[joe-frank-list] San Francisco performance
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
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?
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