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A symptom of being a middle-brow reader
james_nicoll
I don't mind hidden depths but I insist that there be a surface.

Pfeh. Bourgoise straightjackets like "surfaces" only hinder the true artiste in the epic quest to create perfectly obscure (and therefore perfectly ahhht) works of lit'rature.

-- Steve now feels an urge to wash his hands. (And use the mental floss.)

What, and put all those English Lit critics out of business?!

Who are these poor LitCrits SF fans like to pick on? Names, please.

I have a feeling they're the tenure-track jewels like the ones I had for sophomore English. And the creative writing professors who claim people who write SF/F aren't writing 'substantive' enough fiction to deserve a spot in their classes.

Let's allow a bit of room for those of us who have taught sf texts at the university level, please--especially sf outside of survey courses, when it isn't labeled such. (I put it into composition, which where I am isn't reserved for freshmen.)

Sure. And it's a shame that it seems to be so difficult to find English programs that are SF/F friendly.

The tenure-tracks I'm talking about are the ones where the grad students in the English Lab warn the students, "Go to the library and research her dissertation/papers. You'll find the points you need to make for a good grade in them."

For most of the people I've talked to, their experiences with English professors are the source of the belief our host is challenging. It does no good to demand names, because he wouldn't know 99% of them. They're pretty much unknown outside of their own universities, but they manage to convince the average freshman or sophomore that they are representative of some monolithic standard of Good Taste and High Art. When a group of people get together and discover that their English professors seem to have been near clones of each other, it's not much of a leap to conclude that there's something in the University culture that selects for those traits.

Oyster Girl said:

"The tenure-tracks I'm talking about are the ones where the
grad students in the English Lab warn the students, 'Go to the
library and research her dissertation/papers. You'll find the
points you need to make for a good grade in them.'"

I'm mildly weirded out by the fact that one can talk about an
"English Lab."  What sort of experiments does one conduct in
such a laboratory?  Finding the melting points of prepositions?

What sort of experiments does one conduct in such a laboratory? Finding the melting points of prepositions?

I think that would be more interesting.

I think the name came from the schedulers designating "lab periods" for classes that had no experimental component but that needed to make tutoring and extra Q&A time available. My engineering mechanics classes all had them.

During my most recent stint as a college student, the scope of services at the English Lab had expanded to include resume and cover letter critiques as well as essay and term paper help.

Does this count? I can't quite tell through the jargon.

-- Steve prefers his deconstruction in a more infernokrusher mode.

You know, that seems a fairly accurate analysis of Crash and its intent. I might have used shorter words myself, but I'm secure with my logophallocentric size.

I;m standing right behind you, feeling my middle brow. (Glad I'm not a high brow as I'd be bald, and a low brow might interfere with my glasses...)

But yeah.

With you all the way.

Also, Van Wyck Brooks, who invented the term "middle-brow", was my grandmother's step-brother.

Confession: I'm middle-brow too.

(Yes, there are hidden messages in all my novels. But "'s'a fun idea, innit?" is probably the commonest of them.)

.sigged

This is exactly what I mean when I refuse to re-read something I didn't enjoy the first time.

"You doan' got ta look too much below de surface if you got enough surface."
- CAJUN HOUSEHOLD WISDOM (rice farming country, please note)

Or, to quote a song whose provenance I cannot remember,
Deep inside, you're shallow:
Superficial to the core.
Beneath your surface, there's just more surface,
And beneath that ... even more ...

There's a peculiar sort of middle-brow in sf fandom that insists on exactly one hidden layer of meaning. Less than that feels shallow, and more than that leaves them with the uneasy feeling that they might be missing something (and hence not as smart as they like to think they are). This is an important swing demographic in Hugo nominations, which explains why Mike Resnick gets so many.