Have Critics Lost Their Authority?


In an essay written for Pacific Standard, psychologist Adam Waytz meditates on the dramatic influence the Internet has had on the role of cultural criticism.

Arguing that the Internet (with its “leaking” and torrenting and general filesharing debauchery) has effectively dissolved the advantage critics previously had over the public—the ability to access the subjects of their criticism before their public release—Waytz theorizes that most critics have become merely “mirrors of public opinion.”

Have modern cultural critics lost the ability to, as Waytz puts it, “guide taste”? Or is there a new opportunity here for critics to focus more on objectivity and contemplative substance?

Paolo Yumol is an intern at The Rumpus. He attends Oberlin College and is very grateful to be doing any of this. More from this author →