masscult and midcult– Dwight McDonald, in 1960, wrote a critique, Masscult and Midcult, on Middle Brow culture which, according to him, rose with the advance of mass production and industrialization. The specialization of craft and folk art was replaced by anonymous consumerism. Mid cult aspires to embody High Brow culture and “pretends to respect the standards of high culture while in fact it waters them down and vulgarizes them.”
multiverse– From The Guardian article, published on November 21, 2009 by Michael Moorcock, “I’m writing the new Dr. Who.” Moorcock will be writing a novel based on Dr. Who, and he explains his approach to the story:
[multiverse] a term I invented (or reinvented, since I wasn’t originally aware that William James coined it to describe the many worlds our minds inhabit) in 1962, for a near-infinite system of parallel worlds in which subtly different versions of our own universe exist simultaneously. The term caught on well enough to be used for a variety of purposes in popular fiction and theoretical physics and was incorporated into the lexicon of Doctor Who. There’s nothing unusual in this. Terry Pratchett said generic fiction is a big pot from which one takes a bit and adds a bit. I’m flattered that some of my ingredients became staples, but it’s always a pleasure to use what was once a private vocabulary in another medium.
For the scientific skinny on multiverses, check out NPR’s quick segment, “Landscaping the Cosmic Garden” by Marcelo Gleiser, published June 22, 2011.
mythopoeia– the narrative genre and the act of creating a modern mythology or mythologies. JRR Tollkien, CS Lewis, J.K. Rowling, G.R.R. Martin among other notable writers, poets, and screenwriters practice the art of mythology-making or mythopoeia. Tolkien wrote a poem about this art to his friend C.S. Lewis, “To one [C.S. Lewis] who said that myths were lies and therefore worthless, even though ‘breathed through silver’. Philomythus to Misomythus”