One of the things I like about Yagoda’s piece (and here we go again) is what he says about the "evaluation fixation":
This may seem an odd complaint — the job is called critic, after all — but in fact, whether a work is good or bad is just one of the many things to be said about it, and usually far from the most important or compelling.There are also some interesting views here on the whole subjectivity/objectivity thingieness, in the context of Kakutani’s refusal to use the dreaded “I” word.
One of her favorite gimmicks for ducking subjectivity is to invoke the supposed reactions of "the reader" to a book. This is a rather underhanded device ….and a perfect emblem of the way Kakutani muffles her own voice by hiding behind a mask.I find it quite surprising when reviewers are chastised for employing the first person in their work (it happens more often than you’d think). It almost seems necessary to pretend that the review is not one person’s “subjective opinion” (sorry Chandrahas, couldn’t resist – I’ve become attached to the phrase!) but a universal truth.
Anyway, read the full piece.
[Guilty admission: I have used the word “lugubrious” in speech. More than once. And will definitely continue to do so, if only to annoy people. Also "lachrymose".]