I don't have a very high opinion, actually, of the world of criticism - or the practice of criticism. I think I admire art criticism, criticism of painting and sculpture, far more than I do that of say films and books, literary or film criticism. But I don't much like the practice. I think there are an awful lot of bad people in it.
That was one of the big problems in the [Black Panther] Party. Criticism and self-criticism were not encouraged, and the little that was given often wasn't taken seriously. Constructive criticism and self-criticism are extremely important for any revolutionary organization. Without them, people tend to drown in their mistakes, not learn from them.
I appreciate good criticism and I think it's really important. I don't like it when it's consumer advocacy, like how you should spend your $60. Great criticism is a kind of literature. I've written some criticism, and I really enjoy it because I think it's important for people to know that theatre is vital. Criticism is really unevenly distributed in this town. Obviously the power of the Times is discouraging. It's killing new plays, demolishing one after another.
Though Israel may often be deserving of criticism, what is missing is the comparable criticism of equal or greater violations by other countries and other groups. This constant, often legitimate criticism of Israel for every one of its deviations, when coupled with the absence of legitimate criticism of others, creates the impression currently prevalent on university campuses and in the press that Israel is among the worst human rights violators in the world....it is not true, but if it is repeated often enough, it takes on a reality of its own.
I hate orthodox criticism. I don't mean great criticism, like that of Matthew Arnold and others, but the usual small niggling, fussy-mussy criticism, which thinks it can improve people by telling them where they are wrong, and results only in putting them in straitjackets of hesitancy and self-consciousness, and weazening all vision and bravery.
You see an artist, a creative person, can accept criticism or can live with the criticism much more easily than with being ignored. Criticism makes you feel alive. If somebody is bothered enough to speak vituperatively about it, you feel you have touched a nerve and you are at least 'in touch.' You are not happy that he doesn't like it, but you feel you are in contact with life.
I take criticism so seriously as to believe that, even in the midst of a battle in which one is unmistakably on one side against another, there should be criticism, because there must be critical consciousness if there are to be issues, problems, values, even lives to be fought for... Criticism must think of itself as life-enhancing and constitutively opposed to every form of tyranny, domination, and abuse; its social goals are noncoercive knowledge produced in the interests of human freedom.
Edward W. Said
Many people begin their criticism with sincere praise followed by the word "but", which signals that the criticism is about to begin. This may make the listener questions the sincerity of the praise. Use "and" instead, and provide constructive advice rather than criticism. this is possibly the most effective ways to address an issue in written form without seeming false in your praise.
I'm always very careful to make the distinction between music criticism and music journalism. A lot of people don't. But criticism doesn't require reporting. You can write criticism at home in your underwear. On the other hand, journalism takes legwork - you have to get out there and see things and talk to people.
The hushing of the criticism of honest opponents is a dangerous thing. It leads some of the best of the critics to unfortunate silence and paralysis of effort, and others to burst into speech so passionately and intemperately as to lose listeners. Honest and earnest criticism from those whose interests are most nearly touched, -criticism of writers by readers, of government by those governed, of leaders by those led, -this is the soul of democracy and the safeguard of modern society.
W.E.B. Du Bois
When I first prepared this particular talk... I realized that my usual approach is usually critical. That is, a lot of the things that I do, that most people do, are because they hate something somebody else has done, or they hate that something hasn't been done. And I realized that informed criticism has completely been done in by the web. Because the web has produced so much uninformed criticism. It's kind of a Gresham's Law-bad money drives the good money out of circulation. Bad criticism drives good criticism out of circulation. You just can't criticize anything.
As far as criticism, I don't mind critics. I mean, I wrote for 'Rolling Stone' for a hot minute. I like criticism. I enjoy criticism. The thing I don't like is cruelty for cruelty's sake. You don't have to be a jerk to say something negative. You can say something in the negative sense and have class.
There is a kind of counter-criticism that seeks to expand the work of art, by connecting it, opening up its meanings, inviting in the possibilities. A great work of criticism can liberate a work of art, to be seen fully, to remain alive, to engage in a conversation that will not ever end but will instead keep feeding the imagination. Not against interpretation, but against confinement, against the killing of the spirit. Such criticism is itself a great art. This is a kind of criticism that does not pit the critic against the text, does not seek authority. It seeks instead to travel with the work and its ideas, to invite it to blossom and invite others into a conversation that might have previously seemed impenetrable, to draw out relationships that might have been unseen and open doors that might have been locked. This is a kind of criticism that respects the essential mystery of a work of art, which is in part its beauty and its pleasure, both of which are irreducible and subjective. The worst criticism seeks to have the last word and leave the rest of us in silence; the best opens up an exchange that need never end.
In the spiritual domain, criticism is love turned sour. In a wholesome spiritual life there is no room for criticism. The critical faculty is an intellectual one, not a moral one. If criticism becomes a habit it will destroy the moral energy of the life and paralyse spiritual force. The only person who can criticise human beings is the Holy Spirit.
For a while, Criticism travels side by side with the Work, then Criticism vanishes and it's the Readers who keep pace. The journey may be long or short. Then the Readers die one by one and the Work continues on alone, although a new Criticism and new Readers gradually fall into step with it along its path. Then Criticism dies again and the Readers die again and the Work passes over a trail of bones on its journey toward solitude. To come near the work, to sail in her wake, is a sign of certain death, but new Criticism and new Readers approach her tirelessly and relentlessly and are devoured by time and speed. Finally the Work journeys irremediably alone in the Great Vastness. And one day the Work dies, as all things must die and come to an end: the Sun and the Earth and the Solar System and the Galaxy and the farthest reaches of man's memory. Everything that begins as comedy ends in tragedy.
Whenever convictions are not arrived at by direct contact with the world and the objects themselves, but indirectly through a critique of the opinions of others, the processes of thinking are impregnated with ressentiment. The establishment of "criteria" for testing the correctness of opinions then becomes the most important task. Genuine and fruitful criticism judges all opinions with reference to the object itself. Ressentiment criticism, on the contrary, accepts no "object" that has not stood the test of criticism
Whenever convictions are not arrived at by direct contact with the world and the objects themselves, but indirectly through a critique of the opinions of others, the processes of thinking are impregnated with ressentiment. The establishment of 'criteria' for testing the correctness of opinions then becomes the most important task. Genuine and fruitful criticism judges all opinions with reference to the object itself. Ressentiment criticism, on the contrary, accepts no 'object' that has not stood the test of criticism
We have so long been subject to external criticism that we don't know how to react to internal criticism, because whereas the most enduring, positive and sensible response to the former is a united front - you shall not divide us, here we stand - responding to the latter is an entirely different ballgame. This is my fear: that as a community, we don't know how to critique ourselves, and that this is dong us damage. Criticism, and specifically the criticism of both literary publications and the mainstream press, has so long been the weapon of the enemy that our first response on seeing it wielded internally is to call it the work of traitors. We have found strength in the creation of our own conventions and the hallowing of our own legends, flourishing to such an extent that, even if we are not yet accepted into the mainstream literary establishment, we are nonetheless part of the cultural mainstream. We are written about inaccurately, yet we are written about; and if there ever was a time when the whole genre seemed a precarious, faddish endeavour, then that time is surely past. Blog post: Criticism in SFF and YA