Snobbery*

“I’m a coffee snob. Starbucks tastes like crap, and if you drink it, I’m laughing at you.”

“You listen to One Direction? Gross.”

“I’m super kinky. If you’re vanilla, you must be a boring, lifeless person. Sorry.”

“You say you like My Little Pony, but you collect VINTAGE ones and have only seen season one of Friendship is Magic? Poser.”

“You’re not a gamer if you haven’t played x and y. Noob.”

“You’ve watched Game of Thrones, but not read the books? You know nothing.”

“Fantasy? Really? Why don’t you read a real book?”

You all still with me? I’m sure you could come up with more examples. Whether it’s fashion or food, comics or current events, pop culture or ponies, you meet them everywhere.

Snobs. People who judge and exclude those who know less than them, whose tastes are less sophisticated, who haven’t been members of the community for as long, or who don’t enjoy the same experiences. If you mention that you’ve never read that book, or say you like something they consider beneath them, you get the derisive snort and the eye-roll.

I grew up thinking that snobs were rich people who refused to eat Kraft Dinner. Maybe they are, but there are snobs everywhere, at every income level.

And I’m getting sick of it.

I get it, I do. I’m guilty of it myself, have been for years. Excluding other people makes us feel better about ourselves, doesn’t it? A club’s not exclusive if just anyone can join, and we all want to be a part of something special. And what’s worse than having an interest in something, investing time and money into that interest, and then having these effing noobs stinking the place up with their ignorance, calling themselves blank-keteers when they’re TOTALLY NOT EVEN?

Oh, and there are LEVELS of snobbery. There’s a guy who only likes coffee from his Keurig and cries if he can only get regular brewed, but then there’s ANOTHER guy who refuses to use any beans that aren’t fresh-ground, and someone else who thinks THAT GUY’S grinder is a waste of space… you can never win. Never.

“You have a CASUAL interest in music, and listen to Top 40 radio? You drink Tetley? How adorable. Gag. I’m off to listen to Stealth Gingerbread feat. Giraffes on a Trampoline while I sip this green tea I just had shipped in from… oh, you wouldn’t have heard of it. Or them.”

“You’re looking for an agent because you want a contract with a big publisher? Pfft. I’m with a small press, and you’re a sheep.”

“You supplemented with formula? Sorry, I’m a huge lactivist. I can’t spend time with someone who hates babies.”

“You call yourself a writer. You write stories, but you’re not consumed by them to the point where you would rather DIE than not write? *snort* Whatever, not-writer person.”

The internet is a fantastic tool that allows us to meet people we wouldn’t have otherwise, who share our interests and we can have fun with. There are open, supportive communities out there, and I’ve made some good friends through them. But it can also allow us to become so absorbed in these groups of people who think like us that we forget there are others who think differently, who don’t agree that our interests are the most fascinating things in the world, and who maybe don’t care if their coffee comes from a can. When we do remember these poor souls, we think that our group is better than them because OF COURSE IT IS.

I’m not against interests. I’m not against communities and groups. I hope they thrive and grow…

…and I hope that some day we’ll all grow up and stop being snobs about the things we love. That we’ll learn to be passionate and enthusiastic about them, and eager to share what we love without making outsiders feel small for not knowing anything about them.

“You liked Twilight? It wasn’t my cup of tea, but I’m glad you enjoyed reading it. Say, if you’re into vampires, you should check out  ______. Her characters are amazing, and she really has an original approach when it comes to…”**

“You’ve never heard of Stealth Gingerbread? They’re pretty obscure… but they’re great, I think you might like them! Look up the song “Hire a Goat for That” on YouTube, let me know what you think.”

“Yeah, I love coffee. You know, injecting Maxwell House into your eyeballs will get you your caffeine fix, but you should try (insert brewing process here). The flavour is fantastic! No? Well, just putting it out there, if you’re ever interested.”

“Oh, I see you dunked that customized doll in a bowl of mod podge and re-haired her with steel wool. You know, when I need to seal paint, I’ve found that _____ is much less glommy. Let me know if you need a tutorial, I have some on Pinterest.”

Why chase people away from the things that we love when we have a fantastic opportunity to include people and share our passions? Why look down on people who like different things when it’s all a matter of taste and preference? Why make people feel stupid for knowing less than us when it’s so easy to share what we know?

A lot of us seem to think that knowing a lot about a specific pop culture THING (or health fad, or whatever) makes us SUPER SPESHUL. Newsflash: It doesn’t. It just means we have something interesting to share, and a reason to be friends with people who also love that thing. Great! But if we act like it makes us better than everyone else, that just makes us snobs. I’m starting to realize that that’s the least special thing I could possibly be. From now on, I’m going to try to use my interests to build people up, not to exclude them. And if they’re not interested? That’s fine. Maybe there’s something I can learn about from them.

And as for the snobs? You can all send your n0oOOo0bs and fake geeks and drinkers-of-instant and readers-of-whatever over here to sit with me. We’ll have a fantastic time, trying new things without you. Next time you turn up your nose at something we love or find amusing, we’re going to laugh it off and refuse to let you make us feel small.

Loser.***

So tell me: Have you ever judged someone for not appreciating something that’s important to you? I have. Have you ever felt excluded for being new or uninformed? I’ve experienced that, too. Most importantly, what amazing thing do you know about that you want to share with the world?

