I don’t usually think in terms of highbrow, middlebrow, and lowbrow, though I acknowledge those terms may mean something to others. (I also read a bit about “nobrow” recently, but that’s too far afield to discuss now.) For me, value comes more from instrinsic quality than from the category in which a cultural offering falls. It’s pure snobbery to believe that highbrow is by definition superior and lowbrow is slumming. My interests tend to skew toward high culture, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t also like aspects of low culture. On the fun scale, tastes vary widely, and so much for the better.
Earlier this summer, I did something I would never have guessed I would do: I went to see a car race. I’d watched a few on TV as a kid, but I really never had any interest in attending as an adult. (Similarly, I can’t imagine ever going to a rodeo.) A coworker attended last season and kept telling the stories again and again, saying that it was just too much fun and had to be seen to be believed. However, this wasn’t just any car race; it was CrashFest. The Illiana Motor Speedway has held this event for a few years, and it’s grown quite popular. The drivers were mostly amateurs and the cars were often in questionable condition. The night began with a few warm-up races, some of which were straight gags. For instance, the Toll Road Rage Race was memorable. Drivers had to deposit tokens in barrels on every lap; the winner had the most successful drops. Another race was done in reverse gear. The real attractions, though, were the Figure 8 Schoolbus Race and the Trailer Race.