I liked Dwight Garner’s riff in the NYT Magazine; I thought it was spot on. And Elliott Holt’s post about it just reminded of my favorite part, which comes when Garner is looking for a definition of criticism:
It means making fine distinctions. It means talking about ideas, aesthetics and morality as if these things matter (and they do). It’s at base an act of love. Our critical faculties are what make us human.