Writer Tim Wainwright has been keeping close tabs on the debate about whether — or more accurately, to what extent — critics have a responsibility to discuss matters of form. It began with a broadside by jazz critic Ted Gioia, crossed over to film with Monday’s Criticwire Survey, became a manifesto by Matt Zoller Seitz, and found its way to several other sites before ending up back here. Along the way, as invariably happens, both sides have been whittled down to reductive caricatures, including the notion that this debate actually has opposing points of view rather than different positions along the same continuum. (If there’s a “No, Critics Should Never Write About Form” essay out there, I haven’t seen it.)
At his blog, sensibly called “Tim Wainwright’s Blog,” Wainwright does an excellent job of tracking the discussion as it’s proliferated and metastasized, even singling out a few well-chosen tweets. He’s also done Criticwire the solid of turning the Criticwire Survey results into a handy pie chart, reproduced above. Now if someone could do the same for the music side of the debate, we’d really have something.