Concerning Criticism

One way we censor opinions in this culture is through our aversion to criticism. We dress up our true opinions more from fear of loosing friends and of being real than we are of being mean. We think that people won’t like us if we share our honest feelings–perhaps that’s why most fiction writers are so anxious all of the time.

I decided to a make a list, a continuum, of responses to questions and inquiries for our opinions. This list is a bunch of categories I made up to classify the types of responses we give in order from lying affirmation to lying negation with truth and silence in the middle. The last three categories, like the first three categories, are downright lies:

  1. Lying hyper-superlative affirmation
  2. Lying superlative affirmation
  3. Lying affirmation
  4. Gentle Honesty & Diversion
  5. Constructive affirmation
  6. Tactful affirmation
  7. Silence.
  8. Tactful Criticism
  9. Constructive Criticism
  10. Brutal Honesty & Direction
  11. Lying negation
  12. Lying superlative negation
  13. Lying hyper-superlative negation

Obviously silence, neither affirming nor denying, creates the most peace and thus earned the color green. What’s that look like? Here’s an example. Take this picture of an ugly baby:

And then pretend the mom asks you the question, “What do you think of my kid?”

  1. “That’s the cutest, daintiest , sweetest little bundle of joy I will ever see!”
  2. “Aww, isn’t he cute! He’s just the cutest little guy!”
  3. “Yup, cute alright.”
  4. “Well… I think he looks hungry. Want to do lunch?”
  5. “He’s your kid, alright.”
  6. “His eyes are closed like he’s thinking. I bet he’s a big thinker.”
  7. “…”
  8. “Well… he’s a bit larger than your other kids. Call me when you need me.”
  9. “You’ll need to invent a new size of diapers. I’ll help.”
  10. “You need help with something that huge. Call in special services quick.”
  11. “Kid looks nothing like you. He’s fat, gigantic and frowning.”
  12. “Ugliest ginormous kid in the world.”
  13. “What, you marry Goliath or something?! That’s the ugliest, most brutish child that will ever exist!”

As you can see, five through nine tend to be the most helpful–those that revolve around things we hold back. One and thirteen are absurd because there’s no way of knowing (1) if an uglier/prettier child will exist nor (2) if our aesthetic is the best. I’m sure Hagrid would find this child adorable.


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