Everybody wants to be smart.
Impress your friends with your big brain.
A lot of people want the world to know that
they are indeed smart.
But you can’t just scream it from your rooftop.
No, that’s just embarrassing.
It could be hard waiting for the world to see your true genius through,
I don’t know, achievements in progressing the human race.
But you know what is easy
saying that you watch…
insert tv show here
and that because you watch…
insert TV show here
you are smart.
Maybe the show you watch has jokes that
appeal to a niche intelligent crowd –
poignant commentary on the world around us.
Maybe the music you listen to has complex chord progressions
that the average person just doesn’t get.
The book you just read has abstract subtle remarks
on the struggles of society.
But does it mean that you’re smart because you consume this highbrow media?
And everybody else,
are they just dumb because they prefer lowbrow media?
just watch the video and find out.
So highbrow and lowbrow.
What does it mean?
Lowbrow is usually defined as being generic, vapid art.
Characters are based on commonly used archetypes.
Plot lines follow basic storytelling structure without much deviation.
Character arcs are predictable, recycled
and maybe a basic moral lesson is placed into the mix of good measure,
leaving you with a heartfelt ending you saw coming a mile away.
Highbrow is seen as more complex art
for the more inquisitive minds –
something that can be studied, dissected.
Plot lines weave a narrative thread that astonishes.
Characters grow and learn much like real people,
but without the constraints of overused archetypes.
And having some message about society doesn’t only make for a complex tale.
No! It changes the world around us.
This is the common narrative between the two types.
Striving for better art rather than
relying on complacency that’ll surely appeal to the widest demographic
should be the better option.
And if that’s all it was, there really wanna be a reason to talk about this.
But it doesn’t stop there.
It’s not clean cut and motives for highbrow and lowbrow
aren’t as simple as “this is better than that”.
It starts with the creation of these terms.
As you can assume, anybody who would come up with these two terminologies –
one of them being of a derogatory nature
would likely support the perceived better option of the two.
That being highbrow.
The origins of the term was distinctly related to inherit intelligence based on phrenology.
This false ideology maintained that one’s intelligence was linked to the shape of their skull.
Today we know this is just not true.
Just because you have a big head, doesn’t mean you got a big brain.
Now the history of this science caused much pain and bad bad things to happen,
but this video is not about that.
Phrenology eventually faded away,
but the divide of highbrow and lowbrow remained.
Now, to be fair, by this point very few saw out culture that wasn’t massively popular.
The early 1900 tipped for education systems
and art wasn’t quite the most valued asset
to what people needed to succeed in life.
Those who did seek out greater stimulation from the arts
found validation from peers.
Others who agreed that art could and should strive for more –
not inherently a bad mindset,
but there was more motives than just bettering the landscape.
Why do I say this?
Well, the term middlebrow really gives a good indication
of what proponents of this highbrow versus lowbrow divide we’re really aiming for.
You may say, “What is middlebrow? This sounds stupid. You’re a stupid tie.”
Well, middlebrow is high-quality art that would likely be
otherwise deemed highbrow if not for the fact it was popular,
or it describes works and people that are on the threshold of highbrow society,
but don’t quite grasp its true potential.
Not a divide based on artistic value,
but popularity and judgmental divides.
Sounds kind of pretentious, to be honest.
Think about it: if you can just say,
“This art is better than that art because I had to look for it”,
that’s more of a statement on exclusionary communities rather than the art itself.
This is my primary issue at the argument that
the art you like means that you are more intelligent.
Those who want to be seen as superior to their fellow men
will find ways to justify it,
rational or not.
The art itself is no longer the topic of discussion.
It only acts as a jumping-off point to the real issue in question: I am smarter than you.
I don’t want to make it seem like
all who are proponents of highbrow art are doing it for self gain,
because that’s not true.
But those viewing the culture from the outside
can’t help to question its true intentions.
And this isn’t just linked to art.
Think about wine critics.
It’s often argued that
because the professional wine taster knows the details of the wine’s creation –
whether that be region or maker –
it heavily influences their perception on the wine’s taste.
I’m not arguing that wine tasting is entirely fake,
but it makes you think that much like highbrow art critics,
opinions could be easily distorted based on more variables
than just “is it good”.
Now other issues with lowbrow come into class arguments.
Lowbrow is sometimes seen as for the workingman – lower-class incomes,
stories that rely on escapism rather than deal with the issues of society.
I think this is a stupid argument.
Escapism isn’t only desired by those who want to escape the realities of their life,
it could simply be used to create fantastic worlds and creative ideas.
If the intent of art is to entertain and provide joy,
then so be it.
