I think prose is the most important part of a book. Sophisticated, well thought out prose can turn a bad book (with boring characters and bad plot) into a good book. Yet, you frequently see critics champion the prose of writers like John Williams, Ernest Hemingway, and late Don DeLillo. Why?
Well first of all, the infantillization of American literature has been happening for nearly a century, and imo, can mostly be pinned to Hemingway.
But second of all, there are strengths and weaknesses that elaborate prose has, but it seems like you're too pleb to understand that.
Prose isn't everything but this trend is part of the overall dumbing down of literature. Mostly because books have been commercialized more and more throughout the years. Accessibility and descriptive realism in the blandest, most banal sense are valued over everything else because books are seen as products rather than as works of art.
>muh dumbing down
It isn't even dumbing down, it's a matter of style in most cases. Honestly, I think good prose doesn't have to be only what OP wants, but it's a spectrum. I see Nabokov as being the prose equivalent of fireworks, flashy and in your face, whereas Hemingway is a lot quieter. Just because you aren't having big words and complex sentences thrown into your face does not make something less carefully written.
It is dumbing down though, because the simplistic Hemingway-like style is what's taught and idealized across the board. If it was a choice people were making that'd be one thing, but it's what's shoved down everyone's throats in writing classes/workshops/etc.
That's funny that you say Hemingway-esque prose is being taught in workshops. I'm doing an MFA right now (inb4 you try to troll me about that) and never once have I had a prof in either of my schools push Hemingway-eque prose on me. As a sophomore I wrote a piece basically attempting to rip off Hemingway's style, and I got reamed for it.
I also took the time to sit in workshops at all of the undergrad schools I applied to, and I've read a lot of work coming out of other MFAs right now, and nobody is trying to be Hemingway. The minimalist trend has died off for the most part, aside from the "K-mart realists" like Tao Lin and his ilk. There was a pretty big resurgence with Carver & other Lish edited disciples, but that's over for the most part.
Sure, you can find some shit tier journal publishing Hemingway rip offs (A Clean, Well Lighted Place is one) but, the biggest markets, and the most well respected artistic markets, are not going in for that.
Hemingway's prose is what I would call deceptively simple. Yes, the words aren't big and he uses a lot of simply constructed sentences, but beyond the stereotype he does go in for some more technically elaborate and beautiful description, especially in his earlier work. His minimalism still isn't easy, because if you read it on face value he's totally shit. But, by reading it closely, you see his characters are fleshed out not by what Hemingway writes about them, but about what he doesn't write, because that's what Hemingway say as the most realistic way to portray his characters. Jake Barnes isn't going to outright say why the gay guys at the beginning of The Sun Also Rises makes you angry, but Hemingway makes it clear enough that it's because of Barnes' impotence. And if that's simple prose to you, then I can't help you.