I'm not entirely sure what you mean by "not-entirely-subjective". I think that I, as a writer, believe there is a vital, important, deeply meaningful, entirely subjective quality of non-crappiness for which I strive every day with every fiber of my being, etc etc. At least, it's in principle entirely subjective. It has to do with effects that take place entirely within someone -- namely, a reader's -- subjectivity.
That's really the only kind of non-crappiness I'm interested in attaining, as a writer. Any objective standard of non-crappiness which can be measured without reference to a reader's subjective experience -- say, adherence to various formal criteria ("show don't tell", anyone?) I'm extremely suspicious of. What use do I have for objective criteria?
Now if by "not entirely subjective" you don't mean something like "not entirely rooted in personal experience", but instead mean something like "about which we expect there to be some agreement in the circles in which we travel", then sure, of course, I expect there to be some degree of agreement around -- otherwise you and I wouldn't have so many conversations of the form "but how could you have liked what he did in X? It lacked virtues Y and Z, and while it attained a certain degree of virtue Q, that's hardly..." There's obviously a basis for discussion, certainly with people whose tastes you share... and of course, a lot of our time (at cons, in the blogosphere, etc) is spent sussing out people whose tastes we share and enjoying the opportunity for collaborative identification of non-crappiness that this affords.
At the end of the day, though, even for people as overlapping in tastes as you and me (and I would say that I've done, and had done for me by the systems of culture, a rough but effective sort of the planet's nine billion inhabitants in terms of cultural and esthetic overlap, which informs that judgement), a whole lot of those conversations tend to end "(shrug) Well, I'm a sucker for virtue Q."
I'm bemused why there being little agreement on quality (on crapolocativity?) would make a hash of my corrolaries.
The corrolaries are intended to be bubble-bursting. I felt the need of them in the comments thread of the last post, where I was pontificating on contemporary art. The pitfall of Sturgeon's Law is the implicit assumption that the speaker is clearly in the 10% (or knows where it lies, anyway). The corrolaries are intended to restore humility by pointing out that in the final analysis, one probably speaks for some rather small slice of humanity in one's pronouncements of what is crap.
And where one doesn't just speak for the 10% who accord with one's natural inclinations -- where non-subjective criteria intrude on the determination of crap -- I narrow my eyes at a whiff of hegemony.
Of course, everyone's subjectivity overlaps to some extent, so that perhaps it's not that hard to find some example of something that almost everyone would agree is crap, not because they've been trained to by a centralizing tradition, but because it just happens to occur to everyone as crap. Theoretically seems obvious: shouldn't there be some things we're just hardwired to find beautiful, and others we're hardwired to find crappy?
But it's surprisingly hard for me to think of an actual concrete example. Extreme things like a tape full of static or a blank wall could be apprehended as witty conceptual art in the right context. Maudlin, out of tune singing can attract a cult following for comic or ironic reasons or even because, as with some early punk bands, lack of technical skill can appear as a hallmark of authenticity and a rebellion against slick but soulless virtuosity. Bad stories offered from a slushpile, like the one with the beachball alien which Delany takes apart in one of the essays in About Writing, seem to me to be clearly crap, yet respected editors publish stories that have all their faults and must therefore have compensating virtues invisible to me. The Universally Crapulous Artwork, like the Holy Grail, reveals itself, perhaps, only to the few...