When criticism becomes bad manners.

Is it just me or does it seem that more and more people are using the web to ridicule rather than provide constructive criticism? I’m not talking about those sites and blogs where people have made a commitment to a particular topic and provide a service by evaluating products and ideas for the greater good. I’m talking about those people who roam the web searching for something they can take out of context and pick fun at. Sure, it’s their right to say whatever they feel. But, I’m not sure the motivation is to inform the public or even freedom of expression. There seems to be a perverse desire to find negativity in the things that others are doing. If Mother Teresa were an unknown and decided to take her cause to the web and posted her thoughts with a picture (not in religious habit), even she would be a target! Not that she would care of course. But, the point is, there are people out there who just love to shoot others down. It might be tendency. It might a form of self aggrandizement or perhaps a defensive mechanism. But, I think the most likely reason of all is that their hearts are three sizes too small. Bring anyone to mind???? Unfortunately many of these Grinches are parents too. Can you imagine what their children are learning? If you don’t feel good about yourself, no problem, just focus that energy on criticizing others. I actually have empathy for these people. I think most of them do it unconsciously. Perhaps it was how they were treated as children. Moreover, we as a society tolerate it. In fact, our society’s desire to feel better about ourselves through the criticism of others is so popular that we have made it a profitable career for many. Well, guess what? It’s not clever or funny. It’s just bad manners and even though these people may get others to laugh with them, they’re not really contributing anything to the world other than negativity. What our children really need is to learn genuine skills for critical analysis so that they can differentiate for themselves what is valuable.

It’s unlikely that the perpetrators of this kind of criticism are going to read this, so I guess I’m really speaking to the victims. Chin up I say and know that this kind of criticism, although painful, is impotent. Even if it comes from those close to you. No one is perfect, but the conscious effort to put forth a creative solution to problems out trumps the lazy critic every time.