It doesn’t need to have commentary on society in some abstract form,
and having such commentary doesn’t instantly mean that
that work has more merit or significance than something that doesn’t make a statement.
I’m not here to make an easily definable metric by which art can be measured.
That’s not really possible.
Obviously, art is subjective.
I think though we could come to some basic attributes art should aim for,
namely, does it fulfill its purpose?
If the intent of art is to entertain, does it do so?
If it’s supposed to have a message conveyed, does it do that?
Avoiding cliches can be a good thing, but these cliches exist for a reason:
they can give a basic building block to create a narrative,
and subverting basic storytelling beats for the sake of it
doesn’t give any work more inherent artistic value.
This may sound like I’m just ripping on highbrow art.
Well, I’m not.
I think some concepts championed by this are really valuable,
but the community seeking it seems like an institution ripe for corruption
from the proposed core ideals of seeking out good art.
It’s too easy to follow the egotism when you have an expertise in a topic
that is otherwise more casual for most people.
I think you can make an argument that
many highbrow works are films and the like
appear to be produced for the intention of promoting something other than just making it enjoyable.
Think about somebody who tries to appear intelligent or cultured.
They will likely use the biggest words in their vocabulary
simply to convey an underlying message.
That message being “I’m smart”.
I see this most often in film review.
The purpose of communication should be just that – communicating.
Using words that aren’t necessary just to prove how big your lexicon is
is probably a bad thing.
Like that, I didn’t need to say “lexicon”.
I could just say “how many words you know”.
The only purpose of writing and talking in a manner that makes it harder to communicate
is to get across the message of “I know big words”,
therefore, my opinions are more valid.
This is how I see much of the indulgences of the highbrow art community:
giving merit and value to things for ulterior motive.
Now I’ve ripped into the highbrow art community quite a bit.
It’s easy, and kind of fun to do this.
But lowbrow isn’t perfect either.
In some ways, it might actually be worse.
Lowbrow art can be lazy, unoriginal and flat out bad,
and film, especially so.
It’s easy to exploit a mass market with cute animals, toilet humor and funny voices.
Big CGI effects, explosions, famous actors.
还有酷炫的CGI特效 爆炸场面 著名演员
It’s like a machine
that you just plug in what you know works and get the widest audience possible.
Now this seems like a production line to me.
Some judge highbrow art for being pretentious –
much like I have for the last few minutes.
But not all work-deemed highbrow lacks entertainment value.
You can have something deep and new and thought-provoking
and still enjoy it.
A lot of the lowest brow art is surface level – what you see is what you get.
But as art and media take up more of our free time
more than any time in human history,
people are beginning to desire more complex works.
Even when taking into account the mass market,
people get bored with the same old same-old.
But this gives actually a lot of merit to highbrow arguments.
Much like those who study these mediums,
people who become more devoted to consuming artistic content generally seek out better works.
If you’re exposed to only a single song throughout your life,
the first time you hear something new, it will probably sound pretty good.
And the more you hear, the more your taste develops,
and so on and so forth.
In the modern day, it’s easy to access both highbrow and lowbrow content.
As people consume more media,
they become accustomed to the cliches,
and demand more creative works.
The mass market expands from lowbrow to, well, something else.
So, are you smarter just because you consume this highbrow content?
It’s a loaded question.
Just because a reference goes over your head doesn’t show any lack of intelligence,
it just means you weren’t exposed to, well, whatever is being referenced.
Defining intelligence is hard enough.
Instead of a measure of one’s ability to make connections with the information provided,
the ability to learn quickly, the information you currently know,
personally, I don’t really know.
I’d argue that seeking out stimulating content is just a product of natural curiosity.
Everybody enjoys different things to varying levels and for different reasons.
Using the standard of “I like to watch this” or “I read”
isn’t proving anything to anybody.
Highbrow vs. lowbrow.
It’s been going on for over a century.
As you would expect,
a lot of these concepts are constructed by those who would gain from it,
and criticized on both sides by people who are seeking to prove that
they are right and somebody else’s wrong.
There’s no reason to proclaim lowbrow media or highbrow media is inherently better,
since both have irreparable faults by the very nature of man.
You are not smarter than anybody else because you prefer different media.
Looking for more complex creative media
may give you a bigger appreciation for an art form,
but it can also lead to resentment for what you perceive as “the masses”.
Sure, there’s a lot of media I despise and find utterly shallow.
当然 有很多媒体我很鄙视 它们太肤浅
But if it makes somebody happy, who am I to judge?
I don’t think media taste is a good measure for intelligence
just because so many factors are at play.
The only exception is ALF.
If you like ALF, you’re stupid.
This is Tyler of Knowledge-Up.
Everybody wants to be smart.