Snob Appeal

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Most people are snobs. We all like to think we know best about some area of life – wine, music, food, fashion. Some people are even snobby about not being snobs. You know them. They are aggressively regular “(wo)man of the people” types.

I am a snob in a couple of areas. One is literature. I cannot read a book, however thrilling, if the writing is poor. I have tried to get on the bandwagon of some immensely popular bestsellers but could not get past the substandard writing style. Yet I am far from the worst literary snob I know. I know people who refuse to read any book on the Oprah’s Book Club list, for example.

I’ve also met many wine snobs. They have opinions on everything from certain vintages to storage to serving temperature to appropriate glasses for drinking. Yet when I read articles by wine experts, I find that many of the wine snobs’ opinions are wrong, or at least debatable. In fact, many studies have shown that even the most respected experts often can’t tell a prestigious wine from a $10 bargain brand.

Along with wine comes food, and being a foodie has become something of an art form in America. The prevalence of televised cooking competitions, the fame of chefs in big cities across the country, and the sheer number of upscale restaurants all speak to this tendency to take food a little too seriously. I enjoyed the animated movie Ratatouille because I loved imagining the looks on these food snobs’ faces when they realized a rat was doing the cooking.

Film aficionados, music buffs, fashion mavens – all spout their lists of preferences as if they were inspired by God Himself. I am fine with people having their opinions. After all, the purpose of these blog posts is to express mine. I just don’t like the implication that if my taste in something is different from yours, that means that it is bad.

I especially dislike the snobbery of “it’s so bad it’s good.” These are people who proudly proclaim their preference for cheesy B movies, corny old television shows, and cloying pop music. It feels slightly defensive, as if they are insulating themselves against criticism by being defiantly tacky.

It would be nice if we could all just enjoy our pastimes in peace without anyone sitting in judgment on them. But human nature being what it is, we will probably never live in such a world. So if you have negative thoughts about what I am eating, drinking, wearing, or watching, please keep them to yourselves.

In turn, I won’t say a word about that trashy novel you’re reading!

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