Tuesday, 30 July 2013

About Snobs: What is a Snob? Are we good Snobs?

The word Snob stems from the abbreviation S. Nob

Which stood for Sin Nobilidad, or 'Without Nobility'.

For what can one write on the name plate of someone who does not have any title? 

There you are, you have prepared your dinner table for all your important guests, the golden sign at each plate says 'The Duke of...', 'The Countess of...' and, what the heck, you've got a guest without any such title.

So someone came up with the beautiful Latin expression of Sin Nobilidad.

That happened in the 19th century, when, damn, industrialists could become so rich they could not be ignored at the soirĂ©es of the aristocracy. Or their money or political pull came in handy. 

So today the word 'Snob' stands for someone who wants to hang out with a higher circle then he or she actually belongs to. Or simply wants to transmit belonging to a higher class. That comes with its pitfalls. An aristocrat would rather drop dead than to be caught in a Ferrari. The motto is: silk in the house, jeans outside.

All that a typical over-the-top Snob achieves, when wrapping himself from head to toe in Versace, decorated in so much gold you can hear him approaching from 1 mile... is that he is seen as a gypsie. Or, worse, a nouvelle riche. In any case, the very last person to be ever invited by those who are born into privilege. 

They will invite an artist, support a struggling writer, be fascinated by a refugee or develop a friendship with a jazz musician... but a nouvelle riche, quel horreur!

One can ask the question: is it so wrong to be a snob?
We all aspire a better life, we are all longing for a better song, and we all know how difficult that is. So surrounding ourselves with role models is a great big help. 

And do not the philosophers keep reminding us: we are the average of the people we spend time with?  Doesn't that mean we should be cultural snobs, education snobs, sports snobs?

Even just a shirt of Versace or a golden watch is a signal to our brain reminding us we want to climb the ladder, or we have left behind poverty or a very humble background. They are motivational tools.

Sure, they are purely materialistic tools. Being attracted to bling bling puts you at the same level as a magpie. Name dropping is not much better. But what's wrong with trying out an affected accent? It can make a person feel better and a constant reminder of his or her aspirations.

At the end of the day it all depends on who your role model is. Do you name your child after a saint, or after Sue-Ellen of Dallas?  Do you drop names of intellectuals - or of B-celebrities from a soap? Are you Hyacinth Bucket, Blanche of 'A Tramway named desire' or Rita of 'Educating Rita'?

In other words, are you hilarious, tragic or very nobly longing for a better song?

Are you a vulgar snob, or a stylish one? 

There's nothing wrong with taking on the role of a Snob, just as there is nothing wrong with being a cowboy... it ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it.


1 comment:

  1. Informative, fun, down to earth, keep up the good work!