Monday, March 22, 2010

highbrow vs lowbrow

highbrow vs. lowbrow - a review of entertaining things

in an attempt to gain some immediate cultural relevance, i decided it was time to see "avatar." and well, hell, if you're going to pay to see it in the theater, it might as well be in 3D. and it was everything i dreamt it would be - an over-hyped science fiction/action movie with bad writing, bad acting, and impressive technology. aside from the hype and wide success of the movie, it's articles such as this one that are most disturbing: audiences experience "avatar" blues. basically, some people are reporting feeling depression after watching the movie because they desire to live in a world like that of the navi's pandora.

if it is ironic to say, "avatar" is lowbrow entertainment at its pinnacle. neal gabler's discussion of how entertainment has become the most real, influential force in america (from his book life, the movie) is realized in the "avatar" phenomena.

however, credit should be given to the movie for providing a widely appealing forum for an anti-war, pro-environmental message.

highbrow 0, lowbrow, 1

people who regularly have intellectually stimulating conversations are more likely to be happy, according to this ny times article, talk deeply, be happy.

highbrow: 1, lowbrow: 1

vanity fair's proust questionnaire... john cusack, monty python, yogi berra....and you can take
the proust questionnaire yourself.

highbrow 2, lowbrow 1

angela bassett voicing for michelle obama on the simpsons. see it here. some may argue that the simpsons have crossed over into highbrow, and while there maybe some truth to this, i'm giving the point to lowbrow due to its mass appeal, widespread recognition, and level of intellectual prowess required to "get" the show.

highbrow 2, lowbrow 2

however, i think this is a win-win for everyone:

there used to be a show on tv (it aired on a high-up in the numbers cable network called MOJO) called three sheets, hosted by comedian zane lamprey.

went to different countries to experience their drinking traditions and cultures.
you watched and said, "how do i get paid to travel around the world and get wasted?"

he has a book coming out now.
concept about highlighting cultural nuances and traditions - highbrow.
concept about having a stuffed monkey for a sidekick and shameless tales of drunkenness - lowbrow.

highbrow 3, lowbrow: 3


see also:
this adorably amusing chart of highbrow-lowbrow spectrums
lawrence levine's highbrow/lowbrow: the emergence of cultural hierarchy in america.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Tiny Epiphanies

Little things that have been revealed to me over the last couple of weeks:

1. New Jersey ain't so bad. Headed to the Garden State last weekend for an engagement party to be treated with things like:

  • The best damn cannoli I have ever eaten (and probably ever will) and homemade limoncello
  • A personalized tour of Sandy Hook at Gateway National Park (including the oldest running lighthouse in the US, a slightly delapidated gun battery that resembles an insane asylum, and the most adorable 1940s officer's house completely decked out in period furniture, decor, and memorabilia)
  • Dancing. On a dance floor. At the Knights of Columbus. I needn't say more.
Part of this epiphany includes the fact that a roadtrip can and should be made out of any opportunity to cross state lines. Side trips included: Annapolis, MD, Washington, DC, and a brief session of worshiping Swedish design ingenuity at Ikea. Look at these pretty fabrics! Skol!

2. Random inspiration can be found in the strangest places...

3. "The Union Is Forever" by the White Stripes is about Citizen Kane. My brain had some trigger-like response every time I listened to the song anyway, ears perking up when they get to the "There is a man, a certain man" why does that sounds so familiar?! And it all came together one day in a glorious moment of realization that two of my most favorite things had slightly merged into one. Lovely analysis here.

4. You can't look for epiphanies, they just happen. Usually quite unexpectedly. Case in point: I watched New York, I Love You yesterday wondering if I'd be hit with some overwhelming urge to choose NYU over VCU for grad school. Didn't happen. The movie itself was just okay, not quite as good as its predecessor Paris, Je T'aime.