Despite all the blood-letting, the L.A. Times is still one of the most vital publishing institutions around. Lately, they've been running a series of fascinating articles about the meshing of highbrow and lowbrow culture. Check out these words of wisdom from Ann Powers about the music scribing profession and what much of our work comes down to:
"For all of its anti-authoritarianism, pop criticism remains, for most, a carefully scored game, rooted in hierarchical structures like best-of lists and star ratings. Its devotees may have followed the route of shamelessness into wide-open vistas, but they still feel compelled to push their own particular pleasures, guilty or otherwise, as the best. Some would say that's the duty of a critic. Others might suggest it's kind of macho. I think it's amusing, the way the process has created a new form of reproach -- shame on those who aren't shameless enough."
Also see Scott Timberg's Highbrow. Lowbrow. No Brow. No What? which is an interesting mediation on how the cultural divides are crumbling and how we're entering an age of post-'brow' culture. Timberg thanks the Beatles and mass media but don't also discount the effect of the Net which provides seemingly limitless info and ready access to all shades of arts.