Criticism is futile. Maybe it's reading Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections which is decidedly anti-criticism. It even has one character who teaches criticism theory realize that you can't change the world by criticising it.
And while we are at it, the most read topic on my blog is still this piece where I destroyed Ghajini. And even got offered my first book job for it.
But I think I've risen about it. Even small or big pieces where I celebrate works of art get better hits than my criticism pieces.
But that's not to say criticism is unnecessary. It is. And we need it even more now to guide us when more and more pop culture is created every day. It's after all the critic's job to guide the masses. Except today a lot of pop culture is critic-proof. The next Avengers' movie will gross 500 million. The next GaGa album will be platinum. So a bad review won't stop a fan boy from paying his money and consuming inferior pop culture. A parent with two kids will watch a bad animated movie. That guy has no choice. But that doesn't mean the critic has no voice?
The critics need to channel their inner Roger Ebert and unabashedly love pop culture that needs loving. So yes, the critic should give a bad piece a bad review. But it's her job to show his readers that why an overlooked movie, the book by an unheard author or an indie artist is where his readers should put their money. That'll only happen when critics learn to do more than critique. They learn to drive conversations and action by celebrating the right kind of pop culture.