Thursday, September 01, 2011

On Highbrowism

Another invariable earmark of the highbrow is his paucity of real achievement. Men both great and wise lived and died before he was ever thought of, but it was not for them that the term “highbrow” was coined. The real Simon pure specimen does not invent a telephone or build a bridge across the East River or direct great enterprises or write good plays or good books or compose music. If he were really to accomplish anything of practical value he would cease to be a prophet. Moreover, his attitude must be invariably one contemptuous of success. His school of thought is one that sneers at all recognized achievement and glorifies the undeserving. Therefore, no matter what form of learning the highbrow may affect or what theories he may advance concerning literature, art, the drama, Socialism, politics or any of the other matters of which he loves to discourse, we may be quite sure that we are not listening to one speaking with authority. I really do not know what measure of contempt and reproach the followers of Kate Smithers would mete out to a highbrow known to have written a single witty line, to have correctly drawn the human hand, to have led a political party, benefited the poor or been able to recognize at first sight any form of artistic real merit.

Very interesting read at HiLoBrow, reprinted from the original written by James L. Ford in 1900. I believe the current term for a "highbrow" is "hipster."

By the way, I discovered HiLoBrow recently when they linked to one of my vintage pipe ads at The Briar Files.

No comments:

Post a Comment