EW's Whitney Pastorek asks a good question to think about as I go to NY for the film critics institute: "What's the critic's role in a comment-board world?"
Am I a Frank Rich or a Pauline Kael? HELL to the no. But I consider myself a proud part of that tradition. I've spent the better part of my adult life educating myself, cultivating opinions, learning about the journey of art through the ages. I take in almost-inconceivable amounts of music, movies, books, television, and media so that I can report on pop culture with an eye on its place in history. I also take time to craft that reporting, to shape my opinions. I take time to present them in a compelling way. I worry over commas, I fret over em-dashes. I use spell-check. I'm inspired by all those amazing voices that came before me, and, as with any craft, I aspire to be excellent at mine. And I believe that, if used properly and responsibly, it is a craft that has great value. I do not know that our society would be a better place if everyone was allowed to perform surgery or build skyscrapers or drive big-rig trucks just because technology came along that made those activities available to the masses at the click of a button. I don't see what makes cultural criticism any different.This next sentence says it all, and should be recited by everyone with a keyboard and a blogger account.
Just because you can type into the little box and press "post" doesn't mean you should.