As a teacher I have always resented the old slam: “those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” Why? Because it’s cheap shot. It arrogantly presumes the nattering critics in the stands [or in the local PTA] know how to play the game better.
But here’s what’s been happening lately. The critics in America have grown into the thousands, nattering in the box seats of virtually every field of endeavor. There are the near-sighted sports writers pronouncing judgment on every play …the vapid theater reviewers speaking polysyllabic wisdom after every curtain …. the ego-blown Senators giving advice to the President in their Sunday morning TV interviews…and of course the university professors who get to pen their worldview in editions of the New York Times.
But have you noticed? Not one of these professional critics has a single iota of responsibility for the actions being taken down there in the sweaty arena of the real action. This is not to say critics don’t have the right to slam the players, but it is to say they have the obligation to know more than simply how to make the players look foolish. A small literary talent that probably first began when they taunted their playmates with: “I bet my father can beat your father.”
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