How do you deal with criticism?

I’d really like to hear people’s honest response to how they are affected by the criticism of others.



about 13 years ago

Are you referring to "peer review" type of criticism- i.e., an artist being reviewed by an art critic or are you talking about your good-for-nothing spouse calling you a good-for-nothing spouse?


about 13 years ago

I try to divide personal criticism down into three categories:
1) Criticism for my benefit in which the criticizer truly is trying to correct me or improve my actions, or

2) Criticism for the common good in which the criticizer is trying to adjust my behavior or attitude for a greater good, or

3) Criticism for the other's benefit in which the criticizer takes issue with my behavior for their own agenda, sometimes consisting simply of making me feel bad so he or she can feel good.

Sometimes it is hard to distinguish between these.  I try to be patient with the first, and humble.  The second often requires dialog as the common good is not always obvious.  The third can most often be ignored, if you are able.


about 13 years ago

What are you saying about me? 

I like constructive criticism but it's a rare skill to give it and use it, takes trust and practice. I've noticed that creative effort requires investment of ego, being able to actually gain from critique requires letting go of ego ... a duality which creates tension which can produce energy.


about 13 years ago

Depends on who's giving it and the context.


about 13 years ago

Ironic1 nailed it.


about 13 years ago

I don't control what other people think so I'm seldom bothered by it. People can get critical with me and that's fine. But they have to remember -- they can kiss my ass.


about 13 years ago

What others think about me is none of my business. How much of my time have I spent worrying about what other people think of me? Too much is the short answer.


about 13 years ago

I don't like it. It's nice to think I'm O.K. with it, but it is loathsome no matter the intentions. However, getting showered with beer cups is way easier to take than some drunk friend with ideas about your lyrics. Any friend-to-friend "constructive" criticism I've offered in the past usually ends up taken the wrong way.  Criticism is an unfortunate counter-balance to free creativity.  Anyone who says they're immune is a liar.  I suggest you assume nobody will understand or like what you do, then decide if you still want to do it.  P.S. y'all suck!


about 13 years ago

I've noticed that for years, the local music scene has lacked a good forum for constructive criticism. Maye it's not a lack of forum but there is a timidness, a feeling like you cant say anything other than ... "Awesome show dude!" or people will think you're out to scuttle artistic endeavor or worse be insulting. Probably comes from years of being downtrodden and feeling lucky just to have a semi-vibrant music culture here or just having places to play original stuff at all. An insightful music critic who isn't just glad-handing and who takes it seriously (but not too seriously) and is knowledgeable about music could really raise the bar and prompt some artistic growth in the community as whole ... if the community can handle it, or cared. I suggest let Lefty come up with some arbitrary rating system having to do with fruit or body parts. Really though, Matt Perrine and John Zeigler are coming the closest, but frankly it feels (I'm sure not intentionally on their part) a bit sycophantic at times. BTW Gartman, your band has too many banjos in it, can you fix that?


about 13 years ago

I used to take criticism seriously when I was younger, but I haven't cared what anyone says for a long, long time. Those who I respect - and those who respect me for who and what I am never criticize what I do or how I live, anyway. Perhaps I'm just lucky. Mostly though, I think it's because there's not much to criticize in the first place. Any criticism I receive these days is usually in the form of someone who doesn't know me too well. In this regard, I just smile and nod. I'll take what they say into consideration, but it rarely goes any further. Once they get to know me, they pretty much catch the drift that I'm kind of weird anyway... and quickly give up.

Bad Cat!

about 13 years ago

It depends on what mood I'm in, but "badly" is usually the case.


about 13 years ago

2nd Sparhawk and McShane.

Also (once again): John Gabriel's Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory.

Jamie Ness

about 13 years ago

I don't know what to do with the criticism that comes my way.  I know I have had violent outbursts, during my worst drinking days, and I know that's not OK. 

Does that mean I shouldn't play in bar bands?  Does it make me a hypocrite?  I want to figure it out because I am enjoying a peaceful life in recent years and I love rock and roll.

Frank Nichols

about 13 years ago

There is a difference between you should and you could. I've thought about this for a while, cause I pretty much thought that I knew a lot. But then somehow, over the years, I realized that even if I do it's up to you to make that decision. If I told you you should it's not my place to tell you what to do. I could then offer up what you could do. Just an outside look, like maybe this is a different way to look. 

