Thursday, 27 February 2020

"Today all the sluices are up, and almost nobody is willing to make the case that one branch of culture might be capable of greater depth, value or seriousness of purpose than any other. Anyone who does so will find themselves dismissed as ‘elitist’." #QotD


"Not long before his death I asked [him] what had most changed in our culture in his near-century at the heart of it. He said he thought it might be the evaporation of the categories of high-brow, middle-brow and low-brow. It was always a sort of game, of course. One of [his] authors, Graham Greene, was high-brow, always risking slipping to middle. Yet despite its infuriations the game betrayed a truth, and had a utility. You might treat yourself to a low-brow book, but you knew that you should try something high-brow again soon.
    "Today all the sluices are up, and almost nobody is willing to make the case that one branch of culture might be capable of greater depth, value or seriousness of purpose than any other. Anyone who does so will find themselves dismissed as ‘elitist’...."

        ~ Douglas Murray, from his post 'How Low Can the BBC Go?'
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1 comment:

  1. There are two problems that destroyed this trichotomy.

    First, folks corrupted "high-brow" to mean "Socialist". Once it became a matter of toeing the party line, this distinction lost all meaning.

    Second, the distinction never had much meaning to begin with. What's considered high-brow, even classic literature today was considered low-brow when it was made; it's only the action of time and fans that caused it to transcend. (No, it's not a dip in quality of modern writing; some of the writings of the past are pretty horrible.) It's impossible to predict what will become a classic in fifty years' time, and our current methods are worse than useless, they are designed to give false positives.

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