It’s the most wonderful time of the year, again. Glorious Critique Week, a time when we all have our life’s work savagely torn to shreds, or, at best, we waste a week while some random people misinterpret our art. Did you have a good panel or a bad panel? How exactly do you define good or bad criticism? Does it matter what anyone says about anything? Is a biannual existential crisis really necessary to create art? What follows is my critique of critique.
How to tell if you had a good Crit panel:
- You ask at least two of the panelists to marry you: I have done this with just enough of a sarcastic tone to get away with it
- No one criticizes your baked goods: I bring cookies to my panel every time, because I’m a wholesome and pure angel who really just wants them to be nice to me. And who can be mean to the girl who brings pink cookies? I know the answer, but I won’t publish their name. They know who they are.
- They read all of your work even when you send more than 20 pages: This has become a list of me just mocking the same unnamed panelist I had once.
- No one accuses you of racism or homophobia: I look forward to the Crit panel that doesn’t wildly misinterpret my work in this very specific way. I have asked other readers and advisors about this issue, and it seems to only be a Crit panel problem. Crit panelists mistake me for a Republican senator sometimes.
How to tell if you had a bad Crit panel:
- One of the visiting artists fucked your dad twenty years ago: True story.
- A white man takes 45 minutes to remind himself that he is superior: He attended a much more elite university, so he could really tear your work apart. Bonus points if your notetaker glared at him the entire 45 minutes with a side eye that could kill a thousand men. You remain unfazed as you have the strength of at least ten Amazonian women.
- The panel spends half the time debating whether or not something is real: That awkward moment when your panel gets really esoteric and philosophical about what is real and what isn’t real. What is reality? And why am I here?
- One of the panelists tells you to replace your dog with your dead mother: Also a true story.