Questions on Criticism

by trdepalo

I as a creative writing major, I have to take seminars as part of the requirements to graduate. This semester I am taking a course called The Modern Arts Writer, where we read and discuss criticism as a medium and ultimately write a few critiques of our own. So far, I have been finding this course incredibly troubling. Why are we examining criticism? Is supposed to be its own art form? Is this just a course to expose us to practical criticism if we would like to become critics ourselves, or are we supposed to regard these articles as something more? I mean what is the point? Not to mention that the whole idea of criticism itself makes me uneasy. I understand that it is needed to provide some sort of accountability in the arts, but I hate the idea of someone passing judgement on another’s work which may effect the power and influence of the work itself. Art is so personal and subjective I often find critiques disconcerting. Who is anyone, to pass judgements on another person’s expression of the soul? The conceptions of “high art” and therefore conversely low art is just another power dynamic that I just wish we could get rid of, especially because art is such a uniquely human quality that is within of all of us, it’s on our genes. Why should what defines us be up for criticism? But perhaps I am just idealistic, I am young still.