Critical Judgement: A Personal Perspective
Critical judgement gives non-fiction writers the ability to independently convey opinions. Anyone who is able to communicate their own opinions are capable of critical judgement, wherever contemplating pros and cons of a person’s argument or studying a piece of art. Non-fiction writers like to express their opinions for various reasons. My perspective is that there is a need for expression, to share what I find appealing onto those who may share similar interests. Non-fiction writers sharing their critical judgement through articles is also to possibly change perceptions. Not only is it for non-fiction writers to achieve these aims, but they can use various methods in preparing articles to re-enforce and strengthen their critical judgement.
Educating Yourself with an Open Mind
Non-fiction writers focus upon any subjects or issues which concern them, wherever their aim is to advocate or condemn. My experience as a film and media studies graduate means various forms of media are subjects which not only reach my critical capabilities to analyse, but there is a personal interest as an avid film fan. Yet the more articles I have written, there has been a need to explore other subjects I feel obliged to discuss. Non-fiction writers who allow themselves to explore with an open mind means their critical judgement can expand and strengthen. The inspiration for World War One: Truth Within Artistic Representations had been a visit to a local art gallery. Art galleries are places where you are able to be open to different forms of expression. Works of art force us to engage with their intentions and technique. I became intrigued by numerous paintings and sketches which captured war’s catastrophic terror. The centennial of World War One’s outbreak had only been a few months prior, so sharing the exhibition’s work to a mass audience was to counter public perceptions of war solely glorifying patriotism.
The Art of Milton Glaser: To Inform and Delight was inspired after watching a television documentary by chance. Throughout my viewing, I admired Glaser’s motivations for political and social change within his work. This resulted in further study of Glaser’s work that expanded my interest in analysing Glaser as an artist. This was a similar reason for The Decisive Moment: History Within a Photographic Concept. Although I had previously been interested in photography in terms of capturing symbolic or realistic content, I had never heard of the decisive moment concept until purchasing a photography book regarding historic events. I realised how specific photographs can help generations understand historic events through photographs. By exploring these subjects further, I became more educated not only upon the subject, but it expanded my critical judgement. The more I studied subjects and issues for articles, I was able to create thorough analytical arguments to advocate or condemn.
As previously stated, non-fiction writers need independent thought to create their own opinions. It is fundamental as without independent thought, non-fiction writers would simply be recycling others’ opinions. Non-fiction writers without independent thought would simply be narrow-minded. Narrow-mindedness would result in bland articles that lack depth. Any article with these qualities would not be interesting to read, the antithesis for any non-fiction writer. My film and arts-based articles have required me to be critical of the specific subject. In the article Broken Flowers (2005) and Ambiguity: The Need for Active Viewers, I argued that audiences must be active to gain a meaningful viewing experience otherwise they might become confused with the narrative’s ambiguity. Non-fiction writers who are incapable of interpreting ambiguity will struggle to become an independence thinker. If the article had simply discussed Broken Flowers without noting its ambiguity, then the analysis would be insufficient.
Similarly, the analysis of The Female Body in Art as a Non-Sexualised Being continuously referred to understanding an artist’s intentions in order to analyse their work. This is a vital requirement in critical judgement or else an article will not be informative. Another method of independent thought is interpreting others’ opinions. In The Female Body in Art as a Non-Sexualised Being, various sources of the artists’ quotes were used to emphasis my analysis of their work. Whenever using sources within an article, either to emphasise your argument or use the source as highlighting a contradiction you wish to reveal, means you can develop your own opinions. If non-fiction writers simply use quotes without building upon them with their opinion, then there is no substance behind the quotes usage.
Critical judgement is clearly important for all non-fiction writers to have in order to independently convey opinions. The ability of letting yourself explore various subjects and see their positive and/or negative points makes anyone capable of critical judgement. It is not necessary true that non-fiction writers who stick with a narrow range of subjects are not able to seek new subjects with an open mind. However, seeking out new subjects does allow for non-fiction writers to become more versatile in their articles. Therefore the more non-fiction writers explore new subjects, their sense of critical judgement will improve. This also goes along with understanding the importance of independent thought. Non-fiction writers conveying their critical judgement to change perceptions can only be known through their own opinions. Without independent thought, then non-fiction writers will struggle to form critical judgement.
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