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Critics Everywhere: Saying Anything in the Age of Self-Publishing


About a week ago, I read the widely-shared article called Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy in the Huffington Post. Knowing that some of the concepts the author brought up rang true for my experience, I posted it on my Facebook Timeline with a loose description: “Still figuring out how I feel about this article (generalizations are always tricky) but it’s definitely interesting and I’ve seen it ring true. Thoughts?” This is an experiment of sorts. I did want to get feedback from other people and start a discussion, but what I found is something very specific, and seems to represent a trend I’ve been observing.

In this day and age, when everyone can voice their opinion on their choice of hundreds of platforms, articles like this are often picked apart and attacked rather than used as a platform for discussion. While my goal was to use the concepts presented as fodder for discussion, my Facebook friends and others launched a full-fledged attack on specific examples, language and details in the original article. By posting it to Facebook, was I somehow saying I thought it was well-written or infallible? I hadn’t thought so, but the responses to this article and others seem to constantly come in the form of thorough attacks (lawyer-style, point by point) on the nitty gritty rather than discussions about the larger concepts at work.

Then, it happened again. Louis CK, one of my favorite comedians, ranted about smart phones for kids. And while I was ignoring the word choice and loving the basis of the idea, the heart of the intellectual concepts he presented, the attacks I’ve seen center on specifics, like how/when to give kids phones, not the social implications of doing so. Granted, some looked at bigger concepts, but I am finding that because people now have mouthpieces, they are eager to give their two cents in a particular format that attacks the article, rather than being okay with saying, “that’s your opinion, here’s mine” or just using it to discuss a topic. I am fascinated by this! What other examples have you seen? Maybe that op ed in the New York Times about St. Louis a while back and all of the backlash?

ps – For the record, the irony that I am posting this on the Internet is not lost on me. But here we are.

2 Responses to Critics Everywhere: Saying Anything in the Age of Self-Publishing

  1. Facebook reflects the society in which we live. There’s the four people you know who want to talk about issues, respect each other and learn (we’ll call them the nice people). And then there’s 900 million other people who don’t (we’ll call them everyone everywhere).

    When the nice people and everyone everywhere have interacted on my Facebook page, I have retreated to writing about dead people. That seems to be the only thing the two groups seem to agree on, that the person is dead.

    Sadly, it is taking the fun out of Facebook for me and I find myself spending less time there than ever before, And now all those obits are piling up like corpses on a bier.

  2. I am very intrigued by the transition of the television. When I was growing up and many others my age, the television was the electronic device that everyone was going after because of its impact on children and adults both physically and mentally. But now it is viewed, at least in the Forbes article, as a solution or an acceptable alternative to portable electronic devices.

    “I also am a strong advocate that the last hour before sleep be device-free, and allow the child to choose to watch TV, read a book or listen to music—all of which are calming to the brain,” – Larry Rosen

    It is my opinion, but the television is not very calming to the brain. Crickets, stars, books, tea and some music can be very calming. But the television, as a general rule, I cant call a brain calming mechanism.

    Just a thought.

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