March 15, 2011

But I don't believe in constructive criticism.


People told me I'm a terrible critic. Frightening and absolutely mean. That I make many things look bad. Books, for instance. See here and here. And TV dramas. See here and here.

Thing is, people, I don't do critiques. I'm not even qualified to do any because I can be downright biased about many things just because I need to piss someone off. I'm selfish. Just like everyone else. And most of the things people refer to as my criticisms were not even close to one. I just happen to express my dislike towards things a little slightly too obtrusively, not sometimes. So it is often that I become the antagonist in so many people's eyes.

But honestly I tell myself insanely destructive things about my own works most of the times. That's why the written journey of Ig and Nina hasn't had any progress since a century ago and for that I profusely apologize! I haven't had any motivation to keep writing about these two people I really love, so as you can see for yourself, the blog is stuffed with virtual cobwebs you could virtually suffocate yourselves there anytime. It's the best place for the grossest way to virtually die. And I apologize to everyone who has been waiting for my chapter 6, truly from the deepest abyss of my heart and I promise to work faster so please don't give up on me!! And yeah, you know I should just go on with this post.

The thing about being opinionated, loud, offensive, and different, my dear readers, is that people tend to see you as someone lofty and imperious. Ask anyone. Ask yourselves.

I ask myself these several times when I read disturbingly negative, but grudgingly agreeable reviews on books I tremendously like; 'What is this feeling? Am I angry because there are many points that I grudgingly agree with, or am I hating the person who wrote this for realizing things I wish I had, earlier?' Most of the times I'd say 'Yes', also grudgingly, to the third the question. Then I'll start forming the image of an officious smart alec behind the reviewer's nickname in my head just for the heck of it, though most of the times, the image looks like me. Which doesn't fix anything, really.

Now, it's not a good feeling when you discover that dark side of yourself. That you can actually hate someone you don't know, for all the wrong reasons. OK fine, 'hate' is a strong word. I'll use 'despise' then. I still find that side of me scary. But at least I don't picture someone else when I'm at it.

I guess I'm sometimes annoyed at people for seeing more sense. But I'd like to believe that I am actually annoyed because I felt immature and stupid. Like you were having a wonderful dream and your mum just boomed through your bedroom door jerking you back to the fact that you were late for school. Or like you were taking a stroll in the park and you saw a hot guy running towards you and as he ran past you, instead of saying Hi! he gave you a slap on the face. Not pretty things to picture? I know. I'm weird like that. I bet some of you are weird like that, too.

So yeah, I'm no critic. And I'm very good at receiving constructive comments or views. On anything. As long as I detect no malice in between the lines. But I don't believe in constructive criticism.

My take on it? It doesn't exist.

Now what about you guys?

What kinds of misconceptions have people ever had about you?

Share with me.

27 scribbleback (s):

Al-Saachez said...

hahaha. i did face some kind of similar situation like you kak. people around me tend to tell me that sometimes my criticism is too much offensive and tend to go destructive but i basically dont care about their warning because as offensive as it might be, the only thing that matters is that i'm letting out what i have stored in my mind and i didn't made that up to cheer people, but to tell them the truth even though it might be unbearable for them.

amirah said...

I think people treat me as a soft-spoken, super polite lady with fragile heart. But truth is I am actually not!

The misconception sometimes make things hard because whenever I do critiques, the message is not delivered as they think people like won't say our opinion out loud.
Geram lah!!

avid reader of yr blog said...

kay, but what if i want to correct someone? wouldn't i mention their mistakes first then correct them so they know which or what i'm referring to? as long as i don't highlight it. that's also constructive criticism.

anak pak man said...

am I hating the person who wrote this for realizing things I wish I had, earlier?

Yeah, I DO feel that. -_-"

And I like that part about that dude slapping you. Oh so true.

People think that I'm a snob. I'm usually most of the time, an introvert.. But I love attention! Oxymoron I is.. :P

The Tea Drinker said...

as my x-boss once said... it is sometimes important to take out the word 'malay' out of one's IC and be blunt. cant soft-talk a nail into a wood. or tell the wood to swallow the nail

but on misconceptions... would have to find where(why) it came from to see if there should really be 'mis' at the front of it.

Ayaq said...

I do believe in constructive criticism. It's when someone criticise you, then give a suggestion on how can you make it better.

