Bristle’s Babbles #7 – ‘Always Be Open Minded’

NOTE: Old post, sorta rambly.

The main goal of a critic, put rather simply, is to tell their audience “is this good or is this bad?”. Even though some critics look down on their audience, pretty much all of them acknowledge that their duty is to explain to said audience why or why not they should experience something. With that said, I find it rather unsettling that most people who take it upon themselves to accept that duty as a critic don’t at the very least try to approach things with an open mind.

Bias is hard to avoid. No matter how open and diplomatic you try to be you’re almost certainly going to develop bias towards and against certain things. Very rarely does every single genre and style appeal to any one individual. There’s two ways to go about reviewing something that doesn’t appeal to you. The first is to avoid it entirely. While that may not be very ideal, your bias may be so irrational that you’d rather just keep it to yourself. The second way is to just try. Professional critics don’t often have any choice when it comes to what they review. In trying you should do your best to acknowledge that your opinion may not be as valuable and informed as it could be. Despite that you should do your best to find something that really is valuable and acknowledge it. A truly good work is one that a rational critic can find concrete value in, and you shouldn’t consider yourself totally unreliable just because you’re not within some sort of niche.

With that said, people often let their biases get the best of them. They go in to something with every intention to dislike it, and very rarely does it end well for them. No matter how low your hopes are for something going in, you should never dismiss it based on a simple assumption of what you will or won’t get out of it. You should be hoping that anything you watch gives you something valuable that lasts. “I tried to like it” should never be an excuse, it should be one of the main rules.

When you’re a critic and you write your detailed explanations of why or why not something appealed to you, the one thing that’s important is that you’ve gotten the most out of what you’re critiquing, that you’re not holding yourself back from appreciating something concrete because your biases towards a genre or author or animation studio or what have you won’t allow you to. When your goal is to be of value to an audience, try to be of as much value as you can and never intentionally stray from being as informed and open as possible no matter what.

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