I used to love riding the subway because it gave me time to read the newspaper every morning. About 50 percent of my free time in college was spent at a place called JavaNet, where I sat with my best friends talking for hours and hours about the issues of the day. Working as a reporter and network news producer, I was paid to consume and cover the biggest stories. Then I became a mom, and I quickly realized there was no way to get my news fix. I didn’t have time to filter and find the really great pieces. We are bombarded with noise disguised as news everyday. What I needed was someone to say, “here are the best stories of the week, they’re prioritized for you, so if you only have time for one story this week, here you go. If you can read all ten, well even better.”
I’ve been struck by how many smart women I meet who are completely removed from their worlds. They’ve become disengaged because of time restrictions. This often leads to feelings of isolation. The further removed they become the harder it is to re-emerge.
Sometimes this corrects itself, other times it gets worse, until the woman feels stupid asking questions like, “who’s running for President,” or “what’s the difference between Isis, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, and Al-Shabaab?” She doesn’t want to be perceived as ignorant, so she quietly retreats further. This disenfranchised state is dangerous to her, to her children and to our world.
We want all women reading, watching and feeling engaged in their world. We want moms who can explain the political process to their children and empower their children to ask question. We don’t want apathy in our female population. We want passion!
When groups like Boko Haram specifically target girls in school, it’s because they know if you prevent girls from learning or scare parents from educating their daughters you will have a much more passive, easy to control society. We are lucky to have access to information and education. We need to help each other stay informed as a measure of protecting our families and our democracy. If you don’t know what’s going on, you cannot make a valuable contribution.
I’ve always found my favorite people shift topics in a natural fashion from highbrow to lowbrow and back again. Sometimes we are most interested in the absurd life of a celebrity, which gives our busy heads a break from the usual stress. Other times, we we’re insatiable about a political decision, a social injustice or a scientific discovery. These interests are not in conflict. They are congruent in a well rounded person.
Some of our favorite highbrow-lowbrowers explain how Highbrow and Lowbrow compliment each other, whereas there is no place for Middlebrow:
Virginia Wolff in a letter to the Statesmen explains: “We are told — the air buzzes with it by night, the press booms with it by day, the very donkeys in the fields do nothing but bray it, the very curs in the streets do nothing but bark it — ‘Highbrows hate lowbrows! Lowbrows hate highbrows!’ — when highbrows need lowbrows, when lowbrows need highbrows, when they cannot exist apart, when one is the complement and other side of the other!”
Nassim Taleb, a great thinker of our time, implores great highbrow-lowbrow sensibility, as he explains in his book “The Black Swan”:
“Do crazy things (break furniture once in a while), like the Greeks during the later stages of a drinking symposium, and stay ‘rational’ in the larger decisions. Trashy gossip magazines and classics or sophisticated works; never middlebrow stuff. Talk to either undergraduate students, cab drivers, and gardeners or the highest caliber scholars; never to middling-but-cared-conscious academics.”
On highbrowlowbrow.com, we pick the 5 best stories of the week, from thousands our editors have read, watched and surfed. We also suggest two longer stories, for those interested and those with the time.
Our opinion section will feature ideas relevant to the weeks news and to our audience.
The News Not Noise broadcast will feature interviews with experts and interesting people on topics of the week. We’ll discuss the 5 stories we’ve picked as well as ideas of interest to our guests.
The goal is to make the news “accessible,” in that it’s filtered to save you time, not that it’s dumbed down. We want you to know your world and enjoy learning more about what’s happen out there.