Is there a place, then, for criticism? A critic looking for a classical hero usually thinks, all too flatteringly, of Hercules cleaning the Augean stables. I have cleaned a few stables in my time, but I’ve never felt like Hercules. Let me propose a different model. Diogenes, famed for his austerity, lived for a time in a terra-cotta tub in the Athens marketplace. (“What can I do for you?” asked Alexander, having come a distance to see this unusual philosopher, some­thing dictators and presidents do all too rarely these days. Diogenes looked at him and said, “You can get the hell out of my light.”) In his frugality, the cynic reduced his possessions one by one, until he owned only the cloak he wore, a pouch, and a drinking bowl. One day he saw a boy drinking from a stream with his hands, and threw away the bowl. Diogenes here is the reader. The bowl is criticism. And the water…the water is poetry.

William Logan, “The Bowl of Diogenes; or, The End of Criticism”