Minnesota Nice was killing music criticism even back in 1933
Here, we reach a critical, aka very important, distinction in Sherman's argument. He isn't calling for more career-ending hatchet jobs -- even if grumblers can be quite entertaining -- but there's a level of nuance he pines for. (Perhaps something ranging wider than even a 10.0 scale.) Even 80 years ago, someone who said what they thought -- culture be hanged! -- was hard to come by in Minnesota.
We see a hint of the listicles to come in the decades that followed as he solicits his readers' lists of their pet musical peeves, and to join him in an epic bit of grumbling. And it's the last sentence that we come closest to to the outright dismissal of the Minnesota Nice framework. All-embracing benevolence never resolves what to order at a restaurant, what to name a first-born child, or which book to check out from the library. The answer can never be "all of them," so why pretend that it's possible to like every concert attended equally?
"...criticism doesn't mean delivering petty, ill-tempered Simon Cowell-like put-downs," Dwight Garner wrote in the essential "A Critic's Case for Critics Who Are Actually Critical" for The New York Times last year. "It doesn't necessarily mean heaping scorn. It means making fine distinctions. It means talking about ideas, aesthetics and morality as if these things matter (and they do). It's at base an act of love. Our critical faculties are what make us human."
And what better place to do this than in a piece criticizing soft local critics? Certainly a better tack than Sherman risking offending any thin-skinned pals in the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, the biggest local band of his day.