I am a human being. I have a life, filled with emotions, experiences, and opinions. I am not a computer program built to provide objective critique - were such a thing even possible. Everything I write is influenced by the things I have seen and the things I have done. To pretend otherwise is to live in a fantasy world.
Jason Guriel over at The Walrus clearly prefers fantasy to reality. His call for critics to stop relating their criticism to their own lives is both ignorant and insulting. Critique is subjective. It is not universal. Understanding an author’s perspective requires knowledge of their frame of reference, the values and opinions that shaped their conclusions. Without context, valuable discourse devolves into fruitless bickering, purged of any trace of humanity.
We humans are narrative creatures. We prefer stories to statistics, empathising with individuals more than faceless facts and figures. The purpose of critical analysis is to examine the impact of a human creation on a human audience. Personal narratives are necessary to explain why it matters, rather than just how. To ignore them is to tell only half the tale.
Critique without personality belongs in only the driest of academic textbooks. In the real world, people matter, lives matter, and the personal perspective unites us through our differences. Cut out the “I”, and you cut out the heart, too.
Matt Sayer is 50% gamer, 50% writer, 50% programmer, and 100% terrible at maths. You can read more of his articles over at Unwinnable as well as right here, friend him on Steam here or tweet him cat photos at @sezonguitar