It wasn’t that these people were Ph.D.s, that the expertise and authority evident on every page of their writing derived from a diploma hanging on an office wall. I never knew, while reading Kael, whether she had a degree in Film Studies (even if I’d known such a thing existed back then), nor did I care; it never occurred to me that Whitney Balliett ought to have some kind of academic credential in order to pass judgments on Bobby Short singing “Just One of Those Things” at the Café Carlyle. If anything, you felt that their immense knowledge derived above all from their great love for the subject. I was raised by a scientist and a schoolteacher, and it was salutary for me to be reminded that authority could derive from passion, not pieces of paper.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
… A Critic's Manifesto: The Intersection of Expertise and Taste : The New Yorker. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)