The excellent Arts & Letters Daily recently linked to an artcle by Scott Timberg in the Los Angeles Times titled Critical condition. Key paragraph:
... many newspaper and magazine critics pine for a golden age when giants walked the Earth: When the imposing Clement Greenberg was shaping modernism in painting, the biting H.L. Mencken was exhuming the reputation of Theodore Dreiser, and the impious Leslie Fiedler found unsettling Freudian meanings in the novels of Mark Twain.
I'm not sure we're any worse off for the lack of a dominant arbiter of taste. A good part of the 20th century was for a while called the Age of Eliot. I like Eliot's poetry. I like his criticism less. I can do without F.R. Leavis pretty much altogether. Criticism that lasts is a form of memoir. We meet the person through what he tells us of his likes and dislikes. The actual judgments are more or less beside the point -- unless they happen to be especially cogent, which they often aren't. I suspect that there will emerge eventually from the blogosphere a number a strong personalities who will exert a powerful influence on contemporary taste. I just hope the number is large enough to allow for some variety. What is not needed is a single domineering voice.