[joe-frank-list] San Francisco performance

Mike Linksvayer ml at gondwanaland.com
Sat Jan 1 14:49:33 PST 2005

On Sat, Jan 01, 2005 at 02:07:06PM -0800, Robert W. Stanford President wrote:
> I don't mean to be sounding completely ignorant - however - I am missing the
> beaning of the brow thing - at first, I actually thought it was a town -
> could someone please tell me what the low medium and high brow things
> actually stand for - is this like a reporter's term like ("that's a 30!")?

Mr. President, google is your friend.  Anyway, from

	HIGHBROW/LOWBROW - "Dr. Franz Joseph Gall (1758-1828),
	founder of the 'science' of phrenology, gave support to the
	old folk notion that people with big foreheads have more
	brains." The theory, later discredited, "led to the expression
	'highbrow' for an intellectual, which is first recorded in
	1875.New York Sun reporter Will Irvin popularized 'highbrow,'
	and its opposite 'lowbrow' in 1902, basing his creation on
	the wrongful notion that people with high foreheads have
	bigger brains and are more intelligent and intellectual
	than those with low foreheads. At first the term was
	complimentary, but 'highbrow' came to be at best a neutral
	word .Life magazine coined the term 'middlebrow' in the
	mid-1940s." From "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins"
	by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997).

	Calling some activity or entertainment or cultural event
	by one of these three terms is very chancy these days. There
	is no general agreement or clear dividing line to : clarify
	where (for example) middlebrow begins and ends. Unless you
	are willing to stand your ground against verbal attack,
	it's best to avoid the classifications. (But hey, being
	reckless, I'll give you a quick self-test: was your favorite
	film of the past year Adaptation, My Big Fat Greek Wedding,
	or Jackass? They are high, middle, low.)

Hmm, I'd call Adaptation middlebrow, so take my assessment of Joe
Frank's brow with a grain of salt.  Regardless of browness, I gather
Adaptation was pretty sucessful, proving there's a big audience for
high/middlebrow stuff.

Reckless for the new year,

p.s. Google isn't a great friend when you ask it about numbers.  What's
"that's a 30!" mean?

  Mike Linksvayer

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