Criticism and Popular Culture

Archive Report

Changing Climate of Opinion

Obsession With Professional Advice

What is worth thinking? What is worth saying and repeating? What, for that matter, is worth seeing, hearing, wearing and eating? At a time when most Americans can ill afford the luxury of finding out by trial and error, an army of critics stands ready to help with opinions on just about everything. As the value of the dollar decreases, the need to spend it wisely has made the once-lofty art of criticism an indispensable aid to the average citizen. No art, entertainment, or salable good exists without its attendant set of critics and no critic without his or her devoted following.

British sage Matthew Arnold wrote over a century ago that the function of criticism is to “propagate ...

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