Tuesday, August 02, 2011


All of us are snobs about something. Coffee. Art. Theology. Cars. Philosophy. Animals. Wine. Fashion. Music. Fitness. Film.

Of course, what makes us a snob is insider information. We know more about this or that, join forces with the like-minded, and sneer at the ignorance of the masses. These exclusive clubs claim members but no membership, barriers without walls, an identity without prejudice, a cause but no agenda.

The pretense of our snobbery sanctions ridicule--yet holds in contempt any who would disagree. I see this as self-help therapy; acting like snobs makes us feel better ourselves--at least we are right about something.

I can't help but wonder if the ever-rising need to be a snob is partly due to the lack of moorings--what, for lack of a better word, is commonly called "tradition." If I know who I am (and whose I am), then I've got very little to prove.

So, here I go: I drink canned coffee. We have one picture of Thomas Kincade's "art" in our home. I listen to pop music. And, wait for it . . . (here's my cardinal sin) I don't care for most indy films.

I'm ready to take your abuse, you snobs.


Darryl Schafer said...

Where's the line between being a snob and being in community? I struggle with this. You've said before that provincialism reigns -- how can we (read: I) move beyond that?

And as a spelling snob, I must point out that you misspelled "Kinkade." ;-)

Anonymous said...

Perhaps, this is a part of the identity crisis of my generation. We want to belong to something without attaching ourselves to the dogmas of any long lasting "tradition." We can separate ourselves based on coffee preference because there is something harmless in it. And it's easier than saying you are too poor to drink Starbucks, therefore I won't hang out with you.

This allows the "right kind of people" to be with others like them and still assuage their guilt about thinking they are the "right kind of person."

Anonymous said...

also, I drink Starbucks. I get it whole bean and grind it myself when I can.

This is one of the many areas where I show my snobbery.

matt gallion said...

I think it definitely has something to do with insecurity and identity. People, particularly people in the Western world where I assume most snobs and hipsters reside, are incredibly concerned with uniqueness and with preference because we have the time and luxury to do so. I think the cure is not only connection with others, both historical and contemporarily, but also a healthy dose of self-awareness. Until we can sit comfortably those things and those parts of ourselves that make us insecure, we may be perpetually enslaved to them.