The Gentle Art Of Criticism

The phrase about crushing your enemies and driving them before you has gotten a certain publicity these days. I suspect that before it became a meme on Facebook, it was something taken from Conan The Barbarian. Or possibly the constitution of the Country Women’s Association. Whichever, it has become stale…time for an update.

Note: We update many things; cars, firmware, cyclone warnings. We backdate things; pay increases, sentences, holiday schedules. We even forward date things – the post-dated cheque that allows us to flee town being the first example to mind…But we never seem to downdate anything. I think we should. Leftovers in the fridge would be good to downdate. A quick sniff and a prod at the congealed surface and we could okay the stuff for two more days.

I don’t want to crush enemies. It’s not because I am a good and kind person – I just don’t want enemies. Enemies take time, effort, money, and deep thought…at a time in my life when I dearly want potato crisps, beer, and naps. Enemies are a negative investment, and never yield a profit. Crushed enemies would be even worse, as they would spread more widely and ruin the carpet.

On the other hand, I am delighted to crush friends. They are much more likely to scream and thresh about begging for mercy. They are easier to contact and less likely to suspect the horrible fate that awaits them. You can crush several before lunch with little effort. And the best ones will pick themselves up, heal over, and present again for a repeat of the terror. They are an economical target.

What has this to do with criticism? Well you must be gentle and kind whenever you correct another’s faults. Otherwise they get the pip and leave in a dudgeon and you cannot attack them again. Easy does it. Take the skin off in thin layers.

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