Brenton Moore

Criticism: We’re doing it wrong

Twenty four hours after Bill Shorten graced the cover of the Telegraph, I realised something. As far as meaningful criticism goes, we’re lacking teeth.

Back in 1977, Happy Days, the Methuselah of evening television had a problem. They were fresh out of fresh ideas, so they tasked neighbourhood bathroom lurker/mirror aficionado Arthur Fonzarelli to leap over a shark. The episode bombed and a phrase was born.


Fast forward to forty years later, and we face a similar problem. In the week that gave us the slobber knocker gif of Trump v CNN (bah, gawd!), and the search for what cunt that did it, we also had the Telegraph reaching peak whack with an alternate universe jibe on Bill Shorten’s first one hundred days of Parliament, if he’d have won (spoiler alert: he’d be shit), both a switch so lazy that they’d be at home in the uncompleted movies I made at University. The plot twist was everything, even if it made zero sense. Incidentally, several newsagents refused to stock the Tele in response, which is an amazing thing to hear in a time where print is labouring.

Simply put, our criticism has jumped the shark. We’re not making any sense.

Simply put, our criticism has jumped the shark. The above two examples are macro in nature to the larger issue at hand. We’re not making any sense. With the extinction of the lumbering dinosaur absolute truth in this post-truth dystopia, our barbs are not what they once were, but we’re unable to accept it, so in the classic schoolyard trope of insulting someone who has fingers in their ears, our voices increase in volume and juvenility, as we attempt to break through. I can see why, those who oppose us are stupid. Overbearingly so. No place for logic, we slip to their turf to do battle. But, I ask, what good has come from the nightly wars waged in comment boxes and subtweets? we still have a tangerine in the white house, and wolf in sheep’s clothing in Kirribilli. I say why keep fighting?

In a time where criticism is nothing, and the truth is dead, there’s a happy byproduct for those willing to do away with the traditional way of doing things. If no-one listens to criticism, and therefore no-one is wrong, do we then build some sort of bent utopia around it? a golden age of ignorance? We have a chance to move past the inhibiting definition of everyone being wrong. We no longer agree to disagree, we come together to ignore each other. Two passing ships that hail from vastly different ports, but nary a cap shall be tipped to the other. The streets of your enemy you once walked down purely to pick a fight will be closed to you. No more jaunts down Bolt Boulevard, your credentials won’t carry you this far downtown. Call it segregation if you will. But we’ve tried the other way. The time for understanding is gone. The fallacy of convincing your foe with the virtue your values should be called for what it is: stock footage of a shark circling in a tank. Toothless. Sans danger.

Brenton Moore

Brenton is somewhat a musician, somewhat a writer and has worked with a number of writers and musicians in Australia, and intends to continue doing so. Even if he has to work retail.