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Standing Out and Speaking Up: The Role Of Critics in Modern Society

criticIt’s inherent for humans to be optimistic, or at the very least, hopeful that things turn out for the better despite the odds stacked up against us. A positive outlook in life, after, all, helps us appreciate life more. However, even the most optimistic person may succumb to negative thoughts, especially when going through great difficulty with no possible solution in sight.

Collectively, we tend to forget about looking at things from a brighter perspective when we are going through something.  Worse, if someone makes light of a serious situation, he or she ends up being looked down upon or judged.

In our society, many of us are overly critical of respected institutions such as the government and the church especially if it involves the specific people who serve in such institutions. But without realizing it, these people are the ones who have enough courage to point out the flaws of a certain person or system. He or she may use different ways to express or highlight glaring concerns regarding an issue such as through satire or jokes. Of course, the public tends to frown upon people who try to see the humor in even the most serious of global or local issues.

Nevertheless, we should also consider the value of a critic. Any comment by a critic will certainly elicit reactions from his listeners and these reactions will instigate discussions between concerned individuals to clarify the details. It could also be possible that the insights of a critic may be used to settle controversial issues within the community, it all depends on the type of listeners and how they take the comments, they hear from the critic.

Statements made by critics are often regarded by the society as inappropriate remarks. Critics tend to be seen as embittered individuals who are overly critical, never to be satisfied no matter how many times the system changes. What many of us don’t realize is that critics are brave individuals who not only go against the grain, they are never afraid to speak up. Why? Because they want to instigate change and improve the society.

Critics actually remind us that we have our own minds so we can decide what we want to do as long as we are not stepping over someone else’s toes. We should not follow others blindly just because they are the ones who have a position in the community. Critics are contributing greatly to our society because what they do best enrich our lives in many ways. Most of the time, the laws, which were promulgated for the common good, are more focused on specific sects or classes of the society.

In modern times, there is no specific group in our governments that is specifically designated to scrutinize the mistakes of the society. What we have today are writers, cartoonists, or reporters who share their insights about relevant issues related to the general public. Critics are disliked by many simply because we don’t like the feeling of being called out for our flaws. We would rather be showered with praises and never to be chastised by others when we do something wrong.


We’re not perfect after all and unfortunately, many of us are unaware of our personal flaws. We tend to disregard our own flaws because we make ourselves believe that these are trivial matters that will make a difference in the community. Imagine living a world where there’s no one to point out the right from the wrong. What kind of world would that be?

We should bear in mind that criticism isn’t all that bad. Constructive criticism is meant to help others improve themselves. So if you find yourself disagreeing with certain things in the community, don’t be afraid to express yourself even if you are criticizing a big institution or a popular person.

On the other hand, if you are uncertain about the point you want to avoid making harsh remarks that have no factual basis. Pick your battles, learn to take a step back when you have to. Holding back may require herculean effort especially when emotions run high but at the risk of your credibility being affected, it’s best to hold back.

The fear of non-participation is also based on how the society has conditioned us all. Someone who does things that are against typical choices or popular beliefs tend to be ostracized by the public. Such individuals may be deprived of the benefits and graces that other people enjoy. Sadly, this belief has been instilled to us very early on. Children who actively participate by joining contests, recitations, and programs are usually the ones who are awarded with honors while students who sit quietly in their chairs often tagged as dumb, an outsider, different or worse, odd.

Non-participation in children is a very common occurrence. Often times, this is a perfect example of how certain individuals prefer to listen rather than engage in mindless chatter with others.

By: Jeffrey Slayter

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