Michael Kaiser, president of Washington D.C.'s Kennedy Center, has written in the Huffington Post about the slow but steady extinction of professional arts criticism in mainstream media. He is deeply worried.
His final paragraph:
No one critic should be deemed the arbiter of good taste in any market and it is wonderful that people now have an opportunity to express their feelings about a work of art. But great art must not be measured by a popularity contest. Otherwise the art that appeals to the lowest common denominator will always be deemed the best.
As a recent former critic who still has one foot -- okay, more like a big toe -- in the game, I agree. But that doesn't mean there is no way to find creative ways to join the crowd's, or the cloud's, or the swarm's conversation in a constructive, engaging way.
The cultural universe as we've known it for the past century and a bit is in the middle of a massive realignment -- larger than most of us can even imagine. And I don't think I'm being hyperbolic.
Here is a tiny sliver of an example of what I mean, taken from the pop music side of the business.