Carl Wilson

The one bothersome matter in this anarchic taste universe (a utopia or dystopia, depending on your ideology, but one that cannot be wished away) is the persistence of a mainstream—what [Clement] Greenberg or his contemporary Dwight McDonald would have called “middlebrow” culture, the politely domineering realm where Celine Dion is queen, unattached to any validating subculture. Middlebrow is the new lowbrow—mainstream taste the only for taste for which you still have to say you’re sorry. And there, taste seems less an aesthetic question than, again, a social one: among the thousands of varieties of aesthetes and geeks and hobbyists, each with their special-ordered diet, the abiding mystery of mainstream culture is, “Who the hell are those people?”

— Let’s Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste