August is hot and humid and not conducive to deep thought. Any thought, really. So, I’ve decided to find some simple games to play and share. Maybe they will shed some light on our place in the world. Probably not.
The first game, Measure Your Brow, is inspired by the August 3, 2014 NY Times Article, “The Squeeze on the Middlebrow”. The article features Russell Lyons famous chart of 1949 that defines four intellectual classifications of Americans (high-brow, upper middle-brow, lower middle-brow, and low-brow) and describes them in terms of their creature comforts.
As a person born to the lower middle class who’s enjoyed many advantages and been tagged an intellectual by people who make me squirm, I wondered how Mr. Russell’s classifications applied to me. Here is how I fared:
Clothes – High-brow. Eggheads don’t care about clothes and I only buy new when friends pick at my tatters in public.
Furniture – Low-brow. Half of the furnishings in my house came from the curb.
Useful Objects – Lower Middle-brow. My housemate and I don’t have his and her towels, but we are strict about having a matching set on designated racks.
Entertainment – Upper Middle-Brow. My love of theater transcends classification. I try to keep drama at proscenium distance.
Salads – Low-brow. Cole Slaw is my ultimate salad. But is it still low-brow if I replace the mayo with vinaigrette and enliven the cabbage with broccoli, cauliflower, kale, carrots, and sliced cherries?
Drinks – Low-brow. Beer. No other alcohol passes my lips.
Reading – Upper Middle-Brow. This is a no brainer. My main source of information is the NY Times. You can’t get any more Upper Middle-Brow than that.
Sculpture – N/A. I fall off the chart here. I have no sculpture. I want no sculpture. I am happy to relegate sculpture to public parks and museums.
Records – Lower Middle-Brow. I’ve been painting my bedroom this week and listened to Ragtime, Toby Keith, Garth Brooks, and Les Miserables in rotation.
Games – Lower- Middle-Brow. Bridge is my nearest match. But my real passion is Risk. Where is the category for Angry-Brow?
Causes – Upper-Middle-Brow. Pleas for social justice flap open my wallet.
My results? Three each for Low-Brow, Lower Middle-brow and Upper Middle-brow. Only one High-brow, and for a slacker reason. Proof positive that a person can go to fancy colleges and claim a prize corner in scholarly Cambridge but never escape his roots. I simply like eating slaw and drinking beer at the table I hauled off the curb too much to raise my cultural classification.
How prominent is your forehead in this game?