The general understanding of what’s profound and what’s shallow, proper and improper, cool and uncool will change, but the faculty of critical discrimination is never going to go away. Still, some of the edge has come off those distinctions. There has been a levelling of taste in both directions, down and up – a kind of Unibrowism. People have learned not to rule out any cultural experience in advance. They don’t have a problem with the idea that a television series might be as dramatically involving as a grand opera. It’s not that they think that these cultural forms are equally worthy as art, but they respond with less inhibition to the avant-garde.

Louis Menand, “Browbeaten,” The New Yorker (5 September 2011), 76.

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