I tend to sympathize with professional critics, who would probably agree that they do matter. By professional, I’m assuming we mean the dying breed of full-timers: redefining professional would mean ceasing to pay them, which I don’t condone. Reviewing books takes so much time that it’s hard to imagine doing it properly without a full-time salary. (Is that why editors outsource the task to hapless novelists so often?) And with so much media hype clogging up our lives, it’s crucial to know what paid experts think if we don’t want to waste time.
—Today’s Room For Debate on the value of critics. Do you agree?