Criticism is really about refinement. It is aimed and purifying the subject of criticism. Bad criticism either neglects this final aim or fails to move toward it. The value of criticizing government or media or art or language is the hope of making it better. I am inclined to critique discourse, art, thought, and education because I think those things are tremendously important. I might speak out against the policies of an organization not because I oppose something very fundamental or general about the organization, but because I actually feel strongly in support of the fundamental goals of that organization. Some of the harshest criticism I have is for some organizations, institutions, and ideas that I think are most important to civilization and society. Implicitly (or sometimes explicitly), a critique is a call or recommendation for change. To truly despise something through-and-through can only be manifested in apathy, indifference, and silence. Criticizing something acknowledges some hope for its improvement.
Criticism cannot be used to wholly reject something because to speak of anything is to root it in the world. This is even truer in a world dominated by search engines, links, and tags: the more often something is reiterated, the more it will be encountered in cyberspace. One of the great mistakes people make in cyberspace is to hope to make something go away by discussing it. In this place, our attention is nourishment for ideas. Things will grow or die depending (almost entirely) on whether or not we focus on and attend to them.
The result is that it is increasingly dangerous to dwell on what we despise in the digital era, because the more blog posts, Tweets, and links to articles we have on hellishness, the more hellish our world becomes. This is true because our world is increasingly made up of those posts, Tweets, and links. We are able to construct our world with each tag, category, and search. We teach the internet what the world is. To the degree that we fill our internet with documentation and thoughts of all that is awful, our world will reflect what we think of it.
Before the internet, disseminating information was a process stacked with gatekeepers and checkpoints of all sorts. Now we publish our thoughts to the world with a whimsical click of the “Publish”, “Post”, or “Send” button. We must be our own gatekeepers, for we will live in the world we create. We must not only criticize judiciously, but be judicious in when, where, and how we criticize. While critiques are aimed at improving their objects, we can burden ourselves by filling our world with negative impressions that exclude goodness.