Why definitions are distracting

Okay, here's a pet peeve. Art writer/critic finds an obscure and/or arbitrary definition for a term that already has a perfectly adequate definition (eg, illustration, photography, absurdism), then goes on to claim that something in particular does not fit into said obscure and/or arbitrary definition. This isn't criticism so much as a high school English paper assignment, and tells the reader nothing about the work on display, save that the writer finds pleasure in defining terms. Please note that I don't think we should shy away from analyzing the hell out of our opinions, and asking ourselves why we think the way they do. Those are fascinating questions, whether they apply to art, or your friends, or Tucker Max. But I cringe every time I see that whole, "That's not art! It's illustration!" line thrown around, or a convoluted essay that concludes with, "Ergo, according to this guy, this isn't that." Not because the writer is wrong, per se, but because the writer is inventing an argument where there are no rights and wrongs. Rather, he drew lines in the sand, backed it up with a few arbitrary opinions, and gave us a distraction rather than a discussion. And the real message? Because I have concluded that this doesn't count, I do not have to care about it.

I say, grab a copy of Webster's and work from there. And that bizarre "illustration is not art" consensus needs to go off into a corner and die already, but that's a different diatribe.