penshark (penshark) wrote,

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Our (fill in the blanks) -- love it or leave it

Tonight's subject of Penshark confusion: The idea that all criticism is automatically a negative thing and if you truly liked/loved the subject, you wouldn't see the problems.

Where did that come from? It's not new; I'm old enough to remember the "America: Love it or leave it" slogans of the Vietnam War era.

But even then, it seemed the adherents were missing something. Even the teenage me realized it was possible to offer criticism of someone or something you loved ... because you loved it and wanted it to be its better self.

I'm not immune to the downside of criticism. Often, I've already beaten myself up with the "shouldas." But I've been gifted with people who can show me where I can do better in a way that doesn't leave me wondering if I'll ever figure it out. (One of those was the founder of the program in which I now teach. I steal some of his approaches, and I've told students they see his influence in the way I work.)

What's left me pondering this again is a couple of pages on Facebook focused on local content. One, which is open to positive and negative, has drawn a commentator who is relentlessly posting the "well, what do you expect of this place?" comments. It leaves me wondering why he still lives here, if the place is really that offensive to him.

But the other page, open only to things deemed positive, quickly pulled a comment critical of a new restaurant. Given their rules for the page, I get why it disappeared. But if I were the business owner, I'd want to know that at least one customer had a seemingly very bad experience with things (like food and service) that I might need to fix. That opinion isn't likely to vanish -- it's probably headed for the Word of Mouth Express as I type this. Some airlines have demonstrated how to turn that type of criticism into a virtue ... at least for those people who realize criticism can be meant to help build something better.

Sadly, we're in a time where many assume people who disagree with them are stupid or evil. From there, it's an even easier jump to the "love it or leave it" territory.

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