"Neither highbrows nor lowbrows nor midbrows, but elastic-brows.” — George Orwell
Categories: HiLo Heroes, Movies | 1 Comment
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His role as Harold made him an icon: flattened, but illuminated and sacred.

Charlotte Rampling in The Night Porterrampling thumb

Her steely eroticism lent a sense of refinement to depraved encounters.

Categories: About Josh, Kudos | 1 Comment
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A living superman shuffles off this mortal coil.

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c. 1925: Louise Brooks

A dancer by training, and an iconoclast by nature.


Do despots’ statues command us to topple them?

Categories: Browbeating | 11 Comments

Catherine Yrowonde’s Lucky Mojo cornucopia.

Categories: Haw-Haw, Kudos, Semiotics | 3 Comments

Earn the second HiLobrow merit badge: Pipe Dreams.

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She asked what we wanted, & all we said was “more.”

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When the myth cracked, the man showed through.

Categories: HiLo Heroes, Sci-Fi | 1 Comment

Shatner the actor figured out how to gain creative leverage on Shatner the icon.


Chess sets, and Scrabble, certainly. But not Battleship, Mastermind, Risk, Monopoly, Clue? Bicycles, and pipes (the kind you smoke). But not skateboards or cigarettes, muscle cars or cigars? Teapots and typewriters. But not coffeepots or fountain pens? Books. But not LPs?

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Star-spangled motorcycle daredevil EVEL KNIEVEL (1938 –2007) showed the world you can be fearless and self-destructive and — if you understand hype — become an American icon. He stole his first bike. He jumped a crate of rattlesnakes, fourteen buses, fifty stacked cars, broke thirty-eight bones. He jumped the fountains at Caesar’s Palace, crash-landing into […]

Categories: Uncanny | 3 Comments

WHAT DO YOU think it means? The New York Times reported yesterday that some psychologists were feeling panicky about physician James Heilman’s decision to upload the canonical Rorschach inkblots to Wikipedia along with their most-frequently assigned descriptions. Apparently, some practicioners fear that patients will use the information to game the test, which typically is performed […]

Categories: Codebreaking | 2 Comments
Don't let the skateboard fool you! Not an Xer.Don't let the skateboard fool you! Not an Xer.

Earlier this week, Boston Globe columnist Alex Beam gave my generational periodization scheme a shout-out. Beam writes: Glenn has devoted considerable time — too much time, frankly — to slicing up the post World War II generations not as the Census Bureau does but into narrower, more meaningful tranches. For instance, he eschews the media-generated […]

Categories: HiLo Heroes, Movies | 1 Comment

An icon as much for her chin line and Ivy League drawl (which possibly she made up; they certainly didn’t talk like that at Cornell!), KATHARINE HEPBURN (1907-2003) was a strong and independent woman, perhaps even more so than the ones she portrayed onscreen. My favorite roles of hers are the screwball comedies like The […]

Categories: Art, Kudos, Spectacles, Utopia | 3 Comments

BORN IN 1900, German artist Gerd Arntz designed a pattern language for life in the twentieth century. His prints and designs were intended to further the purposes of a socialist world even as they dreamt it into being. A protege of Otto Neurath, Arntz labored in the febrile utopia of interwar Vienna before immigrating to […]


The French love anti-middlebrow American eccentrics.