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“middle brow” – Insulting?

I recently used the term “middle brow” and was chided by a coworker who suggested it’s an elitist term. I’m not entirely convinced, but I’d like to be on the side of right and good, not the side of stick-in-the-mud and will change my attitude if someone wants to offer some reasons to do so. Any opinions out there? I think of it as pretty neutral, along the following spectrum (as far as books go):

High brow – focused on theory pretty much for the sake of theory; notable writings in this category might be entertaining, but the focus is on ideas, not on supplying any gratification to the reader; aims to be relevant for many years; pretty much synonymous with “academic”

Middle brow – mixes theory with practical information; intended to be both useful and entertaining; aims to be relevant for a while, but not necessarily “for the ages”; pretty much synonymous with “for a general readership”

Low brow – intended to be primarily entertaining, immediately gratifying; if it involves theory, it’s not the kind of theory you’d want to rely on as you go into surgery or blast off on a Mars mission; aims to be relevant in the immediate time period only.
Am I way off base? My head too high up in the elitist clouds? Lack of oxygen blinding me to my obvious superiority complex?


Happy Holidays from Chelsea Green Publishing!

Today we kick off our Holiday Sale — with 35% off every purchase at our online bookstore. Simply use the code CGS16 at checkout from now until the end of the year. Along with this great discount, we are offering free shipping on any order over $100*. Are there homesteaders or organic gardeners on your […] Read More

You won’t have a revolution if you don’t ask for one. So, what are you waiting for?

Get ready for the era of Big Organizing. In Rules for Revolutionaries, authors Becky Bond and Zack Exley lay out the 22 Rules the fueled the Bernie Sanders campaign and which provide a way forward for activists looking for ways to move forward post-Election Day. This model, which the authors call “Big Organizing” is the […] Read More

Author Nicolette Hahn Niman to Speak at Nobel Dialogue on the Future of Food

What does a former environmental lawyer and vegetarian turned cattle rancher have in common with Bob Dylan? They’ll both be — theoretically — in Stockholm in December during the Nobel Prize ceremonies. That’s right – Chelsea Green author Nicolette Hahn Niman will be one of several global opinion leaders and experts taking part in this […] Read More

We Got Trump-ed. Now What?

As the country braces for a Trump presidency, this post-election playbook points the way forward. “We can win — but only if we continue to develop the kinds of tactics, tools, and vision laid out in this vitally important book, perhaps the first to explore how to organize at the true scale of the crises […] Read More

“Rules for Revolutionaries” Offers New Political Playbook for Activists

A riveting behind-the-scenes look at the “rules” used by the “revolutionaries” who helped harness the volunteer power that fueled Bernie Sanders’ historic, and insurgent, presidential campaign. Authors Becky Bond and Zack Exley led the Sanders campaign’s efforts to recruit and engage volunteers at an unprecedented level, which was crucial to the Vermont senator capturing 46 […] Read More
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