A few quotes for you:
… an opinion is implicit in the concept of a review. Definitely.
I think that is the whole point of the review – it’s “in my opinion”. I think that’s also why it’s important to have a relationship with the people who read the paper, so they understand what presses your buttons and what leaves you cold.
I think a good critic attempts to meet a work of art on its own terms and judge whether it has succeeded or failed in that sense.
… it’s actually quite nice to occasionally turn people on to good stuff and play a small role in the industry of human happiness (and also, dissuade them from wasting their time and money on bad stuff).
I think you may be a bit too hung up on fuzzy and borderline useless notions of “good” and “bad” – a reviewer’s job is also to think about more definable ideas as consistency, originality, artistic boldness…
Soundbite snippets from the SFF Masterclass lunches? The Vector editorial team near to closing time? A Strange Horizons comments thread?
None of the above – Guardian music critics justifying their work in response to questions by endearingly obscure glitch-techno-breaks musician Squarepusher.
Amazing how similar the arguments are, though, don’t you think?