Ratatouille is one of my very favorite Disney films. It warms my heart for many, many reasons. Of course, my favorite part is in the end where the mean crotchety critic tastes the perfectly executed, yet humble dish, and has a change of heart. I am tearing up just thinking about it. I make a habit of reading a lot of book reviews now, and I am always blown away by how critical people are. It is the same place I find myself in when I see disgruntled sports fans screaming and yelling at their team when they aren’t having a successful game. I am always wondering how they think they have the right to judge a professional athlete whose physical abilities far outweigh their own. When I see nasty book reviews, I am always certain that the critic is not an author himself or herself. It is extra fun for me when the critic uses incorrect grammar or spelling.
I honestly see no reason for any sort of nasty review. I had a very disappointing experience recently at the end of a series that I was engaged in and it upset me so much that it left me in tears. I did not, however, run to the computer to write a bitchy review about the author’s work. I would have felt horrible if I had. After all, great art can be recognized in its ability to stir emotion. My emotions were obviously stirred, so what do I have to criticize? I might complain to my friends how the ending of the series upset me, but I am not going to seek to damage an author’s career by ranting about their work.
Of course I have an opinion, and I like some stories much more than others. But truly, even before I finished my first novel, I had a hell of an appreciation for the ability of an author to finish writing an entire book from beginning to end. I think that it is a pretty big damn deal. I have read many books by first time novelists, that definitely had their issues, but I was happy to write reviews on those books pointing out what I liked about the content of the stories, rather than poking at insignificant mistakes. What compels people to pick at the work of artists just plain confuses me. I wonder why they have so much pent up anger to let out on the rest of the world. Seriously, I am not exaggerating, go on Amazon and read some book reviews, and you will see what I mean.
If I turn on any of the news channels on television, I can find a good source of all of this. It is a disparagingly sad fact that the citizens of our country are modeling the deplorable behavior of the people that are delivering their news to them. The viewers are completely ignorant of the fact that all of the drama and arguing they see on the screen day after day is only put on for their entertainment. Real human beings are not supposed to act that way. We find inner peace through being respectful, kind and supportive, not by imitating our angry, unreasonable, undereducated news media. This industry is perpetuating the idea that it is acceptable to behave like a giant three year old and stomp around complaining about how everyone else in the world makes life so very horrible for them.
This is my public service message, teach it to your friends, your kids, your relatives, just pass it on: You will not make yourself feel good by putting people down, it can only be achieved by lifting people up. Spread love, not nasty bitchiness. Treating people poorly does just as much harm to the person doing the treating, as it does to those getting treated that way. Kindness goes a long way in the world. It makes a difference. Spreading light in the world matters. Treating other people the way that we would prefer they treat us matters. Sometimes these simple lessons are so easily forgotten. The world has enough critics; it needs more cheerleaders.