3 A.M. BOOK REVIEWS
2 of 2
Rather than to take the easy way out and to categorize Nobrow as a book set only to inform about the next wave of what Toffler termed "A Culture of Transience" and, by informing on the phenomena, lending its ipso-facto support, I believe Nobrow to hold a dual purpose... to both inform one about what Nobrow is and at the same time to allow one to place themselves in the majority or in the niche market of the highbrow system. Seabrook's style is so rich with anecdotes that reading Nobrow becomes a highly personal experience. Draw your opinions on whether Seabrook's tugging on your emotional pursestrings is creativity or kitsch, but Seabrook's personalization of realizing Nobrow as the prevalent system of today's society makes Nobrow an immensely personalized read. His story becomes, to a degree, your story. And, when you reach the end and find Seabrook outside of the emptied building of highbrow society (specifically, when the New Yorker switches offices into Times Square), your choice to pity the society that moved the New Yorker or to pity the New Yorker for having had to move into the buzzland proves to be a barometer as to whether you are a true denizen of Nobrow.
Being a Nobrow critic (a job that many would think an oxy-moron), I have personally placed myself upon the opposite side of the Nobrow divide as Seabrook, but Seabrook's prose is so damn charismatic that I cannot help but feel a degree of guilt for the prevalence of Nobrow. And perhaps this is exactly what makes "Nobrow" all the more important.
Regardless of what end of the spectrum one places themself on, "Nobrow" has the ability to appeal itself to the elitists of Highbrow and the denizens of Nobrow alike, while at the same time promoting a mutual understanding of the debate over Nobrow and inserting a definitive social consciousness for the middle children of Nobrow, who, like Seabrook, are left out in the cold as the dust settles over the remains of the townhouse. And if that kind of thought-provoking cannon fodder isn't what a philosophy book should be, than what is?
James Brundage has been a freelance writer and film critic since 1995. He has lost count of how many movies he has seen. One of the only writers to only receive payment for online work, James has been working for online publications since 1997. He is now something of an Internet guru, running the electronica band "Godard is Dead" off of MP3.com, managing the electronic syndication group Hypocritical Syndication, being one of the most popular film reviewers on Epinions, and running the fledgling Flash 4 website design company Unfinished Productions. He is also editor-in-chief of Short Stuff, a short film reviews site. He attends Kent State University.
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