Critic or Leader?

Posted on October 19, 2010


Via Google Images

Yes, I’m talking to you. You, online surfer, Twitterer, Facebooker, blogger, critically in-tune reader.

When I first heard it, I didn’t question it. I nodded in agreement, feeling impassioned by the bold statement. But now I’m thinking about it.

I missed watching Smallville this weekend. A friend stayed over my house for the weekend, so I missed my favorite Friday night show that keeps me inside more than not this season. Oliver Queen has just announced that he is, in fact, Green Arrow, and now he’s facing the media–the judgmental, always questioning, insatiable media. Within the last 10 minutes of the episode, Queen is questioned on a news show regarding his “coming out” decision. Near the end of his rather eloquent speech in which he compares himself to John F. Kennedy, quoting the famous line “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” he makes an interesting statement:

“In this world of arm-chaired bloggers, who created a generation of critics instead of leaders, I’m actually doing something, right here, right now . . . for the city, for my country.”

Far-fetched? Belonging to a sci-fi TV show that’s run for too long in some people’s minds, yes, I guess this could come off a little dramatic. But it got me thinking–and good TV–actually let me rephrase–good writing will do that to you.

It makes me wonder if maybe we, as bloggers and social networkers and online gossipers and friends and family members, need to take a break from criticizing every now and then. Think about it.

We wake up in the morning to read some journalistic criticism (i.e., newspaper, online news, Twitter). We go online and criticize others on Facebook. We go to work and criticize our bosses for asking too much, criticize our employees for working too little. We criticize our friends in casual conversation, and we criticize that person in the mall for wearing that outfit. We criticize the guy at work who laughs too loud, our parents for asking too many questions, and our children for not telling us enough. We hang out so we can gossip, criticize, laugh and joke “meaninglessly” at other people’s expense. We criticize the movie we just watched, the song we just listened to, and our friend’s obvious lack of taste. We criticize on end.

Via Google Images

You have the right to question. And so do I. I just wonder if sometimes we question for the sake of questioning, for criticism’s sake, that we forget to have faith once in a while. After all, if we didn’t have leaders to criticize, what would we do with our free time?