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Instructive Snobbery


We like to call ourselves “snobs.” We like to do this because it implies that we have discerning tastes–in music, in movies, in whatever one snobs out to. Snobbery at its worst is pompous, idiotic hyperbole. At its best, it’s instructive. I wish everyone would get into instructive snobbery.

My son found out this dandelion likes the movie "Sideways" and is expressing his displeasure. This is not instructive snobbery.

One of my favorite things in the world is talking to people about music, television, film. I find that when ego takes a back seat to know-it-all-ness, everyone can learn. A lot.

I’ve had conversations where–when you weed out the ego and the bluster–you can learn things you didn’t know you need to learn. It’s amazingly satisfying.

Before I was  rich and famous front-pager, I remember a conversation at this very blog where I expressed dismay about the tenor of some comments (relating to film). A big pet peeve of mine is when people adopt the mantle of weary expert when discussing a song or a film or…whatever. Someone–being deliberately obtuse–objected by saying I basically only wanted people to add and “In my opinion” to every opinion they offered. Now, obviously, when I complained about the tenor I wasn’t talking about just this convenient little prefix. But, you know what? If you want to be deliberately obtuse, we can play that game.

Yes, whenever you start to express an opinion about anything pop-culture-related you should preface it with an “IMO.” That too difficult for you? Well, how about this? How about entering into a conversation with an open mind and heart? How about entering into any conversation knowing that YOU ARE NOT AN EXPERT and that you may learn something from people who have a different perspective? I’ve always done this, and I have to tell you, it’s been amazingly instructive.

There’s good snobbery and bad snobbery. I think good snobbery says “Hey, this thing is awesome. Here’s why. I want you bring you around to why I think this, but it’s ok if I can’t.” Bad snobbery is “This thing sucks and you’re an asshole if you think otherwise.” I don’t know why you would push people away when you could be exchanging ideas with them, or even teaching them.

UPDATE: I was remembering my post about “Django Unchained” when I wrote this. There were a handful of really jerky comments…but most of them weren’t, and the ones that weren’t made me think and reconsider some of my opinions. I always appreciate getting a fresh perspective on stuff. THAT’S what good conversation can do.

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