This is the Number One* kneejerk retort of the aggrieved author or defender thereof: “Oh, yeah, well, can YOU do any better?” I found myself responding to this so often, I decided to post it here permanently and just link to it as needed.
If you insist that one must be able to do better in order to criticize legitimately, then you have publicly forfeited forever your right to express a negative opinion of:
- a restaurant meal, unless you are a chef
- an 18-wheeler’s driving, unless you have a CDL
- an athlete’s performance, unless you are a professional athlete (and a game strategy, unless you are a professional coach)
- a pop singer, unless you are a professional musician
- a movie, unless you are a member of the DGA
- an elected official, unless you hold public office…
But the people who advance this idea haven’t thought their position through, naturally; they’re just trying to find a way to say “Shut up!” that will stick.
But in case it’s at all relevant: Yes, I can do better. Here are a few of the covers I’ve designed:
As they say on the intertubes, your argument is therefore invalid.
*The Number Two retort is “Don’t judge a book by its cover!” Which a) is completely irrelevant to judging the effectiveness of the cover itself, and b) contains the unspoken corollary, “…unless you like the cover, in which case please, assume the book is good because the cover is awesome.”