Have you ever noticed how scathing our society has become? We build up these stars to be larger-than-life, obsess over them, only to wait for the moment to be able to tear them down. Take Anne Hathaway for instance. She stands up for human rights, comes across as an incredibly philanthropic, benevolent person, and is an excellent role model. When interviewers want to glorify her weight loss for her Academy Award-winning role as Fantine in Les Miserables, she halts any praise, countering, “…I did it to look like I was dying.” As my dad pointed out yesterday, she is getting all this uncalled for backlash now when, “What did she do aside from be fabulous?” Why do people want to pick apart her long acceptance speeches with so many positive elements to acclaim? Why does our culture derive so much delight in judgment and criticism?
It would be different if the criticism were constructive. A show like American Idol is at its best when you watch a singer rise up from harsh feedback to suddenly become one of the dark horses of the competition. His or her skills grow more rapidly than the other competitors. This season the new judges are generally great at voicing their opinions in a way that helps the singers learn how to improve upon their performances; minus Randy Jackson, who sometimes will just say “that was TERRIBLE,” and ONLY say that. How is that helpful?
This sort of culture leads to a tailspin. The mentality seeps into other aspects of our society as well, corroding our perspectives. For instance, I had lunch one day with a friend of a friend who asked, “How do you feel about the band Pink Floyd?” and followed immediately, declaring, “If you say you hate them, I’m going to judge you for that. If you say you love them, I’m going to judge you for that. But if you say, ‘I find them interesting on a technical level…then we can be friends.'”