Forgive me for quoting a kid’s movie this week, but sometimes we find truth in unexpected places!
In Ratatouille, a Pixar film about a rat who wants to become a great chef, all of the characters fear what will happen when Anton Ego, the newspaper food critic reviews the restaurant. His words in the town’s paper can make or break the future of the place.
After Anton learns a lesson or two, he offers up this insightful review of what it is like to be a critic: (You can watch the scene online!)
“In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.”
I suspect these might be the truest words offered in a children’s movie. It is easy for us to be critics. It requires little of us, it lifts us up over others, and sometimes gives us an inflated sense of self. But nobody loves a critic. A critic has few friends. A person who makes a lifetime habit of putting down those around him will have little to show for it except a lack of people willing to spend time around him.
Let’s be positive people. Let’s take the risks that come with loving. Let’s be helpers, not hurters.