From Jeremy at CultureBot:
Don’t be suckered. The idea of the critic that Kaiser laments isn’t the idealized public intellectual he tries to paint a picture of. This “serious” critic of “serious” art is, in the end, providing just another consumer report. This is a deeply important task in the world Kaiser imagines we live in–without a member of the cultural elite defining the value of a cultural good, how are the plebs supposed to know whether the ticket’s worth the cost?
That’s why the thing Kaiser finds truly “scary” is the idea that audiences can now voice their own thoughts via the Internet. Because the audience, of course, isn’t supposed to have its own thoughts. It’s supposed to accept the value of what it’s consuming and, should it find itself out of step with elite opinion, worry about its ignorance, about why it’s so wrong.