Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

September 2, 2015

Not Comics: Andrew Wheeler On Criticism

There's a nice piece up here at ComicsAlliance by the writer Andrew Wheeler about the value of criticism. It's argued in straight-forward fashion. You don't need to know anything about modern Internet parlance and argumentation for it to be an article of value, but there's a lot there for you if you are up to date on such things.

imageNo one's ever liked being criticized. I think an interesting thing that's happened recently that may be different is that as more rewards of status and finance are bled out of creative arts industries there's a lot of pressure put on artists to maximize their careers. Every dissenting opinion hurts, and every bit of attention, good and bad, is processed on a personal level to an astonishing degree -- a 24-hour-a-day ethos of seeing everything as a potential act of someone taking food off of your plate. This makes criticism extra tough because positive notices are seen as being part of the story of each project, and negative attention can make you a villain. It's generally more fun to be a participant than a contrarian, to have someone laud your getting it than crush you for being stupid and biased and failing to understand anything at all.

My own solution to all of it is to write what I want to write, decline to apologize for that writing nor inflate its importance, and to generally seek out connections within an industry of which I feel a part that aren't scrutinized according to brand advancement. I'm not sure I'm doing it right, but I'll continue to try to figure it out. It's very intriguing for me to read a point of view like Wheeler's, a different conception that takes criticism just as seriously.

Dan Clowes' Harry Naybors
posted 11:55 pm PST | Permalink

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