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Critique: An essay

I wonder sometimes what the relation between criticism and the genre of critique should be.
Critics v Creators
The esteemed British critic Mark Kermode in one of his uncut videos brought up an issue I’d always struggled with. I had been a critic of systems in the past like examination and testing systems and i’d always get the response ‘well that’s just because you failed!!!’ and that may have been true on occassion but it was not always true. There was in fact a day when it was markedly untrue, we had to participate in propangadizing the legacy of the person my university was named after and I had some issue with this. There was a course based on his life story and his hardship and the lesson to be drawn from that was in discussing topics like discipleship and valour. It was interesting his life story in the way that a Mad men episode or a museum is but the manner in which we assessed our progress was not to relate years and facts but to fill in the blanks in a textbook. Kermode made a similar distinction when he stated that he has not ever agreed that critics make better content or productions. He mentions one example of a Japanese critic who decided to make a movie that was not well received and in the resulting accusation had to delineate between the two identities he possessed.


A critic may not necessarily be a creator in waiting (director, producer, writer) but is an important gate keeper or even hand maiden in any given field. To serve the creators by showing them where they have failed or preventing bad products from being seen by those who are impressionable


Critics as High court judges
High court judges in the UK cannot hold political office or express political opinion during their tenure. This is a feature of separation of powers such that they can take cases individually or apply court precedents where necessary. In some newer creative fields such as comic books and video games there exists a lack of delineation complete or partial between enthusiasts and critics. In some of these industries, there exists an incentive to give positive reviews or praise to a work of art not on the basis of cohesion, symmetry, structure, appearance or value but on the off chance that they may break into the industry of their dreams.
There exists also a sort of perpetual childhood described by smarter people than me such that those who did not put away their long boxes have come back with a vengeance to critique work and to suggest ways to better an industry in decline like all print media. It seems ironic that the explosive popularity of spandex and flag wearing heroes has not seen a rise in overall sales and engagement in comics. The duty of the critic like a judge would be to decide the value of something based on evidence and arguments for and against and the creator should be able to separate the language or choice commentary from the empirical criticism.


Critics as Experts

There also seems to be an extent to which critics have to love or care about the products involved. An affinity or a fondness of the medium or material. While it is in common parlance to discredit someone by stating that they weren’t good enough to break into the industry, it is also important to use expert information to describe critical points. Someone who knows about story structure can critique a faulty story, an amateurish studied artist can describe things as they would be better and analyse artistic failures in poor anatomy work. This is an idea that seems to be lost, as though everyone never has control over emotions. If for example a person is categorised as hateful, is it impossible for them to make any agreeable points? The robotic nature of text should allow one to pars the simplest interpretations of critiques. Apply hanlon’s razor or legal rules of interpretation if confused. If your only response to a critique is that it is hateful you need to examine your counter critique. As much as it is pertinent to say that something is hateful it is also an unbelievably complicated concept that muddied the waters in discourse.

Tl;dr: Critics are important. Maybe critique and artistry are not always linked and should be separate. Insight into subject matter helps with reasoned critique


It’s hard to satirise something that has at its heart so many crazy ideas. If I tell a real story about how for most of my life I have been scared shitless of cats as they are featured prominently in the folk of my childhood and in media. The bizarre nature of the situation had puzzled me for a while because even though I have worked very hard to pull from myself every superstition I was born with, some have attached themselves like tumours that removing them would be fatal.
One way I have tried to free myself from my repressed past has been making fun of these notions, to the effect of about 3 poems of which only one is published because it seemed clear that it was contradictory in nature. I am unsure if the post was taken seriously or not but it did surprise me that there are indeed times when it is hard to distinguish a truth from a conflation as those types of statements have been made in the past by ideologues. It was interesting for me to explore those especially crazy truths I had come across in the past. I would, if I could only talk about precolonial Africa to show how the cultures had developed concurrently with the rest of the world some aspects of democracy, voting and such. But the colonial influx resulted in my ancestors being painted savage while they were offered a God to fix their problems. It is actually something that I would like to write a whole article on anytime soon as essentially Christianity was the vehicle for colonialism in at least the realm of the Royal Niger Company. Along with that came literacy and civilisation which may or may not be as great as it seems, and it retconned my past as well.
When missionaries visited my home from America, whether or not they went toward any of the more rural places in Nigeria or not is not within my range of amazing memory. It changed as now I have seen and met and sort of experienced the way my house will probably look to someone from the ‘first world’ and such. The thickest of jungles in Africa were nowhere in sight, in the LGA of Surulere where I lived for those years, there’s many things that are incongruous with that safari view. I remember how eager to please we were, as members of the choir we offered Americanised versions of songs we’d learned. It was such that my younger self had switched into his pleasing mode, desperate and frantic and trying to get the applause of the white women missionaries. Little boy danced like there was something to be gained and dinner arrived too soon, a meal of white rice with boiled chicken and tomato stew (which I call stew). There they were my parents, convincing me that these people would help whoever it was they had come to help. The following Sunday I excitedly told my friends that we had missionaries over and they would be coming over. They had Jesus based magic tricks which are more awesome than they sound, these involved colouring an image with random colours provided by the audience and ‘colouring’ with a handkerchief. The method to this magic has not been researched by myself, neither has it peaked my curiosity again since that day. I have in recent years revisited this and other such events to try to protract a positive from the event as I now view these people with such disdain and malcontent that they might as well have had a terrible thing happen to them without my concern.
Interesting though is the fact that not all missionaries are bad and maybe some of them genuinely feel like they have not been total dick holes in their history however ancient. The advantages will be noted thus, maybe they helped a kid from the brink of self harm in this unforgiving world by teaching him whatever biblical doctrine it was they subscribed to as well as offering them some actual help by way of food, water and education. That is I believe the main argument to be had about whether or not they do any good in the world, but the cynic in me looks at it and sees
“I’ll give you food and water and education if you agree to subscribe to my belief system wholeheartedly including but not exclusive to:
Leaving your home and family if Christ requires it
Giving away a tenth of your allowance because God has a credit cash back deal he has set up
Maybe cut off the foreskin of your penis
Also abandon your culture and your people’s way of making sense of the world
Strive as well to convert others to the belief you are still getting into
Eventually, hand on every word of some intangible being that has vague means of discerning his presence and don’t forget to always bring your money to pay the man who gives a live adaptation of the fiction on which your entire life is based”
I have ended my argument for the necessity or lack thereof of missionaries in my experience.
Disclaimer: I don’t speak for anyone but me at this time, future me may disagree.
148 as of 9:00

Napalm and Coffee

Eyes wide open, waiting for life to happen
Signals in the ether because arms were wide open
Sheitan is your nemesis and haunt you he will
It’s a brutal summary very much like vol 2 kill bill
Natural light with unnatural lighters glow
We were wookies in conquest with a fighters bow
Sigmund fixed you when you were down
Did he also tell you he’s crazier than doc brown
Material it’s an insult to how I used to live
Tragic with the pig’s blood how am i meant to give
Sheep will lead the shepherd like a bunch of cattle
Reapers hating shepard and now he’s ready for battle
Talk about my new year with all that I’ve been missing
Children getting found with many yet to listen
Hold what’s yours tight like an oscar
Hold onto your rights because fear is not far
Ironic how they’d let her be welcome
But lock his hair up so that he won’t come
Fire burns out fire at least heat blast said so
Make him change the way his hair is hung low