The “brows” – highbrow, middlebrow, and lowbrow refer to culture, entertainment, recreation, leisure, etc.
Lowbrow is lower class or working class culture.
Lowbrow culture is stuff like pro wrestling, NASCAR, car shows, drinking beer and watching football, meth, rap music, Danielle Steel, tailgate parties, barbecues, and other dumb stuff.
Middlebrow is middle class culture.
It sees itself snobbiliy above lowbrow which they look down on as working class (which it is). I’m having a hard time figuring out what middlebrow culture is, but it’s in between lowbrow and highbrow. Basically the culture of suburbia and white picket fences.
It’s not idiotic at all but it is pretty damn provincial and especially it is insanely conformist, kiss-ass, climb the corporate ladder, don’t rock the boat, the 500,000 things we don’t talk about and the 200,000 things we don’t do although there’s nothing wrong with any of those things. I haven’t the foggiest idea what middlebrow people do for fun but I think they would go to the movies that the critics recommend instead of the idiotic popular entertainment action flick. Camping trips. Expensive pot. Wine. John Irving. On the other hand, very highbrow stuff like dubbed European movies are too much.
Highbrow is elite culture.
Opera, obviously, the theater, poetry readings, academic conferences, literature, classical music, philosophy, and perhaps Parisian or European cafe culture, European movies with subtitles, literary, art and film magazines and criticism that no one understands, cult movies, books, and culture in general, jazz music (“jazzholes”), home decoration with expensive objects, often from overseas, psychoanalysis, birdwatching, LSD, expensive wines or especially hard liquor, James Joyce, overseas travel, retreats, especially people sitting around talking eruditely about history, culture, religion, politics, sociology, psychology, anthropology, linguistics, and better yet, WHERE THEY ALL INTERSECT.
Beyond highbrow is made up bullshit, some name I made up for my blog just to piss off as many people as possible.
But to me it means thinking like a Jew, arguing with your father, studying the Talmud and questioning and arguing about everything in it, pretty much just not taking anything at face value, questioning everything, not being afraid to question the status quo, the mainstream media, taking unpopular stances on sociology, politics, and geopolitics.
Pynchon, Umberto Eco, Heidegger, Hegel, Nietzsche, Marx and other writers of stuff that its authors themselves don’t even understand. Philip Glass and Lori Anderson. Bergman, Fellini, Truffaut, Resnais, Godard, Wim Wenders, Fassbinder, Cassavetes, Warhol, Welles, Kurosawa. Last Tango in Paris, Blow-up, Last Year at Marienbad, Death in Venice and other movies no one understands. Outsider art. and DMT. Absinthe. High IQ, top 1% minimum. Feeling like an alien in a society full of morons and retards.
Where everyone in society is supposed to think one particular way, and you stick your finger in the air and say, “I’m not going along with the crowd,” and then all your friends leave you for being a nonconformist but at least you are alone with your pride. Talking about things you’re not supposed to talk about. Bravely or idiotically smashing taboos and pissing off everyone around you.
It’s an Ubermensch! I hate to quote Nietzsche but it’s someone who rises above “slave mentality” to “rise above” and become his own man intellectually and in a societal sense. Thinks for himself. Makes up his own mind. Doesn’t follow trends. Isn’t a sheep like everyone else.
Just spitballin’ here. I hope this sort of explains it!