Those Who Can’t Create…

Imagine the years of joy you could miss out on if you only accepted the criticisms of others?


“Those Who Can’t Create…”

C. Derick Miller – Head Writer

Your Stories on Video

There’s something I say all too often to remind myself not to get discouraged in the face of negative criticism. Sure, most times I’m totally fooling myself but, as long as my psyche doesn’t notice it, I’m completely golden on the inside. That saying is:

“Those who can’t create, critically review.”

I’m certain I’ve used this phrase before in one or many of these blogs, but I’ll say it again today because I feel as though something on a massive scale has finally occurred to prove my point. Well, not prove my point, but at least I’m aiming this phrase at something bigger than an indie horror novel.

To begin with, someone accused me of being pretentious for saying such a thing on the internet today. They were busy bashing the newest Ghostbusters movie even though they’d never watched it. Instead, they watched someone else’s review and continued to trash it out of pure rumor. I responded by saying that those who can’t create, critically review. You know, it’s the same as the old saying “those who can’t play, coach.” Now, I know you’ve heard that one before, especially if you live in Texas. Dallas Cowboys football is notorious for accusing coaches of not knowing how to play!

The funniest thing of all, as with most internet arguments, was that this person (a fellow author) was so willing to accept the critical review from the website he liked but flipped on his defenses when it came to my personal opinion. Why was he so willing to accept the other review without question, but got irritated when I presented mine? Easy. I was the unpopular target at that specific moment, and the internet loves to gang up on the defenseless! Sounds reasonable, right?

To be fair, I’m a massive Ghostbusters fan and I have been since 1984! I have loved something about every film, cartoon, and game since it’s initial release and haven’t cared much for what critics believed. It’s just a fun franchise. It never takes itself too seriously like Star Wars or Marvel even if its fanbase may get a little rowdy from time to time. I’m almost certain this isn’t what the internet was invented for, but I believe that dream died a long time ago (in a galaxy far, far away…).

I wasn’t one of the lucky kids who got to see this film in the theater when it first released because it came out on June 8th, 1984. I spent summers with my dad and he and my stepmother were/are super religious when compared to my mother’s side of the family. There was profanity and sexual inuendo in that film, so it was a total no go as far as my seasonal guardians were concerned.

Also, back then, we didn’t have the luxury of films releasing to video a month after their theatrical release, so I had to wait almost a year for it to come out on VHS. Then, we were forced to wait until a copy was available. I didn’t see the original Ghostbusters until sometime in 1985 but it was well worth it according to my youthful brain. I’d been teasing myself with picture books and the amazing music soundtrack until that moment when my mother brought it home from the video store. Heck, in 1989, we managed to purchase our own copy. My high school buddy and I swore to memorize every line so we could annoy the heck out of everyone when we returned to school our sophomore year. And so, we did!

No, I’m not necessarily only using Ghostbusters to prove the point of this blog, but it just so happens to be a current subject of interest to the entertainment world. Everyone has an opinion about everything right now whether it be movies, politics, or vaccines. One side of the fence accuses the other of being critically wrong on everything and vice versa. There’s no middle ground anymore on anything. Welcome to the age of extremes, ladies and gentlemen. We’re soaking in it.

Not so many moons ago, and yes I know I’ve discussed this before as well, I was an entertainment journalist for a newspaper. My main contribution was as a book reviewer. Somehow, between a day job, my own writing, and a most bizarre stint of dating, I managed to read and review one book per week and peck out a thousand words in its honor. The catch? I NEVER wrote a negative review. Never.

Now, some would think this is misleading toward an artist who could use the proper criticism. You couldn’t be more wrong. Allow me to explain. I say that I never wrote a disparaging review. What I mean is, I never reviewed a bad book. If the book was good, I praised it to high heaven and made sure my tens of thousands of readers knew it was worth purchasing to support the author.

But what if the book was bad? That’s easy. I didn’t review it. I figured there was enough negativity and hate in the world without me mucking it up in the Arts & Entertainment section of the newspaper. Besides, there are enough toxic book reviewing communities out there. The artist who authored the bad book would eventually get the picture from all the negativity on Amazon and Goodreads. They didn’t need my help at all, and they never heard it from me.

What if my negative words in that newspaper were the ones to make that writer throw away their dreams? I just couldn’t live with that on my conscience, so I never placed myself in that situation. Still, to this day, even though I’m no longer a professional reviewer, I refuse to review a bad indie book. Classics? Sure. Big budget Hollywood films? You bet. An indie project? Never. I congratulate those people for having the courage to put their work out there into the faces of the public without the financial backing of the “industry.” I would much rather let people make up their own minds. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, right?

If I do trash a major Hollywood production or a Stephen King novel, I make sure I have personally watched or read it first. I prefer to form my own opinion rather than waste my time vocalizing the opinions of others. Besides, what if they’re wrong, and you love it? Imagine the years of joy you could miss out on if you only accepted the criticisms of others?

I recently discovered the rock band KISS. Sure, I knew who they were all these years, but I despised the spectacle which surrounded them in their prime. Now, going back and listening to their entire catalogue, I have realized I love their music! I reflect on all the years I missed out and kick myself for it. Don’t repeat my mistake. Give everything a chance. Forget the critics.

Is there a book or film from your life you absolutely loved with all your heart but those around you couldn’t stand it? On the flipside of that coin, is there a popular piece of entertainment the world loves that you can’t seem to wrap your head around? Here at Your Stories on Video, we want to know! Leave your loves/hates in the comments below and let’s discuss! I promise not to make fun of you if you don’t gig me for my Powerpuff Girls obsession. Deal?

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