I've heard valid arguments from both sides of the fence on this issue.
The unfortunate fact is that you're both right.
There needs to be a middle ground here, any idea?
I was thinking about the old-school survival-horror games and how you could interact with paintings, areas,etc and there would be text describing what it is you're looking at.
Do you think something like this would work?
Keep in mind that most of the story in Dark Souls was communicated via well written Item descriptions and I can't see how this would be much of a stretch?