“In our days…”
Blah blah. This is the all-too-common cliche of how we are so different than the past in our respect of Gedolim, because, after all, the Tanach has criticism of great people.
For some reason, nobody notices that no person in Tanach or Torah Shel Bal Peh criticizes Gedolim of previous generations. So, just like today, contemporaries and colleagues will critique and criticize, while those who follow retain the respect of the greatness and superiority of knowledge.
I think that derisive terms like these about the little bit of respect that that has survived among us, sets a person apart more than hashkafic ideas on study and culture.