The one exception: "if you are an intrepid explorer yourself, of a patient and workmanlike nature; if you enjoy the research involved in plotting your own path through publishing, and are flexible about learning more as you go along, then you may not need an agent."
May not. Even if you are actually all of those things (and independently wealthy to boot--this research takes time, which you probably don't have between writing a book and, um, working.) you still only get a maybe on not needing an agent. Not wanting. Needing an agent.
This is probably frustrating to you. You say "But why should I be beholden to these keepers of the gilt publishing gates?!" I hear ya.
But the truth is that "booby-trapped and pathless jungles" doesn't even begin to describe publishing. Self-publishing is just as fraught with peril, if not more so (yes, I can defend this claim).
For our next series, I think it's useful to talk about agents and their role in the self-publishing world. I hope you guys will comment with some of your more pressing concerns on the matter.