May 13, 2008
Going Negative & Mudwrestling
Does criticizing someone's character or track record during a political campaign equal "going negative?" Heck, that's almost as bad as gossip. It's kind of like the classic complaint that the media always focuses on bad news so much more than good news. Why to people like to read, hear, and watch disturbing, spiteful, or fearful things anyway?
But I think there may actually be a good reason for this. Often removing/improving some bad or painful reality can do more to improve your overall comfort than adding another comfortable thing. And you can't remove the bad thing unless you notice it.
For example, when you are trying to learn to do something new, you make a lot of mistakes. Mistakes are negative, because there is the pain of failure and frustration. But they also point to precisely where attention and analysis should be most intently focused in order to succeed.
Another example would be the crucial negativity of hunger and thirst, which make comforts seem pale and useless. Unfortunately, like other aspects of homelessness, they can also derail the attention and analysis that success may require.
But you are probably wondering about the mudwrestling. Does going negative always mean mud, such as an unfair criticism? No, I am sure constructive criticism is possible. But one might have to wrestle with figuring out what is constructive vs. what is trivial, mean, or expedient.
And the recipient's response to any criticism also determines how constructive it can become.