Otherwise it's just plain criticism.

People's misconceptions about me? Saya sombong/hard to approach. I think. Teehee.

NadiahZ said...

misconceptions about me. Some people find me hard to approach and cold. Well.. some people know me better than that.

ButirStar said...

some people always critics on how do i dress and wearing a tudung. it's not that i do something wrong (salah ke pakai baju labuh and pakai tudung labuh?) those jerks (biasanya makcik2 kat kampung) saying that it's not suitable for a teacher and nampak kolot.

and sometimes people misunderstood me for being unique(just like u), a bookworm and japanese addict.

farhan azmi said...

ButirStar:wah,it was shocked when that sort of people do exist..what's so kolot about wearing tudung labuh??
..x paham lah dgn org skrg..y betul dipelikkan..

ButirStar said...

farhan azmi: yeah..me too. it's like i did a 'dosa besar' when i wear that.

basically diaorang ni pandang atas dasar family status. anak org educated biasa pakai biasa2. anak ustaz ustazah, pakai tudung labuh.

Anonymous said...

tah. ape salahnye anak ustaz ustazah nak pakai baju kecik suar ketat kepala bogel, kan?

anisah shurfa said...

What can I say? In all my years of blogging, I've had random faggoty strangers saying that my sisters and I are bitches. I've had weird comments from people with really witty names such as "Tudung-Hater", nasty ones from cowardly anonymouses, personal threats from same, and even my own sisters tell me some of my posts are perasan (which I won't deny. Like duh, it's a personal blog. What would you expect?)

I guess, the moment you start being vocal, there WILL be backlash. So that's why you have to think carefully before publishing your thoughts for the rest of the world (with internet connection) to read. If you're ready to dish it out, you have to be ready to face the consequences, innit? Even if it means people labeling you as lofty and imperious.

I personally avoid reading negative reviews of books I love -- it just gets me all riled up ;-)

When I think about it carefully, I do believe constructive criticism exists... in the mind of the one who's giving it out. For the person on the receiving end, it's just criticism. And criticism is never easy to swallow, let alone have it become a lesson.

Constructive comments? Yes. Constructive criticism? No.

the Constantly Dramatic One said...

That I am a total bitch.

I'm not, I'm selectively bitchy. There is a diff you know...

cik kathy said...

I am quiet vocal back then, but once you're getting older (wiser perhaps) you will see things differently... more calm...

sebab tu kita selalu tgk mak bapak kita, depa rileks dan cool je selalu kan...:-)

Nani Othman said...

aamir,
truth can hurt. badly. i agree. i guess i need to do something about the way i tell people they suck. hm.

amirah,
what's wrong with being a soft-spoken, super polite lady? hehe. ah well i guess everything is wrong then since people keep misunderstanding you. i can understand why you're pissed. XD

avid reader of my blog (your name flatters me),
i don't know what kind of criticism is considered constructive. i just remembered that one of my friends once told me that criticisms are attacks, and no attack is ever constructive. so yeah. i guess that's why for me, it doesn't exist.

Nani Othman said...

anak pak man,
you're not a snob, that's for sure. =) you wouldn't have said hi to me on my digsby widget if you're one. we're cooler than cool, anak pak man. because i love attention, too. haha. just that i'm not an introvert.

tea drinker,
i think i'd love to have the word malay in my ic and be blunt anyway. =)

ayaq,
i'd love to believe that it's constructive comments. and no, i don't think you're sombong at all. hehe.

Nani Othman said...

nadiah,
oh i think i thought that about you, too. haha. but i now know you better than that. XD

long,
eleh, banyak bunyi lak makcik-makcik tu. tahulah takde duit nak beli tudung, takde duit nak beli baju cantik, nak kate orang kolot lak. sendiri tutup aurat la dulu baru tegur org. loser gila.

anisah,
i can't stop myself from reading the good and the bad reviews about books i like..although most of the times i dont agree with the bad ones, i just wanna know what other people think of it. and yes, i'm with you. constructive comments - yes. destructive criticism - no.

