The Difference Between Heckling & Legitimate Criticism

The internet is full of hecklers who think they are providing valuable criticism when really they are just being a painful nuisance.

Chances are that you clicked on this writing from a social media post. Let us call that post the stage. I am the performer. This writing is my performance. You are the audience. Also, the show is free.

If this were an actual stage there would be audience members who did not care much for the performance or the performer. If someone came to the stage and started judging my act in the same space it was happening, we would call that person a heckler. And nobody likes a heckler for obvious reasons. They violate the performance and performer, and sully the stage.

Another person might not like the performance and decide to pay close attention and take some notes to fully understand why they did not like it. After they left the show they might spend some time writing up a criticism. That is how legitimate criticism is done. Most performers do not care much for critics, but they understand their role in culture, and begrudgingly respect the trade.

Now let us say that you write criticism on the internet. After getting heckled in the same ways over and over you turn your criticism at the contents of the heckler scripts. Now you are in a situation in which you are to be heckled by the hecklers over your criticism of their heckling. Finally you have to write a criticism of heckling in general that explains to the hecklers that they are not critics; they are hecklers. That is the fucked up mess you are reading right now. And there is a good chance that I will have to write yet another piece to explain this in even more detail…ad infinitum.

Prometheus Writes

Just because something is possible, does not mean it is good. This is the pitfall of the internet.

Comments sections have made opinion-sharing a normal part of online culture. Yet more often than not the opinions and feedback are petty, negative heckling with no merit whatsoever. They are born and exist only to validate the ego of the heckler. They do not improve content, help creators or make any lasting social impact. They just create a roaring blaze of ill will and bad faith that ends when everybody has hardened their hearts completely. That is not a good place to go, but that is exactly where we are heading.

If you do not like this writing (or any other by any author) then contact me privately with your concerns or do the due diligence and go create a legitimate written criticism. On your own time. Not during the performance and not on my stage.

And remember, you paid me nothing at all to read this. You have done nothing to earn my respect. You do not know me and I do not owe you anything. You are not entitled to be an asshole just because I put my work in the public domain. I mean, you totally can, but really take a hard look at what that makes you. It makes you a heckler. Since nobody likes a heckler this can only end when we all hate each other. STOP!

[Place platitudes of kindness and encouragement here.]

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6 thoughts on “The Difference Between Heckling & Legitimate Criticism

  1. This is a hard one for me.

    I don’t know if I have told you about this or not, but there is this one cartoon that I am madly in love with. It features unique character designs that take after earlier cartoons and totally off-the-walls animation. It’s crass, but hardly offensive; it has little to no punching down or shock humor, but just random nonsense. The two main female characters are the assertive anarchist type who do what they want, when they want, and how they want without anyone’s unwarranted input.

    It’s got action, color, and personality, but everybody both fans and haters alike tore it apart for not conforming to any mainstream sense of taste. It’s probably the most unique cartoon I have ever witnessed, but everyone just completely invalidated it.

    I remember this one critic vividly who had the composure of the usual soccer mom. She hated everything about it and only gave it an average score.

    I’m deathly afraid of criticism because I fear that someone else will be taking control of my work it. I hate critics because they seem to only want everything dumbed down to a level that only they alone can understand.

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    1. I believe you have told me that before, Taylor.

      The only reason to fear a critic is because you are not happy with your own work, and require approval to give it meaning. If you take away the power of judgment, there is nothing to fear. Just the joy of creation.

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  2. You writing about disinfo? Ignore them, you’re better than that. I never comment there. If I did, I’d just go on and on, like a drone. They get my back up if I catch the comments by the usual suspects. Still, best not to feed the trolls eh? 😉

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    1. To be sure, ,Disinfo is one of the places where I encounter this, but it is not the only place. Anywhere I have ever written for online has been the same shittruck of hecklers, regardless of the topic.

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