On the difficulty of identifying Hilobrows
August 5, 2009
Nobrows are easily recognized, for their gait is dancing and bold. But HiLobrows frequently deceive one because their bearing is curiously like that of a class of people heartily despised by Nobrows as well as by HiLobrows — the Middlebrow.
So wrote one of HiLobrow.com’s predecessors, a daring and perceptive seeker pictured above, in a cruel caricature. NB: We might not have the translation of this material exactly right; that is to say, we’ve seen other translations.
Our intellectual ancestor continues:
Let me admit frankly that I have not in my experience encountered any certain specimen of this type; but I do not refuse to admit that as far as I know, every other person may be such a specimen. At the same time I will say that I have searched vainly for years…. As I said, I have not met with such a one; but I can easily imagine her. Here she is. I make her acquaintance and am introduced to her. The first moment I lay my eyes on her I push her back, leaping back myself, I hold up my hands in amazement and say to myself: ‘Good Lord! That person? Is it really she — why, she looks like [Ellen DeGeneres]!’ But it is really she.
Ellen DeGeneres? Well, close enough. You get the idea.
This is a tricky business!
READ MORE essays by Joshua Glenn, originally published in: THE BAFFLER | BOSTON GLOBE IDEAS | BRAINIAC | CABINET | FEED | HERMENAUT | HILOBROW | HILOBROW: GENERATIONS | HILOBROW: RADIUM AGE SCIENCE FICTION | HILOBROW: SHOCKING BLOCKING | THE IDLER | IO9 | N+1 | NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW | SEMIONAUT | SLATE
Joshua Glenn’s books include UNBORED: THE ESSENTIAL FIELD GUIDE TO SERIOUS FUN (with Elizabeth Foy Larsen); and SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS: 100 EXTRAORDINARY STORIES ABOUT ORDINARY THINGS (with Rob Walker).