside the university system; it may be a student just beginning, and still in love with literature, or perhaps it may be a thoughtful person who reads a great deal, following his own instinct.

For anyone who’s ever felt they’re not clever enough, whether they’re part of the system or not, everytime they’ve interacted with a piece or art, be it literature or music, remember the point of education is to be able to think for yourself and to present your thoughts taking everything into account as much as possible. It’s not sufficient to say, if you are arguing about it, “I don’t like this character/song/….” Why? Bring other people’s opinions in only if they help present YOUR argument better, and not because they have a string of degrees and awards attached to their name.

Author:

Writer, Blogger, Kate Bush Fanatic

3 thoughts on “For All Those Who Think They’re Stupid

  1. Great point! I often think of critics along the lines of sports officials-umpires, referees, etc. Always in the firing line for when something is deemed wrong by rabid supporters of a team, yet most forget that anyone doing that job either for pay or voluntary has a love of the game as much as the players on the pitch. Often times they do not have the physical skills to play the game, so have decided to do something to stay connected to do it. Similarly there are probably thousands of ‘roadies’ for bands around the world that are pretty good musicians in their own rights. They don’t let just anyone soundcheck Paul McCartney’s bass for example! Literary critics might get a little caustic and unnecessarily grandiose in their assessment of a writer’s work, but seldom do I find that they are not truly what they hope to be a useful contribution. Now on sites like Yelp for restaurant reviews I clearly DO see a lot of people who use it as an excuse to fulfill their long lost writing dreams!

    1. Ha ha! I am more conflicted because for a few years now, I’ve been trying to get accepted into the critical fold. Researching and analysis I enjoy, even of things I don’t personally find worth my time. But, the rest of it, the ‘peacocking’ that comes with any career these days, is just not for me. I don’t like talking shop all the time, and with the amount of rejection I’ve had in my career, I think I either have to leave or submit. The idealism I had before, and display often in this blog, seems to be on the way out.
      And on that depressing thought, I hope you’re having a great week!

  2. Yes, that peacocking seems to be ever present in everything these days. There are an awful lot of photography sites on IG I stopped following because everything has a sheen or gloss to it. Every. Single. Photograph. And that bugs me as someone who works hard at it. So its not for me either…everything and everyone does not always have to be so fabulous. Which is where that idealism you mention has indeed been lost. I think ultimately that is why blogging has been so blah in general. My week just started but I’m feeling rather like a crumpled paper bag at present with the changes happening. I’m just exhausted mentally and physically, but doing my best to hang in there.

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