As far as bands, let's just be happy we have music. I got out of line talking to Gomez, said hey if you cleaned it up, made my style of rock and roll dancing -- which would mean you would do covers like they did, do it like they did it, Chuck Berry -- but that's my bag, not everybody's bag. 

There was something about that old beat. Can you make it any better, and why try? If you can't find the next sine wave of what makes us dance you could make the choice, you can make Mabaline into whatever you want but the original will still be more. Just from an old dancer's standpoint.

But criticism, who is the judge?

Barrett Chase

about 13 years ago

I'm completely baffled by how many people immediately assume that all criticism is somehow malicious and/or uninformed, something to be met with hostility. That's really effing sad. 

Creatively, you simply cannot grow without criticism. It's essential to be challenged. You are not perfect, and you do not know everything.


about 13 years ago

Criticism is an important piece of the balancing act that holds you to the tight wire. No more or less important than the stick that keeps you centered.


about 13 years ago

i find a couple of jabs to the snot box usually works for quelling any and all undue criticism.


about 13 years ago

Gonna have to go with barrett on this one. 

How else can we know how our actions have affected someone else?


about 13 years ago

I like it when Marc wears war paint when he plays. It's usually him at his best.


about 13 years ago

Even though it's difficult to hear, I generally appreciate honest, thoughtful criticism.  Depending on who's talking, how much I care about that person, what they're saying, and how much of a sore spot that already was for me - it might take a minute, or a day, or a very long time for me to reach the point where I can appreciate what they've said and put it to good use.  The truer it is, the worse it stings, and that has to ease up a bit before I'm ready to really hear and understand it.


about 13 years ago

Criticism as in "wow, are you fat" versus criticism as in "I care about you and for your health you should lose weight." Same basic message, differently delivery and reaction. 

As for music or art criticism, I leave that to my nephew who writes/is a critic for Spin and Rolling Stone mags. I know what I like, and at times it's vastly different from his taste, so wild discussions ensue.


about 13 years ago

The short answer is I don't react well at all usually. For me personally it has a lot to do with the fact that I spent a lot of time in reflection on myself and my art. There is very few short comings you could tell me about that I haven't already reflected on. This is compounded by the fact that the criticism isn't always in good faith. Often it is mean spirited and not constructive. Often it is the "tear you down to build myself up" type of stuff. There is a saying that communication is 10% what you say and 90% how you say it. Occasionally you get someone who is sincere and it almost always comes off as very helpful, an encouragement not a criticism. If you seriously want to give constructive criticism I find it useful to give a couple of positives before the negative. Example: "I like the songs you're playing, I think if you could slow them down a little and dig into the groove more it would really be great."


about 13 years ago

This is hard. 

As creatives, our output is so tremendously tied to who WE are that it becomes a bitter pill to swallow when our work is criticized. 

However, I like to think that people who criticize my work, to me, still give a shit about my work being good - and about my work getting better. It means they are paying attention, and they care. When people stop criticizing you, it means they've given up - that you've done the best you ever could, that you'll never do anything better... or worse.. that they just don't care. 

I don't think I ever want to be there.


about 13 years ago

That's why dogs are our best friends. They don't talk.

Wes Scott

about 13 years ago

I love my Golden, she has perfect hair color,
is always loyal and doesn't talk. Never has
barked ever. She is the perfect girl. 
Always up for a hike on the North Shore as well. If women could get this into their heads
they would be very much loved like my dog.


about 13 years ago

Few take it well, it takes a subdued ego.  A trained and handy skill to have though. Republicans, Artistes, Musicians, just about anyone in Generation Starstruck, or any of the other American Dream embittered, flag sucking joy snoozers, usually take it poorly.  We all have the little demon inside called Ego which makes it well known whose ass is the cat's ass,  and unfortunately when everyone is the Cat's Ass all at once, the real Cat's Asses can't readily rise through the muck. Its a straight lineage pointing cleanly back to our ancient  turd flinging monkey natures which make us want to bash brains out on whoever tells us anything we don't want to hear.  Until we learn to cut loose a little, travel with a light heart, have a sense of whimsy, realize we're all stuck on God's Giant Goofball  together, that nothing really matters except being party to one big good happy family, then we'll all be mud guppies forever.

 "Think Big Henry!"  Nixon to Kissinger on Vietnam and using the Atom BOmb


about 13 years ago

Way to blow my top secret cover, Googlemouse.


about 13 years ago

flag sucking joy snoozers?

that rich!

you forgot hippies, though.

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