Dyspeptic jeremiads and gaseous theologians

May 20, 2008 at 1:59 am (books, Eloquence)

I love the splendid locutions that occur with gratifying frequency in The Age of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby

Here they are in context.


“Americans would move toward a debased culture as generally accepted standards were defined downward; but it was Masscult, not Midcult, that triumphed. And the dyspepetic jeremiads of highbrows looking down on the bourgeois middle class had nothing to do with happened.

‘Masscult’ is mass culture; ‘Midcult’ is middlebrow culture. The quote is from the chapter entitled “Middlebrow Culture from Noon to Twilight.”


“The most aggravating result of the reign of rock was that everyone took it too seriously. Undeterred by the censorious grumbling of the cultural right, the gaseous theologians of the cultural left have long attempted to enshrine the music of the sixties counterculture–as id this particular pop manifestation possesses a mythical and philosophical significance raising it above the level of mere entertainment.

This passage is from the chapter entitled “Legacies: Youth Culture and Celebrity Culture.”

Susan Jacoby

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