Poetry is about saying it as it seems. Saying it "like it is" assumes the Romantic trap of thinking that the final state of things can be deigned by the poet’s sense of what cannot be accurately or concisely phrased. The permanent significance some poets attempt to capture is an illusion: word meanings change, cultural habits change, reading habits change, world views change, the meanings of what was formally thought to be a settled affair changes as well. Or rather our attitudes change to the subject changes. The object is inert, bereft of meaning. The poet, attempting a verse that reaches years , decades beyond it's time, is better served getting his her own properly and artfully qualified perception of events and ideas right. One might not trust met narratives anymore, but brilliant individual responses are always illuminating.
It seems to me that the heyday of rock criticism almost precisely followed the arc of the counter culture of the late ‘60s/early ‘70s, when the exalted arrogance of The Young (or at least the “hip” segment of it) believed in a unified code of ideals and ethics, built around misty notions of revolution, self-liberation and hirsute hedonism. There was a cleanly-drawn line between Cool and Uncool in those days and the leading rock critics of the time fell in line with the prevailing ethos. The rise of the underground press rewarded the music scribes with small change, psychic cachet and innumerable promo albums, creating an ambiguous symbiotic relationship with a music business that didn’t want to change the world so much as make lots and lots of $$$. It became something of a Ponzi scheme of the collective mind, crashing somewhere between the rise of Jimmy Carter and the fall of disco. The rhetoric of Marsh, Nelson, etc. did get seriously inflated and hyperbolic, straining to pump up a few hirsute entertainers into the reincarnations of Byron and Keats. The work of too many of these critics seems myopic, jejune and often pretentious by current standards, the detritus of a time when the economy was booming and youngsters could afford to imagine something as unsustainable as a Woodstock Nation. Still, there are moments of colorful, cogent writing to be found as well. The golden era of rock criticism was more than a make-work project or a sustained act of wankery – in fact, I think the first Rolling Stone Record Review anthology is just as good a read as your typical WPA Guide.
The basic flaw in the auteur theory is that it preferred hero worship over art, which was a convenient way to overlook the wooden set ups otherwise hack directors presented audiences. There was the misconception that just because someone would film situations similar from film to film , it constituted an aesthetic and constituted a style; some were artful in their familiar scenes and scenarios, but far more were merely fashioning a way to work quick and under budget.