By most standards, I am a rather harsh judge of any idol. I comment incessantly on ugly concept photos, muse consistently about mediocre singles, and grumble endlessly on boring stage performers, where group members look and sing like they would rather be elsewhere, or lose parts of the performance with their stage acts. In short, I am the last person to probably talk about hating or criticising idols for what they do.

However, there are some forms of criticism I simply draw the line at. Like hating on people just because they are successful, using derogatory nicknames for them in the name of “it’s funny”, and making insinuations of their character based on observing their off and on camera actions (all those who seemingly call people slutty/rude).

While some of us might consider such actions to be just fair comment and expression of opinion, there are times when the line between commenting on one as a performer and one as a person gets very blurred. More often than not, an idol as a performer is very much different from the idol as a person, and just because I dislike a particular idol for constantly over-doing stage performances, being plain boring to watch, or groups that sell on average material, it does not mean the hate should be taken to another level.

Firstly, no matter how much rhetoric one says, they are still going to succeed. After all, it is The Powers That Be that decide how prominently they get featured in any promotion or how much they appear on TV, as well as fans that happily like them for who they are and what they do. All that grumbling against their lack of ability starts to sound at odds with their increasing success, as well as only serve to galvanise their fans. A very good example would be many an SM Entertainment act, who have seemingly gone from strength to strength in the face of criticism, and have had fandoms immune to (or willing to defend against) any haters.

In fact, such criticism only serves to work against the haters, for it possibly gives said idol attention. If one is constantly talking about something, surely after a while it starts to pique the interest of casual K-pop observers, who then find out what the fuss was all about. At times, their inadvertent discoveries could make them fans of said idol, but mostly they would just see and shrug with some indifference. Sure he/she might not be a great idol, but he/she also does not deserve the hate being doled, and criticises the haters. Talk about a back fire.

Finally, this might be on a deeper level, but surely there is some emotional impact from such character assaults? Granted, idols might have been used to such comments and have thicker hides as part of their jobs, but some words still cut deeper than others.

That also explains why at times, celebrities on TV admit to being frustrated by criticism but being powerless to change things, or just being depressed.

And if that is not a compelling enough reason, look at it another way. You are criticising somebody’s child. Really, it could not hurt any parent more to hear of comments on their children for just doing what they have chosen in life, and all the sacrifices they made for their career paths. Another reason why when celebrities make pleas to fans or critics to keep any attacks at personal level. Really, it’s not nice to bring the hate to a lower level, by aiming the shots real personal.

So while criticism of concepts, songs and stage antics are still alright in the name of commenting on a good (or bad) performance, I hope this article serves as a reminder on how we should try to refrain from overtly rude or disparaging remarks about what we see, or to be too quick to generalise.

(Bnt News, SM Entertainment)