Middlebrow never makes you feel stupid, or pretentious — it’s the sensible choice. Middlebrow is something that both your parents and your children can understand. It doesn’t alienate anyone.
I don't understand this article at all. Why is it sensible for adults to have the same cultural interests as children? I don't think I know what is meant by 'middlebrow'.
Everyone has felt stupid in front of great art at some point. There are two possible reactions: go away and think about it, learn about it, find people who are inspired by it and discuss it with them; or be lazy and accept that the artwork is "too difficult". The Mail doesn't like laziness when it comes to working, but for non-productive purposes it's "sensible" not to make any kind of mental effort at all.
I haven't read the Da Vinci code
, but I'm sure it wouldn't be anyone's favourite book if they tried more than two or three novels a year. Of course, people are busy, but if you have friends that discuss reading, they're not going to find your contribution all that stimulating unless you're very articulate in your defence of Dan Brown. It's quite okay not to read novels if you don't want to; but in that case please don't bore everyone senseless with your critique of literature.
Oxford-educated Miranda sounds like an awful bore (if she's not made up). I'd rather discuss the weather than listen to someone going on about a film she hasn't seen.