I’m a snob, and so are you.
Ow! Quit hittin’ me! Makin’ a point here!
In the specific definition I have in mind, a snob is a person who feels and acts smugly superior about his or her particular tastes or interests.
I’m not talking about people who treat others as social inferiors because of their class or race. That is the sport of vertical snobbery, which requires pitons, crampons and a sharp ice axe.
Snobbery of taste is universal. We dislike having to own up to the smug part of the equation, but, let’s face it, very few escape the smugness. Even monks are smug. Come on, they’re monks. They are superior to you and your silly iPhone, and they know it.
The spectrum of snobbery is broad. There are stealth snobs (like me) who think they are getting away with it.
I think terribly snobby thoughts all day long. I think my dog, Bob Johnson, is the best dog in the world. I think Bob Johnson is better than your dog, even when he’s digging a new mine shaft or removing big bites of insulation from under the house and creating a cotton-candy wonderland in the back yard.
“You mutt nut!” I say. Then I scratch his ears.
Sometimes I point to the afflicted area and say, “No, no, no. Not for puppy.” This makes Bob Johnson smile his million-dollar smile, just like a professional TV dog or the glam dog on the dog-food bag. Then I scratch his ears. Best dog ever!
Then you have snobs who are proud of it. This can be lovable or annoying. Snobs with wit and flair are vastly preferable to boring snobs, of course.
My youngest brother is a lovable snob. He is a man of wit and flair, a good man. Perhaps because he’s always been the baby in the family, we do not attack him with brooms when he launches into one of his perfectly calibrated lectures on, well, any topic that can be voiced with human speech.
I have benefited from my brother’s snobbery. I trust his brand. It’s infuriating, but he’s right about most things: books, bands, clothes, cars, computers, wine, food, restaurants and so on.
He is the master of the exasperated sigh. In my case, the sigh means, “You really are a dumb hillbilly.” Then he tells me the best way to do whatever it is I’m doing. And he’s absolutely correct 99 percent of the time. Blast!
Boring snobs fascinate me too. They have no idea they are rude, vapid consumer-monkeys.
Thank you for your patience. I can now move on to my primary theme: Britney Spears.
Britney Spears is a pop star. She was born December 2, 1981, and, if you need any more background than that, you are probably some kind of genius. (If you don’t know who Britney Spears is, I am in awe of you. I will follow you on Twitter.)
Until recently, I coexisted peacefully with Britney. I did not bother her, and she did not bother me.
In fact, I rather liked the idea of Britney. Small-town girl, loads of moxie. Gets a big break with Disney, and, still a teenager, uses her success as a springboard to mega-celebrity and riches. Even the horrible tabloid stuff that spilled out over the years I found endearing.
I’m a musician. I was once a full-time working musician. I didn’t get rich, but it beat the heck out of driving a forklift or cold-calling heating and air-conditioning contractors.
Few who have ever played four sets a night for the rent are music snobs.
I was at the supermarket checkout and the guy in line behind me had on a t-shirt that said Give opera a chance.
“I like that shirt,” I said. I don’t like opera much, or polkas, but the shirt was funny.
“Thanks, man,” he said.
Yes, let’s give opera a chance, I thought. Why not? The guy was probably an opera singer. He had a beard, kind of a Pavarotti thing. He was clearly going all-out for opera, and good for him!
Out of the blue, I received a mix CD (let’s just say I have friends) featuring songs from Britney’s last three albums, which have received four- and five-star reviews in serious publications. I’m talking about the kind of critical respect usually reserved for an Arcade Fire or an Alicia Keys.
Do I fully comprehend the unit-shifting awesomeness of Britney? No, I cannot honestly say I do.
Again, I think it’s a great concept. There’s no reason to be mean to Britney. Lord knows she’s barely holding things together. She’s been staying in her lane, keeping her head down, but any day now she’s going to get really fed up with this Bieber person’s Q Score.
Then she will attack Gwyneth Paltrow with a duck on a spit.
Britney will release many more well-reviewed albums and eventually become Martha Stewart’s co-host or a U.S. senator.
In the near future, Britney will no longer have to spend long, arduous hours in the vocal booth, breathing heavily into a phase vocoder.
The producers will simply be given a sample of Britney’s DNA, and the machines will do the rest.
Don’t be a snob. Give genes a chance.
While there are many excellent recordings of “Yummy Yummy Yummy,” John Hicks prefers the original 1968 version by Ohio Express.
Would quoting Car Talk make me a snob?
Jimmy, I listen to Car Talk just about every Saturday morning. So, in my opinion, the answer is no, quoting Car Talk would not make you a snob.
First of all, greate piece. Well done.
“Few who have ever played four sets a night for the rent are music snobs.”
Really? I know a couple and a random “Hey Britney ain’t that bad, give her a chance, don’t judge” comment might seriously put one’s credibility on the line.
She was young, she was hot, ahd sang a cute song, she was from Kentwood. Check.
For 5 minutes.
But while those have ever played one or more sets for the rent, those with real TALENT, labor for cash on the barrel, some jerk producer who doesn’t give a hair off a rat’s ass about talent or hard work takes a desperate young person, throws them in front of a mic and autoharmonizer and proceeds to sell the hell out of them like a slab of meat until the kid is crazy and broke, leaving a population filled with autotuned melodies which are all the same melody really crowding out every semblance of interest or ability for appreciation of the real thing right out of our cultcha.
Excellent points, Sobieski. I’d definitely amend that sentence about most working musicians not being snobs. I think what I should have said is that many working musicians are so glad to have a gig they’ll play just about anything!
Psst. John Hicks likes Kiss. Pass it on.
Damn you, Bob Hudson.
And it’s KISS. All caps. Always.
If y’all don’t like pop music, and think pop music fans are dolts, just say it in 9 words and leave it alone.
It’s too bad, but I can’t fucking save everyone from themselves.
Britney. Elvis. Dylan. Madonna. Abba. Sabbath.
If folks can’t get on board with this, then I just want to die in a ditch.
I can’t tell you how unhappy this post has made me. I’m in the middle of Canada visiting family with a 24 hour drive ahead of me.
I’m just going to ride for the next couple of days and spend my time wondering if anything is worth anything if I can’t make Hicks love Britney. I don’t know why I’d even go on if I couldn’t.
I just ate four pieces of pie.
“Britney. Elvis. Dylan. Madonna. Abba. Sabbath.”
That’s an interesting pantheon. Goes to my point. No accounting for taste. We like what we like.
“Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae.”