Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Favorite Scandinavian Country?

Lowbrow Answer: Sweden
Sweden is like "Donnie Darko" or "Mullholland Drive:" Everyone tells you it's amazing, but nobody can give you a concrete reason why.

And have you ever been to IKEA? Sure, the cutlery is chrome and the furniture has weird names like "Blagendorf" or "Spelunkson," but the aisles are teeming with unkempt masses and the store sells hot dogs for fifty cents. Hot Dogs for fifty cents is decidedly lowbrow. ANYTHING for fifty cents, in fact, is decidedly lowbrow.

Middlebrow Answer: Iceland
Upside: Bjork and Sigur Ros live here.
Downside: The country is so poor that it's sinking back into the Ocean.

And yeah, I get it. "Iceland is green and Greenland is ice." Clever.

Highbrow Answer: Norway
I have one (strange) word for you: Svalbard. It's a large island up in the Artic Circle that is a sovereign territory of Norway and it's the most magical place on earth. A few fun facts: Getting citizenship requires only that you can support yourself. It has the northern-most occupied city in the world. The largest cause of death on the island is polar bears.

What? You're wondering what a polar bear from Svalbard looks like? Just rent "The Golden Compass" and look for the massive, white bears. They'll be the big white things wearing war armor and kicking ass.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Best Position in Football?

Lowbrow Answer: Quarterback
The guy spends the whole game with his hands in some fat dude's butt while a man in a skybox tells him what to do through his little radio helmet. Accepting advice from some dude in the heavens? Sounds like religion to me: Low. Brow.

And when the other team hits him, he's "sacked?" Hmm, where have I've heard that term before. Oh right, it's when I slap my nuts on somebody's forehead while they're asleep. Feel the wrath of my teabagging, Tom Brady!

Middlebrow Answer: Safety
The safety has to have the speed of wide receiver and the aggressiveness of a linebacker. Needless to say, he's a skilled and versatile tradesman. He's like a 16th century plumber: He's not running the city, but shit would get bad without him.

That being said, he still has to chase other dudes around all day and, if he's playing against somebody good, will often get beat like he stole something. The upper class does not get beat publicly. They do it privately, and it's administered by a mistress.

Highbrow Answer: Field Goal Kicker
When the game is on the line and you need a few points to win, who are you going to trust? The backs? The wide receivers? No, you're going to call this guy. Because he's precise and he's got nerves of steel. Everyone else does all the work to set him up, and he just hammers it home. Sounds pretty typically highbrow to me.

And he doesn't get tackled because he's too good for that shit. He doesn't want his uniform to be sullied by the proles. Classy.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Best Founding Father?

Lowbrow Answer: George Washington
"Father, I Cannot Tell a Lie?" Boooooring. Nobody likes a suck up. Your father should have spanked you for being such a kiss-ass, George. And hey, why don't you get down off the front of that boat and actually help row across the Delaware instead of standing there like an idiot.

And you're on the dollar bill? Big deal. The only people who even use dollar bills anymore are students, who roll them up and snort Ritalin through them so that they can stay up late writing papers about YOU. Bastard.

Middlebrow Answer: Benedict Arnold
Benedict probably would have been a founding father if he hadn't switched sides halfway through. And while choosing him does reach the same level of irony as say, thinking that Matthew Barney is the best living artist today, Arnold was, at the end of the day, sort of a douche.

One of the best generals in the war and possessing a love of literature, he's like one of those kids who writes poetry but is also a state-champion wrestler. And those kids are cool, but, not THAT cool.

Highbrow Answer: Ethan Allen
Most people don't even really know who this guy is. If you're one of those people, I'll make it simple for you. He was a LUNATIC. An AWESOME lunatic. He lead a bunch of hicks from the backwoods of Vermont to take Fort Ticonderoga at the start of the war. Then he was captured by the British, spent some time in jail eating nails to scare his guards (that's actually true), and came home again.

And during all the fighting and craziness, he had time to write propaganda pamphlets about the freedom of men and the necessary independence of Americans that cited Locke and Hobbes, among others. Say it with me now: Bad. Ass.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Best Comic Strip?

Lowbrow Answer: Peanuts
Yeah, we get it, she pulls the football out from under him before he can kick it. Spare me. Reading Peanuts is like babysitting without the under-the-table payment afterward. I don't like hanging out with idiot children in my actual life, so why would I spend my free time reading about it?

And what's with all the adults talking like muted trumpets? Was there something in that town's water supply in the 1950's? Can you say, "Mercury Poisoning?"

Middlebrow Answer: Calvin and Hobbes
This comic isn't as amazing as you think it is. Sure, the main characters are named after famous philosophers and yeah, some of the storylines deal with such topics as art history, masculinity, and totalitarianism. Don't forget, however, that some of the OTHER storylines deal with such topics as bubble gum, homework, and superheroes in underpants.

At the end of the day, it's a little blond kid and his stuffed tiger. And for every strip that discusses the dialectic of pop culture, there's another that discusses how happy drinking hot chocolate makes you after playing in the snow.

Highbrow Answer: Zippy the Pinhead
What the hell is going on in this this comic? When I first read the strips back in 1994, I didn't understand HALF of what was happening. I just re-read a few to jog my memory and I still don't understand it 15 years later. All I know is that a weird pinhead dude with a bow in his hair walking through landscapes that seem to change at his whim and babbling incoherently about anything he can think of reminds me of only ONE other guy.

That's right: Henry Miller. And he was High. Fucking. Brow.

Favorite Radiohead Song?

Lowbrow Answer: Creep
Gag me. I love Radiohead more than most, but even I skip this song when it comes on. I'm pretty sure the band does too. There's nothing worse than going to a show and standing next to some rich asshole from New Jersey who's wearing an Izod polo, Vineyard Vine pants with whales on them, and docksiders, and who's singing "I wish I were special" at the top of his lungs.

You are special, pal, just not in the way that you think.

Middlebrow Answer: Idioteque
It's blippy, there aren't any guitars, and it's on Kid A. Three points for you right there. And yeah, it's pretty intense when Yorke screams "the fathers leave their children" over and over again at the end of the song. Although, I do seem to recall him doing the same thing with the phrase "the raindrops" at the end of "Sit Down, Stand Up." Minus one on the uniqueness chart.

What really keeps Idioteque from acheiving true highbrow status is that you can dance to it. Dancing is for horny teenagers and drunken coporate secretaries at Christmas parties. The ruling elite don't dance. And if they do, they waltz. With contempt.

Highbrow Answer: Life in a Glass House
Two words for you: Humphrey Lyttelton. You may not be old enough yet to know that haggared jazz musicians playing improvised trumpet lines is the coolest shit ever, but you will be someday. Just wait.

Anything atonal or arrythmic automatically qualifies as highbrow, so full points to the band on that one. Be sure to check out Krzysztof Penderecki if you like Life in a Glass House. He's one of Jonny Greenwood's favorite composers. His stuff is barely listenable, so you know it's high class.