Thursday, February 26, 2009

Am I a snob?

Recently, over beers after class, a fellow Emerson student confessed that he had been worried when he'd first met me and realized that we had a class together. This was because he had heard, from another writer in our program, that I was a snob. Now that he knew me, he said he did not find this to be true, which is why he felt comfortable telling me this in the first place.

Of course, whenever one hears something negative about oneself through the grapevine, it's important to consider the source. The person who said I was a snob turned out to be a girl I met briefly during orientation. We were grouped together for an icebreaker activity. I don't remember much about orientation, so the details of our interaction are a little blurry, but I think we discussed reasons for getting our MFAs. Since my plans are kind of vague (it's not like I showed up with a specific book in mind to write), I don't know how I could have come off as snobby.

But maybe the question merits consideration. Maybe I am a snob.

The definition of snob, according to Webster's (10th edition) is "one who tends to rebuff, avoid, or ignore those regarded as inferior; one who has an offensive air of superiority in matters of knowledge or taste."

Hmmm. What this definition fails to account for is the possibility that "those regarded as inferior" actually ARE inferior. Just kidding. If I were snob, that would obviously be my response.

I confess that I am a book snob. I don't read books about boy wizards or horny vampires. The Da Vinci Code? Bitch, please. But given that I get paid to write book reviews, I think some snobbery in this arena is acceptable, if not downright necessary. But yes, I will judge you if your favorite book is Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. And I hope Mitch Albom is one of the five people I meet in heaven, so I can punch him in the face.

I wish I were more of a wine snob, but in actuality, I'm more like this guy:

I talk a big talk with the wine guy at my local liquor store ("I'm looking for a young California pinot, something fruit-forward"), but I'll drink anything. I just think it would be cool to be a wine expert. But I love wine, even when it comes in a box or a jug.

I'm definitely not a music snob. I am the first to admit that I have pretty uncool taste in music. I love music, but I get equal pleasure from Rufus Wainwright and Rihanna, Britney and Bach (all of whom are on my iPod). I like showtunes, I like shitty pop, I like opera, I like Journey. So I don't think I have an "offensive air of superiority" when it comes to music. Ditto with film. I like movies, but don't really have a critical eye for them. If popcorn and Milk Duds are involved, I'll probably have a good time.

My dilemma now is this: I want to prove to this girl that I'm not a snob, but I don't know how to do it. First impressions are hard to undo. I also want to call her out on talking about someone she barely knows. I mean, that's rude. I wouldn't do that. I guess you could say I'm above that kind of behavior.

Oh shit.


Brad Urani said...

When I see someone botch an easy yo-yo trick, I definately scoff and regard them as inferior. Does that make me a snob?

Jonathan Lehman said...

Spending Valentine's day at Myron and Phil's means you're definitely not a snob... but were we doing it ironically? If so, then the jury's still out.