Criticism

This is going to be a terribly cliché and ironically hypocritical post. Bear with me.

I appreciate special interest groups. They bring awareness and discussion. This is good. I also appreciate the labels of “tree-huggers”, “hippies”, “upstarts”, etc. These people have a vision and are often seen in the midst of that vision.

If I may, my generation of young people have a strange and ludicrous habit: we are often the first to criticize. We will criticize our government, our teachers, our school, our parents, rules, society, other beliefs and practices, and “other” people (like the “upstarts” for example). Why are we so critical? Are we the product of the society in which we live? If so, is our society itself critical?

In my history classes, I’ve learned how the media (in particular, newspapers and journalists) were crucial to societal change. Consider Upton Sinclair‘s The Jungle, or the exploits of the infamous Nellie Bly. Without these “upstarts” meat practices and psych ward care would be non-existent.

However, there has been a dark side to this change. During elections in the earlier part of this century, newspapers were famous for “muckraking”, a not-so-pleasant exposé of the individual candidates.

Finally, in the newer era, I wonder, Dear Reader, did any notice how quickly the oil spill coverage disappeared into thin air? What was termed “the worst spill” suddenly no longer existed. Why? Was it because the companies and governments were making progress in cleaning the spill up?

As my journalism prof says, “Trouble is interesting”. He’s right. This is the sole reason behind knowing all the bad things that happen in this world: someone has seen it and written a story.

What about good things? What about troubled youth who have turned around to graduate from high school and college? What about groups like Habitat for Humanity and the number of houses they built this last year? What about people who have been “saved” from starvation in Africa because of the kindness of others through donations? Where are these stories?

Perhaps my problem is that I am a product of my generation. Here I sit, in front of my computer, knowing I am among 1% in the world to even own a laptop, and writing criticism. How easy it is for the mighty to look down on the weak.

Maybe, with the “weak” in mind, I will remember to stick up for the little people. The people who work behind the scenes to get things done that no one ever thanks them for. Those are the stories I want to see in a paper. Those are the stories I want to read.

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One thought on “Criticism

  1. termione says:

    Your generation doesn’t have the monopoly on criticism… mine is pretty quick to jump on that little hayride, too.

    I don’t know if you saw Conan O’Brien’s farewell speech on his last night of hosting the Tonight Show (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/22/conan-obriens-heartfelt-f_n_433954.html)

    I liked what he had to say about cynicism. I think my generation is entirely too cynical (in addition to being too critical).

    I’d like to see more about the good– great– things that are happening in the world, too. The kind of stuff that makes us work harder to make the world a better place.

    So, no pressure for you. :)

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