Or, a lowbrow’s guide to high culture.

Bela Bartok, print by Bruce Spevak

Bela Bartok, print by Bruce Spevak

The 21st Century offers no excuse for Kenny Chesney “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” singalongs over boxed wine on the deck, a Danielle Steele novel on the coffee table, Thomas Kinkade paintings in the living room and a cardboard bucket of soggy-skinned chicken fried by some alleged Kentucky military icon. Attention 21st Century Renaissance Men: Do not be intimidated by the Food Network, and the daily drumbeat of TV commercials insisting that a four-hour erection is a bad thing. After you’re dead, you will be judged only by how well you smoke a salmon. Your first assignment: Buy a Bela Bartok CD. Your second: Go to the Argentinian section of the wine store.

Your third assignment: Read these:

Questions and Answers with Jeff

Q: TV is cool. Am I a dork?

A: Yes. Henry Miller says so: “Develop an interest in life as you see it; the people, things, literature, music. The world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people.”

Q: What are your favorite magazines?

A: The New Yorker. The Skeptical Enquirer. The Fortean Times. Anything describing the survival techniques, or selling the equipment, of Japanese soldiers who were unaware that World War II had ended, and remained hidden on jungle islands for decades.