Today I want to take a quick look at the difference between critiquing and hating, because for some people the line between these two gets incredibly blurred. Though what I find more disturbing is how quickly someone who is critiquing something can be accused of hating.
This creates a clear problem for having a meaningful discussion (or any kind of critical thought) when anything perceived as a negative impression of something someone else values is hating it. Sometimes it doesn’t even need to be a negative view but merely not an overly positive one and the ‘H’ word will get thrown into the ring. And that effectively ends the dialogue. You can’t reasonably discuss something once one side of the table assumes you are attacking them and that you are doing it because of an inbuilt hate.
To start off I’m just going to give you the dictionary definition of the terms and then look at what that means in practice.
To critique is to review critically or to evaluate. To clarify, critical might mean inclined to find fault with but it also means involving skilful judgement as to truth, merit etc: for example a critical analysis. So in this instance a critique is to review something in a way as to make a skilful judgement as to something’s merit. It does not mean to criticise it (although if the truth that your analysis leads you to is that there is little merit it may seem as though there is criticism) nor does it have anything to do with an emotional investment such as liking or hating (admittedly, most people fall out of critiquing when writing reviews because they do fall back on a position of personal opinion).
Hating on the other hand is to regard something with a strong or passionate dislike. It is an entirely emotional state of being and does not rely on any kind of analysis or thought or evidence but is merely a position someone holds (though they may have come to that position after critiquing). Actually, I like the 6th definition given in my dictionary: devoted to expressing resentment or dislike: a hate session. That seems more like an appropriate definition for someone who is a hater of a series or is hating on a series rather than critiquing.
See, the critiquer is willing to engage in a discussion and hear other view points. They are willing to accept that their opinion was formed by x, y, z and if yours was formed by n, m, o instead then you will have a different view point. They might also think you are crazy for considering n, m, o important but they will see where your view point came from.
A hater on the other hand is devoted to the negative. They are utterly and completely unwilling to consider for even a moment that something might have merit or even just suck less than their view of it. They don’t want a reasoned discussion, they don’t want your opinion, they don’t want to even hear that another opinion might exist. They just want to repeatedly tear down any and everything to do with the object of their loathing. Which I guess could be an interesting hobby but I doubt you could ever add it to your resume.
We all hate things (that’s part of being human), but does that mean we are naturally predisposed to hating?
Not a chance. Firstly it takes a lot of energy to be an active hater. Secondly, I firmly believe that my own views are not absolute and this is an opinion shared by the many people out there engaging in conversations. That is part of the reason I started the In Case You Missed It posts on Monday. Because that way I can share other anibloggers views on the shows I’m watching, views on shows I haven’t watched or dropped, and just ideas about anime that might be different to my own.
Those following my blog probably know already how I feel about Black Butler 2. That doesn’t stop me from respecting the views of others on the sequel and including those posts that share a more positive side of the show. I think this is important because as an anime viewer I want to read as many view points as I can about something to consider it differently, to see things I may have overlooked, and to just enjoy discussing how a single anime can affect so many people in so many different ways.
Then again, do I think I am a critiquer?
Probably not. While I do provide some analysis mostly what I write are my impressions and reactions to shows with my thoughts on why I had these. I’ll save the really critical analysis to those a little more qualified than myself.
However, I think it is important that when we read the views of others we remember that someone disliking or being critical of something we liked isn’t a personal attack or a direct challenge. There’s no reason to feel annoyed over their opinion as their are as many opinions as their are people. And if they are hating on something you love and refusing to listen to any other view point, you are probably better off ending the conversation on your end and finding one of the many other amazing anime fans online to have a chat to.
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