These people might be the poorest communicators in the world, but a little bit of logic should tell you that, flaws or no, they want you to keep doing your thing forever (even if they'd prefer you do it a little better).
Next time you see someone listing flaws in your favorite movie or comic book (like, I don't know, maybe a Cracked article or something?), at least consider the possibility that the reason they spent so much time thinking about it is because they like it as much as you do.
Criticizing Puts You Above Someone
A lot of people think that criticizing someone makes you superior or equal to them, because the critic saw something you missed, and this clearly makes you at least equals. This is stupid.
I'll take an extreme case. Suppose I'm a cynical studio head cashing in on the terrible taste of millions of mouth breathers by making Transformers movies. When I'm making marketing decisions for the next worthless sequel in my cash cow franchise, I will care very very much what those mouth breathers think.
The feedback from my idiot moviegoer focus groups could mean the difference between whether I can buy a G5 for just my wife, or if I can buy one for my mistress too, so you better believe I am listening intently to Joe Musclecar's suggestions that my film "needs more explosions," or that Megan Fox has too many clothes on, even as I feel complete disdain for him as a human being.
I bet you thought Joe Musclecar was going to be white. Racist.
Am I going to feel threatened that he's more knowledgeable than me about one thing (how dumb people think)? Why? I'm using him like a goddamned pawn.
But for some reason, everyone seems to believe that a person's ability to point out something wrong with another person's work automatically raises them to the other person's status. You get these weird fans who are proud when they find a typo, as if it means they're at least as good a writer as the guy who wrote the thing, because they got that one word more right than he did.
On the opposite side, you get these creators who don't take any corrections from anyone who isn't at the same "rank" as them or higher. If they admit a mere peasant (or reader, or viewer) found something they missed, they're afraid it will take away some of their power and mean they weren't as good as they thought. The Transformers example proves that wrong pretty clearly. A smart (and cynical) mogul loves to find out what their dumb audience thinks they did "wrong" and need to change, and doing so probably gives them even more power over those people, not less.
Admitting someone is right and you're wrong on some minor issue doesn't give them anything. Hell, it probably makes you look better. And on the flip side, getting another person to admit you were right and they were wrong on some minor issue doesn't elevate you or give you any points or fix any of the other problems in your life.
"If I can prove this blogger spelled a video game character's name wrong, my mom and dad will have to get back together!"
If someone finds I got some facts wrong about some news story, it doesn't mean they "beat" me, or that I'm no good. It probably means whatever news service they use has a different algorithm, so they got a better source on their feed. As long as I did my best to find the facts, it's just a matter of the different random paths life takes us all on. Someone's going to be in the right place at the right time. I could think of it as being "unlucky" enough to be shown up by some nobody, that all my readers are potential usurpers I need to be suspicious of, or I could think that I was "lucky" to have an scout on the scene, such that all my readers are eyes and ears out in the world, in position to pick up more stuff than I could ever hope to do alone.
Basically, I'm saying you slackers had better get busy and start feeding me all my material for my next column.
Write pieces of Christina's next column for her and send them to her on Twitter or Facebook.
For more from Christina, check out 6 Things No One Wants to Hear About Your Job and 7 Phrases That Are Great Signs It's Time to Stop Talking.
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