” Low-Brow” is such a wonderfully wrong term…and yet we hear it all the time in publishing, art, and entertainment. The people who use it are generally rather proud of it, and hope to make money by applying it to products, concepts, and events. Sometimes they succeed wonderfully.
The idle philosopher who contemplates it immediately realises that if there are ” Low-Brow ” things , there must be ” High-Brow ” ones as well. And presumably ” Middle-Brow “. It’s hard to say whether there are equivalencies or whether there are exclusive concepts in each division.
I’m tempted to say that there are, using the motor car as an example. And further – that there are genuine examples and fake ones – theatrical representations, if you will. And we are such weird and weak creatures that we all play along. Here are some examples:
a. Real low-brow. A Cadillac fallen upon hard times in a foreign land. The heart of darkness in white and rust. Let us hope for a resurrection one day.
b. Faux Low-brow. The overblown graphics of what might be popular culture.
c. Real High-Brow. The one-of-a-kind preserved exclusive car that once defined the social status of the owner…and for that matter still does. A social strainer.
d.Faux High-Brow. Harmless – rather pretty, but susceptible to exposure and the scrutiny of judgemental people.
e. Real Middle-Brow. As average as a beige Dodge. Or in this case a beige Toyota. Honest, if plodding. A car that we might all resort to if we had to leave town surreptitiously. The modern Australian equivalent of the Nash Rambler in North America.
f. Faux-Middle-brow. An abandoned Musso in the airport car park. It is not healthy to run away from your troubles too much…