Andrew Doyle in Spiked:
Critics are often maligned. Kenneth Williams memorably compared them to eunuchs in a harem: ‘They’re there every night. They see it done every night. But they can’t do it themselves.’ It’s difficult not to enjoy the barbed wit of Williams, even when he’s indulging in this kind of unfair generalisation. Criticism, if done well, is an art form in and of itself – but now that clickbait is prioritised over insight the standards have undeniably dropped.
It would appear that the infection of identity politics has spread from the creatives to the critics. Praise for Christopher Nolan’s film Dunkirk was offset by those who complained that he had not included a sufficiently diverse cast, in spite of the historical fact that the overwhelming majority of those evacuated were young white men. It seems to me that if your initial reaction to a work as arresting as Dunkirk is to appraise the degree to which its auteur has fulfilled diversity quotas, then you are not well equipped to judge his artistry.
That is not to say that total objectivity is either possible or desirable when it comes to criticism. But the best critics are able to appreciate a piece of work on its own terms, whereas the worst seem to believe that success should be measured on the basis of how closely the artist reflects their own ideological perspective.