Noah Berlatsky writes in the Los Angeles Review of Books:
Recently I wrote a story about "Star Wars" and science fiction for The Atlantic. The comments section, as these things will, featured a large number of people telling me that I was unqualified to write about the topic because I hadn't read enough sci-fi books, or hadn't read enough recent sci-fi books, or hadn't read the right sci-fi books, or hadn't seen the right sci-fi movies.
I'm sure this is a familiar experience for anyone who's published work on culture.
Culture? Try agriculture.
I've been writing about the topic for many years and perhaps the biggest blowback question I get is "Are you a farmer?"
"No," I respond, "which is why you should trust me."
There is a paradox at the core of expertise: those who really know something well, be it sci-fi or growing corn, are often too wrapped up in it economically or emotionally to register opinions that are free of self-interest. Not always, but most of the time.
Critics can say what they will about my thoughts on agriculture but, at the end of the day, I'm a history professor who, although passionate about the topic, has no economic stake in the game one way or another. Zero. I get my paycheck from the state of Texas.