A WORD FOR THE CRITIC
In his book, The Four Hundred Years Copyright © 1914... H.R. Ironsides in his narrative regarding the "days of the Maccabees" when the separatists first entered into the language of the world, Ironsides writes of those holding up truth in such a way while contending for what was moral and ethical and right - for others, while neglecting the self-judgment "they thus became censorious judges of others and complacent condoners of themselves."
Sounds like the intolerant folks today. Bash Bush, okay! Because "they were wrong". Bash Obama's administration and you are vilified by professionals and perverts of the public trust alike with a vehemence that makes Hitler look like a kindergarten class clown. Adding to this, C.S. Lewis speaks to the self-right people, folks who... "view others through their faulty, weak filtered prejudices and perceptions of their limited upbringing and experiences." The Weight of Glory Copyright © 1939... Censorious judges of others and complacent condoners of themselves... rules the day! My response is a little crude: let the dead continue to bury the dead... they do it so well!
After being in public education for a while, I've noticed all kinds of folk... especially, the expert-at-nothing ones. Nowdays, these practiced professionals over-populate even the internet. Nameless, faceless individuals - loners and losers, not in any way recognized in any part of society as leaders, centers of influence, or people worth pausing to listen to. Do they have the right to speak? Sure they do. So does my much aged, ailing Great Aunt who mumbles to herself most of the time. Yet today's busy-bodies will insist they are not simply muttering to themselves (even though day after day, turning into weeks and years... nobody really stops to ponder their brilliance because nobody cares what they have to say...). And these folk have somehow convinced themselves that what they have to say is of utmost importance for all of us to know, and is very much right (even though it isn't).
This file is dedicated to them! Additionally, it is dedicated to every one of my past and present students who never quite understood that their unsolicited criticism is a measure of unharnessed rudeness and the presence of a tad too much self-esteem and self-importance! - that my eyes and ears are not worthy to behold.
Haven't you always wondered how some people can sit in judgment over others so easily... almost without blinking? It's quite natural for some. How about those movie critics (you know, what's their names?... the unusually large one with glasses who looks like a Goodyear advertisement, and the other one, skinny-as-a-toothpick)... Haven't you ever wondered how they get off with their weekly nit-pickin' of your favorite movie actor or actress? Am I the only one, or haven't you ever wanted to see those two goons (well, come to think of it... there's more than two on TV, aren't there?)... anyway, wouldn't you love to see them there professionals demonstrate a more adequate, romantically passionate scene, or a highly energetic action packed shoot 'em up clip... or whatever portion of the movie they're constructively ripping to shreads?
I'd love to see them put their hand to method acting. I'm assuming they can act... (or write... or sing... or teach... or preach... or run a business... or command an army... or whatever...) can't they? They certainly talk as if they can. Why, they remind me of the time years ago when some parent came up immediately upon the final applause of a High School Choral program when it was still dying down, and said, "Mr. Keith, you should do... [thus and such] ". I couldn't hear anything beyond the I should do part when I suddenly interrupted and asked (pointing to the piano in the orchestra pit)... could you show me? To which Mr. Mental Midget with motor mouth had to admit, he couldn't even play the damned instrument.
Show us! SHOW US YOUR STUFF! Send us your link. Demonstrate it for us! I wanna see exactly how the experts do it! I'm always intrigued with excellence, and definitely won't pass up a good laugh, too! After all, talk's cheap! Don't they know that thumbs down works both ways?
The other day Edgar O. came up to me while I was on supervision during passing periods. He said, "Mr. Keith... look around quickly! " to which I tried to anticipate his stalling to be tardy to class. Finally, I could see the punk kid was serious. So, "just look around I did" to which Edgar immediately responded, "See, nobody cares!" and took off laughing all the way to class! Immediately, I thought there's a wise kid as I remembered how often I've had to remind an endless stream of nascent evaluators and otherwise brilliant know-nothings that their opinions (and mine, for that matter)... really don't count for much. Perhaps they neglected once again to notice that not too many cars screeched their brakes today, willing to dodge traffic... just dying to hear pronouncements (mine or theirs) on any subject. "Look around; just do it! See, nobody cares!"
The only other group of self- important critics who consistantly think their opinions count for something (and don't stink!)... includes those incredibly invaluable daily news readers and reporters overpopulating the air waves who have mentored a generation of net-gabbin' gossip-ers - many of them nameless, faceless namby-pamby's. They endlessly pass judgment on everything and everyone. (By the way, who monitors this ego indulged Media generation? Aren't they the fools who time and again send out their undercover agents to spy on and dispise everybody but themselves... telling all sorts of lies and falsehoods while hiding their own identity in the supposed pursuit of truth??!)
They presume to set themselves up as the standard for all of us to emulate. Why, they almost remind me of some church folk who know every verse of Scripture... and are the first to club the next person with an endless barrage of verses (always out of context). Do you suppose they ever read the one that goes judge not that you be not condemned ? (Or, perhaps they just don't believe that one!)
We've all met folk like them... can't hardly ignore 'em no matter how hard we try... folk with enormous orifices endlessly toot-in' away their windy wisdom. Folks clothed in their own self-importance and self-satisfying assholiness... who (if we could secretly listen in) could be heard saying to themselves: I thank my God I'm not like this or that other person. Well folks, I AM that other person.
As I said, this page is dedicated to all critics and even to all acquaintances who fancy constructive criticism. Dr. Scott reminds us that the root word for critic... in the Greek language is: krinon and is also where we get words such as: crisis, critical, scissors (for cutting up), and even excrement. (Sorta lets us know what really comes out of critics, don't it?
For the rest of us... the sane folk who know... there's NOT one of us who doesn't have something somewhere in our past that we'd love to forget and hope nobody will discover... who know there's NOT one of us who doesn't struggle with the near-hypocritical mask we all too often seem to wear... and who also know we're not the Self-Appointed Judges of the Universe... we're just normal, un-godly (as in NOT very God-like) folk who live in a real world that certainly doesn't revolve around ourselves... a real world we didn't create nor have to imagine in some deep, dark fanciful recess of vaccuous space between the ears. -- For all the rest of us, I hope you enjoy your visit! And come again, soon. I like having friends like you around.
No constructive criticism desired... only encouagement! Thanks.
FYI (or FWIW) -- Booking Up by Linton Weeks Washington Post Staff Writer Thursday, February 18, 1999 wrote:
"Everybody's a critic. If you doubt that, visit the Internet. You'll stumble on opinions galore -- informed and uninformed -- on just about anything you can imagine. And many things you've never imagined. Take books."
"The Internet is the perfect way for someone who enjoys reading to recommend books to a passel of people at one time."
"Reggie Keith teaches at Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles. On his Web site, he has a suggested reading list of more than two dozen titles and he gives a synopsis of each one. His taste is eclectic. He speaks highly of theologians C.S. Lewis and Reinhold Niebuhr. He also prescribes wooo-OOOooo writer Whitley Strieber. Go figure."
"An outspoken man, Keith even criticizes critics in a passionate essay, challenging movie reviewers to act out scenes and music critics to play the instruments themselves."
"Keith doesn't link his suggestions to online book stores, but lots of critics do...."
© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company