You are viewing a read-only archive of the Blogs.Harvard network. Learn more.

Criticism (File under “learn to”)

When I was little, I had a French professor (not a professor for French, but a professor from France) who was capable of driving graduate students in his seminars to tears.

French, but educated in the US, he was occasionally flummoxed by Canadian students who were used to getting polite kid glove treatment and gold stars just for showing up.

(I sometimes think that politeness has given Canadians an edge that allows them to be at the forefront of the self-esteem movement, …to the general detriment of social progress. Chronic politeness and an aversion for putting noses out of joint can result in stultification, mediocrity, and overall intellectual retardation. On Fantasy Island, where everyone is “special” by virtue of living here, the condition can become rampant.)

Anyway, toward the end of one particularly tense seminar, facing a student who was about to shatter into a 1000 pieces, the professor became very exasperated and burst out, “You have to learn to take criticism!”

I don’t know but that I don’t feel a similar exasperation these days.


  1. “stultification, mediocrity, and overall intellectual retardation”

    Cultural cringe produces the same thing!

    Comment by melanieb — May 1, 2010 #

  2. I agree!

    We ought to examine different and opposing points of view in order to come up with viable solutions to the chronic problems we face. Our anemic mainstream media is crippling our ability to be democratic. Our daily newspaper has no staff reporter for City Hall or the school board. This is kind of a big deal. Mainstream media has kow-towed to advertisers, losing readers along the way. And now they are broke or near-broke. Disagree with me? Go ahead, but please don’t change the topic by telling me you’re offended by the word anemic.

    Thick skins, small egos and lovin’ spoonfuls of forgiveness will help move the discussion to a debate about solutions.

    Comment by Nicole — May 1, 2010 #

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Recent Posts



Theme: Pool by Borja Fernandez.
Entries and comments feeds.