TCDO,
haha! you tell them, girl!


cik kathy,
my mum is older. and she's still vocal. and calm. all the time.

yes. mak bapak kita mmg relax dan cool. dan vocal.

cafiena said...

when I went for my Quality Control class,I ask my teacher,"how to say that they are doing thing wrongly, without saying it?"

she answered,"say it. there are two ways, you suggest the right way, and then say it, or you say it, and save the time. and you still have to say it"

I think, whether a criticism is killing or constructive depends on how one see it. Its all mindset.

In any improvement method, the first step is to identify what is wrong, in self-improvement, there is habit/ego/nafsu that build protecting the bad things, hence an additional step needed: to admit.

After that, when we figure whats wrong/bad/negative, we can figure something to reduce/eliminate or solve the problem.

Nani Othman said...

cafiena,
i'm still saying yes to constructive comments. not criticism. basically it's because i don't know how a constructive criticism should sound like. but i'm very familiar with constructive comments. i guess in my case it's not really mindset. i just lack the experience. =)

cafiena said...

hurm, rethinking again, i just realize what i mean is comment: it can be constructive or critic, and through this mixed up, i think, the way i get it mix up, other people create the term "constructive critism".

because when thinking about the word critic, I recall the idea of the word review and comment (the bad one, if someone say good thing about something, then it won't be call a critic), hence the mixed up.

and i am experiencing mix up -_-'

Nani Othman said...

I believe comments can either be constructive or destructive. And I don't really understand your comment. Sorry! DX

nani said...

all of my friends of 5 years and more say that the first impression they have of me is that of a scary looking stuck-up girl. they were afraid to approach me because i only spoke a few words to them and hardly was i the one to initiate a conversation with them. and although it is a misconception because i am the complete opposite of that, they're not completely wrong on the first impression that i make. i'm one of those people who take a week to warm up to new people. but once they get to know me, they will all say that i'm the loudest, funniest, most in-your-face person they've ever come across. haha. and i'm proud of that.

----------

and as far as constructive criticism goes, i believe in it. mostly because i think you can be mean yet still come out as helping people in the end. you're the bad guy, but that person you just mouthed off is probably going to realize you're actually right in the end. (just like those book critics that you love to hate. haha.)

for example, "oh my god your english totally sucks." is a criticism.

"wow, damn your english is horrible. it's supposed to be ___ not ___." is what i believe to be constructive criticism.

either way you end up looking snobbish. there is NO way to be nice when giving out a constructive criticism. and no, i'm not talking about the wording of a criticism. whether you word your criticism nicely or harshly you are still criticising someone, pointing out their flaws. they are bound to be hurt by it either way you do it.

i think that's what most people get confused by. i've come across some bloggers who are just as harshly opinionated as you are, but they never get called out as the stuck-up know-it-all simply because they word their thoughts and opinions in a less aggressive manner.

so i think you're right that you aren't a constructive critic because you tend to be biased in your opinions.

but y'know, critics don't criticise 100% of the time either. i mean, food critics can give restaurants good reviews too. does that mean they are not still a critic because they aren't criticising the restaurant? no. so i believe it depends on the situation. once you are pointing out someone's flaw, it is definitely a criticism. but if you include points that help improve that flaw then the criticism becomes constructive. (regardless of how mean or nicely you say it.)

but the line between a review and a constructive criticism is too blurry to clearly draw out anyways. so you can call it whatever you want basically. in the end, if you're mean, even if you're right, people will have the need to oppose you because they can't accept that you're right. haha.

p/s: i really need to cut back on my word count when replying to your posts these days. sometimes i feel like i'm annoying people by being such a blabber-mouth. sorry^^;

Nani Othman said...

nani,
first of all, you don't annoy me. at all. =) and secondly, i like your comments. hehe. immensely! because there are many times that you got me thinking. i like that. =) regarding what you said, about the fact that when you pointed out someone's flaw, that's definitely a criticism, i see criticisms as attacks of come sort. and then you point out what people can do to improve the flaw. for me that's not a criticism because it doesn't attack. and since it constructs, i'd call it a constructive comment. like, a criticism is a criticism, a constructive (and supportive) one is a comment. because it sounds..kinder (to my ears). XD

Anonymous said...

То come out with clean hands.

Nani Othman said...

anonymous,
I don't get it.

cafiena said...

dear teacher,

i found this and i like to share it with you;

http://www.suhaibwebb.com/personaldvlpt/character/constructive-criticism/

Nani Othman said...

cafiena,
thanks for sharing. =)

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