overwhelmingly good opinions in the press are essential to a play that is to run.
What I did not say in my article, but what I should think would occur to you as a journalist, is that it is sadly injurious not only to the public but to the critic himself when a critic's opinions have the effect of a statute.
You say that I complain that critics are chosen for their readability. I made no such complaint. I enjoy readable critics as much as you do. But I maintained, and still do, that it is most unfortunate that critics chosen for their readability should become, whether they like it or not--and many of the more intelligent among them do not like it--judges and censors whose lightest words operate as legislation on Broadway. A critic has no obligation to be fair. A judge has.
You say that what degrades and diminishes the art of the theatre is a bad play. Have the critics never acclaimed bad plays? Have they never decried good ones? Public opinion is the only trustworthy court for such questions, and the way things are now set up there is no possibility of appeal from the critics to the public.
I agree most heartily that "if democracy means anything at all, it means that secrecy is mischievous." It also means that monopolies, whether in opinion or anything else, are mischievous.