In 1940 there were eight daily newspapers in New York, most of which employed full-time classical-music critics.
The amount of remedial education we would need to be able to even understand a newspaper article about classical music! And that was a country coming out of a deep Depression, where very few people went to college, much less graduate school. Yet it was a country where the "popular" culture included classical music, and a country where to be acceptably middle-class required a functional vocabulary in discussing serious art and music and, usually, required your children to take years of piano lessons. Amazing!
Of course, they didn't have TV and video games and the Internet. Hmmm... I wonder if there's a connection.