Now that the conventions are over and the candidates are traveling the country trying to garner the support of the undecided, the pundits and critics (including us) will be hanging onto every word uttered by the politicians trying to derive meaning through the doublespeak & gaffes that will inevitably follow. New revelations about the candidates will be revealed for the review and criticism of all, and defended by the candidate’s faithful with more passion than a Southern Baptist minister. And yet, we must keep our opinions and criticisms realistic and confined to the subject at hand lest the point we are trying to make wander off and be lost.
My wife and I watched the animated movie “Ratatouille” the other night. It was a predictable yet entertaining film, but what made me sit up and take notice was a speech by Anton Ego which included the following:
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 probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talents, new creations. The new needs friends…
I have no problems promoting the fresh and new, as long as it’s not a repackaging of the same stale and old of the past or the lies of the deceitful. I can be equally critical of both the new and the old, & merciless on flaming the willful stupidity of the intelligent idiot. In this run-up to the elections, we will be critical of the candidates – that is our nature, and some respects, the task that we have taken on. But do we risk anything? Only our reputations, if anything.
Our reputations, at least with the honest people with a conscience, rests upon stating truth where known, completeness of facts, opinions that matter, and owning up to the oops that we will make in making the statements and criticisms that we offer. For those without conscience, I pity you, for you have no moral compass to guide you through life, much less stating opinions & comments on blogs.
So while we merrily flame the candidate of our interest, what do we risk? Are we showing that we are the south end of a horse heading north? Or are we doing the best we can, supporting our statements with the truth as we can determine from the clutter of nonsense that is out in the news and Internet?
Sometimes, it is difficult not to be passionate about your beliefs, especially when you are outraged over something someone has stated or done. Passion is good – it shows that you have a soul and care about something important. But it cannot rule, although I will say that a good rant can be cleansing to the soul!
We must be passionate of our opinions when posting about the latest outrageous statement from the political candidates or their sycophants, and be able to back them up. We must hold them accountable for their words and their actions. Otherwise, our job as a credible critic is in jeopardy, and thus, our reputations.