Thursday, May 20, 2010

Groundless criticism reflects badly on speakers

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

You know, it's interesting. When I hear someone criticizing another person for their success, I know what they're doing even though they may not realize it.

They're putting down the other person so that it somehow makes themself more important. "If I criticize Johnny, it makes me look like I'm smart and that I know what I'm doing." Uhm, well, no it doesn't. It actually kind of makes you look petty and jealous.

Celebrities are the main targets of these jealousy-based criticisms. Of course, you can't like everyone. Not every singer or actor is everyone's cup of tea. But really, is there a need to trash every person from head to toe for whom you don't have an affinity?

We all know people who are professional critics. They would criticize Jesus himself if he'd show up at their front door to save their soul. "What? You couldn't have worn something other than sandals? Your beard isn't trimmed very neatly. Don't you know it isn't kosher to serve red wine with fish?" I don't know if Jesus has a sense of humour, but if I were him, I'd just ask them to go for a long walk in the middle of a deep pond. That would put an end to all their whining pretty quickly.

Lately, the "in thing" to do is to criticize young celebrities such as Justin Bieber, the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus. Some people call them every name in the book, thinking that somehow their opinions will have an impact on their success. But let's admit it, the newspapers likely won't be running headlines tomorrow proclaiming, "Justin Bieber's success ends suddenly over jealous criticism of his singing."

I'm just as guilty of this myself. I was no fan of having Miley Cyrus being a mentor on American Idol this season, but I was pleasantly surprised when she appeared on the show. She knew her stuff and was much more mature than two older guest judges who appeared earlier this season during auditions. If we're going to criticize young celebrities, let's criticize them based on their behaviour, not their success. Avril Lavigne and Katie Perry, the two guest judges on American Idol, were rude and childish.

With that said, I quite frankly don't care what anyone else thinks about certain young celebrities. Have you ever seen Justin Bieber interviewed? He's a perfectly nice kid. He's polite. He seems to be taking his fame responsibly and in stride. There are no reports of him being some sort of egotistical diva with fans or any others. Whether or not you like his singing, that's a matter of personal choice. But no one should begrudge him the fame and success he's currently enjoying.

Besides, I don't know about you, but I'd gladly switch bank accounts with him any day. And who hasn't fantasized at one time or another about having thousands of screaming fans go crazy for you?

The same can be said of the Jonas Brothers. I've seen them interviewed countless times on television (it's difficult not to -- they're everywhere) and they've always been perfectly nice and polite. And again, like Justin Bieber, there are no stories or rumours of them being rude to fans or anyone else. Whether you like their music is a matter of personal taste, but they're perfectly nice young men who put forward a positive image. What's wrong with that? Nothing!

I read comments by Facebook friends and people on Twitter all the time criticizing perfectly nice young celebrities. Of course, it's OK not to like people... but to just blindly criticize people only because they're successful says more about you than it does about the celebrity. Criticizing people for being successful doesn't reflect on the celebrity, it actually reflects on how you feel about yourself.

There's a 12-year-old boy named Greyson Chance who's all the rage on YouTube now after a video of him singing Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi" went viral. By the time you read this, the video of him performing at his grade six talent contest will likely be closing in on 20 million views after being online for only three weeks. This kid is good. And I do mean good. The tone of this voice is fantastic and he even appeared on Ellen DeGeneres's talk show after the video came to her attention.

Now, apparently Interscope Records has signed Greyson to a recording contract. And this is no rinky-dink record label. It includes 50 Cent, Black Eyed Peas, Mary J. Blige, Eminem, Feist, Nelly Furtado, Guns N'Roses, Lady Gaga, No Doubt, Sting, Robin Thicke and U2. So, three weeks ago, Greyson posted a video to YouTube of himself singing. Within those three weeks, he gets on Ellen and also reportedly has a record deal.

I saw the interview he did on Ellen and, again, he's a perfectly nice kid who's very polite. I just hope people let him find his sea legs of fame before they start tearing him down.

Right now, though, he's the "teen celebrity du jour."

I just don't buy in to all this negativity about celebrities, except when there are numerous reports of them behaving excessively badly.

One or two negative reports can be ignored, but you just know that a constant barrage of negative publicity has got to be based somewhere in the truth.

The out-of-control Lindsay Lohans of the world shouldn't be lumped into the same pot as the Jonas Brothers, Justin Bieber or Miley Cyrus.

Simply being famous isn't due cause for criticism. And to those who criticize perfectly (at least seemingly) nice celebrities just for being famous, well, I bet you'd switch bank accounts with them pretty quickly if you had the chance. I know I would!

I wonder how much interest Justin Bieber charges on a $20 loan... you know, just until payday.

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