Grey Mangan_headshot

Vols, I hope that finals season is going well. We’re here in the final stretch of the semester, and if you’re done with all of your finals and back home I envy you! We didn’t bag that snow day we hoped for, but we’ll have better luck next year.

First, I’m obliged to say before we begin on this topic- Vol Men’s Basketball- you guys are phenomenal. Thanks for bringing that win home, congratulations on all of your hard work coming to fruition.

Now, let’s get onto the subject at hand this week!

In light of finals, I’m realizing something integral to my own major and realizing that other majors feel this too; everyone's a critic.

Every single person you meet is a critic of your work no matter what their expertise in your subject is. This is particularly prevalent in my major, Cinema Studies. Just ask around, everyone’s got an opinion on film and Hollywood. And of course, everyone believes that their opinion is the right one. The worst of them all are folks who took Intro to Film and utilize that as their justification to tell you how “Fight Club” is the best movie hands down (hint: it’s good, but it’s not that good).

I was so frustrated by this recently, discussing the film “Moonlight” with folks in my family. They just couldn’t grasp how groundbreaking the film was empirically, and how groundbreaking its success was. I was trying so hard to express how culturally important this film was, how important it was to watch it. They simply said it was too slow, wasn’t enough action. I was floored.

The next week, I sat with a fellow film classmate and talked about the film, how the film did a lot of great things but came up short in a lot of ways too. I’ve had conversations with professors about this movie as well, read scholarly articles on it as well as IMDb comments and New York Times' critiques of it.

I had to take a minute and recognize my position in all this. I was doing the exact same thing as our “Fight Club” proponent above, insisting my opinion on a film’s composition and message was the correct take on it. I’m a sophomore in my undergraduate degree in film! I just switched into this major recently! I’m far from an expert at this junction in my life.

It allowed me to take stock on other majors folks I know are in and all the ways people impose their own takes before learning more on it. Dismissing business majors for wasting their money by learning from books as opposed to opening their own business. Pigeon-holing engineers into a certain look, a certain type of secluded personality that they must have. Incorrectly and brazenly stating that nursing majors are wasting their talent as RNs.

Of course, these statements are all patently false. Yet, people across the subject spectrum make generalizations on other lines of work and feel empowered to.

Why is it that STEM majors feel compelled to laugh at the humanities? Why do the arts need to feel superior/more cultured to pre-professional tracks?

We could all do with a slice of humble pie nowadays, and we would all be better off taking stock of the individual life experiences of our peers and our professors. Critically thinking about what lies before us before spitting out the first thing that comes to mind, respecting those around us. We chose the majors and intended professions we are in for a reason. We’ve likely already thought about where this education will take us.

Everyone’s a critic, but that doesn’t mean everyone can bring the bite with their bark.

Grey Mangan is a sophomore studying Cinema Studies. He can be reached at emangan1@vols.utk.edu.

Columns and letters of The Daily Beacon are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Beacon or the Beacon's editorial staff.

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