In another post, recently, I wrote about the virtues of Michiko Kakutani of the NY Times — her invisibility except where it counted most: in her reviews.
But even there, she took books to task on their own terms. She didn’t make it about her.
I used to edit somebody at the L.A. Times who was the opposite of Kakutani in so many ways — every review was always about him. He was a mid-level critic with enough chops that my boss kept hiring him out … and I had to keep dealing with him.
Every phone call to discuss edits was a long, torturous discussion. Every edit — even to change an article (which are as neutral, and as trivial, as the stones along a hiking trail) — required considerations worthy of the Talmudic sages of old.