*No direct quotes were used in the writing of this post, and no specific people were referenced.

**Yes, this is going to be tough for some.

*** I’M KIDDING. Jeez…

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About Kate Sparkes

Kate Sparkes was born in Hamilton, Ontario, but now resides in Newfoundland, where she tries not to talk too much about the dragons she sees in the fog. She lives with a Mountie, two kids who take turns playing Jeckyll and Hyde, two cats, an intentional boxer and an accidental chihuahua. She's the author of the bestselling Bound Trilogy (mature YA Fantasy). www.katesparkes.com View all posts by Kate Sparkes

24 responses to “Snobbery*

  • sknicholls

    I used to be a wine snob…I knew a great deal about good wines….in those days…but years passed, and wines change with the years. Now I just know whether it is affordable or not, and it’s all good. Cheers! From an ex snob.

  • Emily Witt

    This is a post of awesome. Just saying.

  • Emily Witt

    Reblogged this on A Keyboard and an Open Mind and commented:
    People waste way too much energy looking down at others. Maybe we could follow some of Kate’s suggestions for a change.

  • todaycoupons

    Great post! I love this take on things… we should all strive to be more open, inclusive, and accepting. I hope I’ve never done these things… but perhaps I have. (I was an R.E.M. snob back in the day!)

    • Kate Sparkes

      We’ve all done it. Congratulations on moving past that. 😉

      (And doesn’t looking back on old snobberies make you realize how silly new ones probably are? Nothing against REM, but I’m currently trying not to judge my past self for that NKOTB obsession…)

  • kathils

    What? You don’t like snobs? But they’re the best and anybody that doesn’t agree doesn’t know what they’re talking about…

    Um…dang it, left myself logged in and the monkeys took over. They haven’t been the same since visiting ReGi. In all seriousness, I tend to catch myself being a bit snobby about certain things, but only to certain people, not everyone. I would never be snobby to you. 🙂 Great post.

  • francisguenette

    I was an absolute literary snob for years – would only read books that were award winners of some type – would never lower myself to read ‘popular fiction’ etc. etc. I don’t regret immersing myself in great literature. What I regret was acting so unbearably pompous about it all. Well – older and wiser. Great post.

  • jenniferkmarsh

    Wonderful message in this post. It is something everyone should strive towards.

  • Gloria Weber

    Reminds me of last year. Our tax guy basically said the fact I like Doctors 9 and up was horrible. That it isn’t real science fiction and that I should stop watching that and watch the old Doctor Who episodes instead. Then he went to pigeon hole anime all as battles and shouting special moves.

    In general, I actually avoid fandoms even if I am a fan, because I know snobbery exists. I don’t want to possibly invite such negativity into my life. Thus, I sometimes feel very isolated in my likes.

    • Kate Sparkes

      Um, what the heck, tax guy?! Who even does that in a professional setting? Be a jerk on your own time, dude…

      I agree about fandoms. I’m not actively involved in any right now, either. A well-moderated community can be a great place to geek out, but even then you can’t avoid the cliques and in-fighting.

      • Gloria Weber

        He isn’t a bad guy, just definitely needs to learn to be more “political” when addressing his clients.

        Oh, my, yes! The cliques and in-fighting are more negativity I don’t want. I think I had enough of that in high school. 😉

        • Kate Sparkes

          That’s good to know. I don’t think I could taxify with someone I thought was a big meanie-pants. 🙂

          And yeah, please, no more high school! My class was actually pretty good about all of that, especially my group of friends. But still…

  • Karin

    Love this post! I was unintentionally snobby for years (after being intentionally snobby through junior high school). I thought I learned my lesson, but I lately what I have learned is that life is a journey and understanding others is a process. Thanks for the reminder to be more considerate. I am still a work in progress…. 🙂

    • Kate Sparkes

      I think we all are. I know there are things I still look down on people for, even if I hate myself for it. First step is to keep my mouth shut, second step is to really listen to them… Not sure what comes after that. Sometimes “live and let live” might be the best we can do. Like you said, it’s a process. None of us are perfect.

      • Karin

        Before my husband and I were married, we received a piece of practical advice: to assume the best in others (and especially in each other). It has helped me, too, as I try to accept others in spite of and because of our differences. Like you said in your post, we can learn so much from others! 🙂 Maybe the key is letting ourselves be open to the journey?

  • L. Marie

    Preach it! We humans do tend to put each other down, don’t we? I’ve heard so many negative comments. “You write for children? You’re not a real writer unless you write for adults.” Yet these same adults HAVE children and shop for quality books FOR their children. Exclusivity never makes anyone look good, including the one excluding others.

  • Kate Sparkes

    Reblogged this on disregard the prologue and commented:

    Hey, guys! I’m going to start doing Throwback Thursday posts here. I’ve posted a lot of things over the past few years that deserve to see the light of day again, and this is one of them. I still stand by this. I’m happier promoting what I love than I am making people feel inferior for loving what I hate.

  • patgarcia

    Yes to both questions. I try to be open nowadays and not be quick to judge. As for being excluded, I’m learning that it is not a problem with me, but with the others. I don’t have to be a part of everything.
    Shalom,
    Pat

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