Friday, February 29, 2008

Peter O'Toole

"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. 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 more meaningful than our criticism designating it so." I was watching Ratatouille this morning with the boys, and I was really struck by this quote from one of the characters Anton Ego (voiced by Peter O'Toole). I guess what stuck out to me was the idea of how easy being a critic is and how easy it is to thrive on negative criticism. I find this so true in my own life where I can find at least 10 things to complain about or criticize before I can usually find one thing that is good. I am surrounded by this notion everywhere I go. At work, we critique everything we do, always looking at the bad [framing it in the disguise of "how could things go better"] first and trivializing the good. In my relationships, I often notice the things that drive me nuts and usually complain about them much sooner than I recognize the good. My poor wife often gets "left-over compliments" because I tend to notice things like the dishes being left undone or the amount of things she has asked me to help with around the house. It seems like it is much easier to to say "NO!" to my kids than it is to give them patience, understanding, and encouragement. Even with my own self I am apt to offer up more negativity than anything positive. Yes the role of a critic is easy. Unfortunately, I do not believe that is what the world needs from me...or anyone else for that matter. Like anything good in life, discipline is needed to get it. Therefore, instead of allowing myself to live in the realm of "easy" negative criticism, I would like to try to be more positive, uplifting and encouraging. Will that be easy to do? I would assume not...but sometimes I need to face the bitter truth and move onto a better tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

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And according to this article, I totally agree with your opinion, but only this time! :)

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