During the Critical Role cast panel at this year's New York Comic Con, cast member and dungeon master Matt Mercer challenged the dismissal of some forms of expression as “cringe.” Mercer said, ”We live in an odd time of ‘cringe culture’ where anything that’s honest can be called cringe. And I don’t agree with that.”
Much of what's put down as cringe-y, argued Mercer, “are just people being their authentic self, and other people can’t deal with that.” Acknowledging that nothing is for everybody and everyone is entitled to their own reaction, Mercer urged artists to trust their instincts. “Everything you put out there, [that] somebody might call cringe, somebody else might resonate with.”
The key, said Mercer, is for artists not to let such criticisms obscure the potential impact of their art. “Unfortunately sometimes you’ll hear the frustrating responses more than the people that are quietly enjoying it,” Mercer admited. But you can’t focus on them, he argued, “Because it’s true, people out there are quietly enjoying the art that you put out there.”
Castmate Marisha Ray agreed. “The world needs art,” added Ray. “You just have to get comfortable with the idea that not everyone is going to like it and it’s not for everyone."