Beyond criticism – five theses

1. Critics are people who make a careful examination of a work or performance, or several of these, by other persons. The term is often cast negatively, mainly because focus is often placed on the negative aspects of a critique.

2. It is fair to suggest that in some cultures, criticism mainly of a negative kind is either unacceptable (if directly phrased) or acceptable (if indirect). This is more so where cultures are more concerned with maintaining good interpersonal relations or maintaining hierarchies of power.

3. Whether the Philippine arts scene, regardless of field, is open to critique is itself open to question. There is a mistaken belief that criticism dissuades artists from pursuing risky ventures.

4. The task of the critic is to ask the difficult questions but in such a way that it leaves readers/viewers with the sense that a work or performance is open to their judgment. Such a view does not, and should not, encourage a herd mentality. Critics in the Philippines must in particular be wary of this.

5. If there is one thing a critic must be able to achieve in this country, it is a cultural transformation toward a culture of honesty and transparency in communication. Their editors, where applicable, must be alert to the need to guarantee this honesty by clarifying their critics’ words where needed–and defending them against negative and often specious attack.


One thought on “Beyond criticism – five theses

  1. Pingback: Three things 5 – 18 January 2012 | Thinking and Doing

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