The dominant sentiments are cloying niceness and blind enthusiasm (particularly on Twitter). Somehow criticism has become synonymous with offense; everything is personal—one’s affection for a book is interchangeable with one’s feelings about its author as a person.
This post seems mistitled—Silverman’s only arguing against phony enthusiasm—but the sentiment is right on. One possible cause that doesn’t get mentioned: the sense that books and literary culture are embattled on all sides, and that those of us who care about them should pull together for the good of the team. I think that’s a sweet but misguided sentiment. If literature is worth defending, it’s worth arguing over honestly.
(Just to be clear: None of the above should be taken as license for anyone to say anything negative about my work, ever, in any context.)