Days ago I saw a clip of the Ellen DeGeneres show. The host, actor/comedian Ellen mentioning how some people claimed that a recent performance that the singer Adele had put on was not up to the level they expected. Ellen admonished them saying that unless they can do better, they should be quiet.
If you can’t do X better than the person doing it you should not speak about X.
When a form of this statement is heard it should be struck down as ridiculous in almost all cases. In the above case how many critics were trying to be singers or performers whose efforts have been eclipsed by Adele? Were they comparing Adele’s performance solely to other singers or mostly to the own high expectations set by the skills and abilities she has.
Next time you think of saying something ask yourself what you’ve previously been critical of. Oh, the new Transformers film isn’t to your liking? Well then why don’t you and your friends get together and put on a better production. Can you do a better job of writing a script, obtaining funding, story-boarding, casting, directing and shooting it; composing the score, post-producing it all the while making sure it is marketable enough to effectively sell all the merchandise and be profitable?
No, you can’t do that better? Okay then shut up.
Don’t like that the new iPhone may not have a standard jack for your headphones? Can you design it better or are you just going to sit there and wah-wahh-wahhh about it. All you’ve got to do is be better at running a global tech company.
James Hardens’ new shoes look perfect for chain restaurant waiters? Yeah I’m sure during your breaks waiting tables you can sketch up a much better sneaker, got the connections for the supply chain, the right partners for selling the product and all the liscences and clout to handle all the legal aspects involved.
Oh am I being, obtuse and unreasonable by using examples of things done by large groups? Let’s try some more individual situations.
Should all critics of Donald Trump be quiet because they are not headlining a presidential campaign? Would you do better against the amount of money/effort aligned against him or the high level of stakes?
Should Usain Bolt, as the fastest man in the world have to answer to no slower person for his behavior, even if it is off the track? Would you do better with his level of fame and temptation?
I took the following pictures at The Metropolitian Musuem of Art. They were painted by individuals, was I wrong to find these worth photographing and others not? If you can’t paint as well should your opinion on the pieces be null and void?
Ah, is it unreasonable to use these exceptional examples? Okay, how about these?
I cook, arguably cook better than most non-Galting people manning the kitchens of fast food restaurants. Choosing to pay them for food implicitly states that for the moment they are better at preparing my next meal than I am. Does this mean I shouldn’t be critical of the food received? In actuality my tendency to experimental cooking made me appreciate the consistency of taste that restaurants have, yet I am more likely to be critical of what would be served at a high end restaurant than the dollar menu at some chain.
I do not want to be a single parent and taking steps to avoid it at all costs. Many people, through decisions they made, are single parents. Many of them rely on welfare, other forms of financial assistance and ‘discipline’ their children in physically and emotionally abusive ways. I can safely say anyone living on this situation is far ‘better’ at it than I ever plan on being. That said, since I am without child, is it wrong to be critical of their parenting style and choices?
If you are not currently a police officer. Not actually out patrolling certain high crime neighborhoods, where many of the above ‘parents’ reside. Not given the mandate to escalate force until compliance is met, usually from people raised in homes where force was used until compliance was met. If you are not a ‘better’ cop than the ones you hear about, are you disqualified from being critical of their policing methods?
This idea that unless you can do better you should not complain is inane. We are mostly critical because we expect better from the person or situation. In almost all cases, any actual shortcomings you point out are things your target already knows, other constructive ones can be used as fuel to improve and they likely care little about the unfounded ones. Does Ellen mean that she can only be critical of people of whom she is a better, woman, lesbian, blonde with short hair, home-owner, Californian, TV-host etc?
She likely does not.
She was likely just saying a thing people say. Making her kinda just like other people that should be allowed to say things they say. Who are then open to be criticized by words said by other people.
Control over the words of others often leads to far more critical actions.
Thank you for reading. I write a public blog which is part of my appreciation for the freedom to share opinions and be critiqued. I’ve began to filter what media i take in by first checking to see if comments are allowed. I encourage your comments and participation.