American Go E-Journal

Your Move/Readers Write: More Thoughts on the High/Low Brow Matrix

Tuesday September 16, 2014

History is Not Offensive: “Regarding the ‘offensive’ qualities of the ‘Highbrow’ item (Your Move/Readers Write: High/Low Brow 2014.09.16_Patton_speaking_with_Lt._Col._Lyle_Bernard,_at_Brolo,_circa_1943Matrix Offensive 9/14 EJ), I’d like to rebut on behalf of the long-gone authors,” writes Peter St. John. “The thesis, which I believe was new in that era, is that appreciation of, and interest in, higher levels of abstraction is ‘high-brow’.  Go is more abstract than chess in the sense of being a level further removed from physical combat, the way Eisenhower immersed in logistics was a level removed from George Patton deploying tanks, who was several levels removed from the gunner pulling a trigger.” St. John also notes that “At the time of the article [1949] the only places to find go in America would be in the math and physics departments of universities. My dad learned, around that time, in a science laboratory from a mimeograph of a German article, because German scholars collaborated with Japanese scholars after the Russo-Japanese 2014.09.16_PoloHorsewar. I urge people not to be offended by history. We can learn from it, not in the sense of learning from an Authority but in the sense of learning from an Experience. The grid is a bit of history.”

Celebrating Progress: Noah Doss agrees, saying that the matrix “simply records historically the type of people who, in the time period observed in the matrix, were most fascinated with go.” He goes on to say that “Nowadays, go is not, in America, a game of the elite, but just because modern man has made some progress in quashing these societal imbalances in some respects doesn’t mean we need be offended by the fact that they once existed. I truly believe go is for everyone and, to be honest, if it was the way of polo or lacrosse in that everyone I met playing go had a trust fund, I would probably not love it so much, coming from a dirty farm town and an undersized stucco house. At a point in time, go was ‘highbrow’ but I think we should honor the fact that it used to be ‘highbrow’ and now we, as a society, have fixed that problem.”

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