We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Pop culture tends low-brow because that is where most peoples' tastes run, whether in food, music, pictures, reading, architecture, style, etc. The big money is in lowbrow mass market. That's fine.
It's not really an economic class thing although it might correlate in some ways. I consider myself solidly middle-brow, but have tried to educate my appreciation and enjoyment of the finer things all of my life. I may be partly limited by my IQ and by my imagination. I suppose we all have tastes that sometimes run the gamut. I love the Beatles and I love Bach.
Hillary Clinton had herself photographed lunching at Chipotle to indicate that she can relate to lowbrow tastes. That was just once. Where does she usually lunch without the press? Not Chipotle or McDonalds, I am sure. She looks well-fed.
In his 1948 essay, Notes Towards the Definition of Culture, T.S. Eliot argued that the highest levels of culture are only attainable by relatively small groups of people, and that in order for a civilization to sustain high culture a class system of some kind is necessary. Because culture is transmitted primarily through the family and religion—not schools—and because it relies to a large extent on these particular loyalties for its perpetuation, when these institutions fail, “we must expect our culture to deteriorate.”
I am not alarmed. High culture is alive and well. Silent snobbery is good, but spoken snobbery is snotty and you have to be careful because some people with proletarian tastes are darn smart and just unilluminated. Well, sometimes snobbery is appropriate. During the Renaissance, 99% of Western people were illiterate peasants who never heard of Michelangelo. Admittedly, they had some exposure to fine things if they went to a cathedral, but they never did - or maybe one pilgrimage in their life. I try to remember that Verdi was the rock star of his time, far from "high culture". How many Greeks studied Plato?
There are cultural elites just as their are elites in every other arena of life. We ordinary people rely on our elites for many good things.
Two highbrows talking on TV. Right-wing neanderthal dude on the left played Bach on the harpsichord to relax at his seaside home in Stamford, CT. and had a pianny on his sailboat. If you are too young to know, Bill Buckley and Gore Vidal:
All too true, and not in a bad way. I think America was set up to be a prole - mid - low brow country even though some of our founders were definite high-brows...they figured the high-brows could fight it out and find a place in the country; but knew that wheat, proteins, inventions, low-browfun and money would rule...
You might be interested in the book Highbrow/Lowbrow by historian Lawrence Levine. Levine points out that in 19th Century America Opera and Shakespeare were both widely popular (which is one reason why so many small, old towns around the country have opera houses). His point is that the boundaries between high and low culture weren't as sharply defined as they have become.
These days, though, it's also worth noting that a lot of what passes as "highbrow" art is merely trash with fancy-sounding theoretical justifications.