Jeff Jarvis poses an interesting question in his latest Guardian column -- do critics matter anymore? Have we stopped caring about other people's opinions in an age where we all have our own, and also have the means to express them? Who needs us anyway?
Who needs critics, anyway? Not the producers of The Da Vinci Code, who launched a gigahit without showing the movie to critics much in advance. Not the latest Pirates of the Caribbean, which was deep-sixed by professional scribes - who as a group gave it only 52 out of 100 points, as calculated by RottenTomatoes.com - while the critics who count, the ones with tickets in hand, gave the sequel the biggest three-day box office in US history. Not newspapers in the US, which are laying off critics and refusing to send many of those left to soak up PR and parties at television critics' junkets to Hollywood.