[“It’s Time for Cake” are my ramblings about art, writing and other stuff that comes to mind, feel free to read or reply to it as you see fit.]
Today’s wall-o-text is a continuation of sorts from the first of these- aka how to address common self-delusions, flimsy fallacies and other detrimental coping mechanisms that arise when a work is criticized. I will attempt to talk about the ones I see most often, I am sure there are several more so please forgive me if I miss them! (Click the cut for more).
"It’s my/his/her/their style"/"It’s [style of choice]."
A fairly easy translation of “there’s nothing artistically wrong here!” There are many styles that exist and many interpretations, abstractions and intentions- but nearly any style can be criticized for being compositionally or aesthetically incorrect/displeasing.
If you find yourself saying this to “counter” critcisms frequently you may have a style that is unsound or unstable.
If you find your critiques often being met with this statement by the artist or fans: if from the former it is up to you if you wish to pursue explaining it, for fans it’s honestly not a bit of their damn business (though you are free to challenge them, but the rewards for doing so are microscopic at best). They are the interpreters, not the creator and as such “It’s their style” CAN be considered a fallacious statement (assuming the creator supplies no formal statement about what the art is or isn’t and they [the fans] are merely acting upon defensive feelings).
"Don’t like it, don’t look."/"No one forced you to read/watch it." [Don’t you dare criticize how I’m doing something ignorant/stupid!]
Easily one of the most idiotic “defenses” that exist for the simple reason that there is no such thing as Schrodinger’s critique. Criticism exists to address and critically analyze things for a variety of reasons- examination of what is right/wrong, appreciation/disapproval of the author’s statement, testing the depth of a message and/or visual, etc. - criticism exists from the act of looking, thinking and commentating about what is wrong in a productive, intelligent manner.
Willfully choosing to ignore something’s existence is an act of intellectual disrespect to all parties involved. It sounds melodramatic but without critical examination ignorance and poor quality runs wild.
Ignoring shitty things doesn’t make them disappear and it never will, why should it apply to art?
If you find yourself typing out this fallacy in a sincere matter, stop yourself.
"It’s just fiction!" and in some cases "People are SO close-minded!*" [Used as a defense for why fetishistic, sexual objectification and other disrespectful/ignorant handling of material is ‘okay’.]
And offshoot of the previous statement, often spouted by those who create or enjoy material that exploits things such as the female body/females and their roles in society, homosexuality, emotional/sexual/physical abuse, racism, etc.
This flimsy “defense” has no merit based on how often the one saying it is not directly impacted by the negative connotations of the work in question- or have a mental disconnect about how fiction often reflects or is spawned by reality.
A frequent and alarmingly common example would be the depictions of rape/sexual assault/various abusive relationships and how they are depicted as desirable in “romantic” mediums. (Same for the insane skew concerning how females are depicted in media across the board.)
This isn’t to say that escapism is inherently or objectively bad, but the line of thought that the feeble excuse of “it’s fictional, so it’s immune to criticism” is somehow valid is what is and forever shall be, wrong.
*Acting on racism, sexism, bigotry and/or sexuality-related phobias to oppress or otherwise be an asshat to other people are examples of “close-minded”. Voicing objections to a character assaulting/manipulating/etc. another character into having Stockholm syndrome and tagging that as healthy is NOT someone being “close-minded.”
"Haters gonna hate."/"You’re just a hater!"
Translation: I’m trying to play off being buttmad because I have no valid rebuttals to very valid points.
"You’re not qualified!"/[You can’t draw, how dare you critcize my/this artist’s work.]
The counter is and will always be “one does not need to be a cook in order to tell the cook that the food is indeed, burnt.”
Fallacies, plain and simple:
Ad hominem – attacking the arguer instead of the argument.
Poisoning the well – a type of ad hominem where adverse information about a target is presented with the intention of discrediting everything that the target person says
"It’s legal in my country!"/"The Admins are stupid."/"Who reported my stuff!? /BAWWW"
Translation: Fuck your Terms of Service! WAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!
"It’s not like I do this for money."/"I didn’t put forth any effort."/"I really hate how this turned out."
MY LOW-ESTEEM HUNGERS FOR PRAISE, STROKE ME, YEAAAAAH PUT YOUR MOUTH ON THERE AND SUCK HARDER, HAAAAAARDDDDDDDDDERRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!
Ahem, I mean this is a fairly common attempt to sluff off any accountability, usually to protect a fragile ego but really it’s typically a thinly veiled appeal to pity/sympathy.
As an aside it will always baffle me when the money-related defense comes up, even if you sew for a hobby, just because you aren’t getting money doesn’t mean your sewing is somehow fine or not eligible to be called shoddy.
"Well, it’s better than [the rest of the genre], so it’s good."/"At LEAST it’s not [abomination of choice]."
Translation: I set the bar low but not AS LOW as the rest of whatever niche I set.
Basically it’s a “why settle for less?” or rather, WHY do romance fans typically settle for such vapid, shallowly-written and trite shit? Things such as romance need not be “A gets B, the end”, relationships can be gray and psychologically complex and rewarding to watch unfold. The conflicts can be rich because unlike most external conflicts, it can’t be solved just by hitting it away.
Another more specific example of this is nearly every fucking yaoi/BL in existence. Homosexuality is not supposed to be a GIMMICK that makes a shitty and/or mediocre work “GOOD” because the REST of it is just badly drawn dicks touching each other.
If you EVER find yourself using this excuse you have FAILED as a writer and possibly an artist.
If you find yourself saying this as a FAN of something you might be framing your phrasing wrong or you REALLY have little confidence in the work you’re a fan of.
"I [the artist] worked hard on making this for you, you better appreciate this!"/"I [the fan] DEMAND [something] from the artist."
For the former, yeah you and every other artist/writer worth a damn, you’re still getting your shit critiqued.
For the latter, no you shut your noise tube, make critiques not demands.
Anyway, I think that covers most of the big ones. Thanks for reading.
Comments? Feedback? Like/Reblog? Is there something you’re like to hear me ramble about?