If I have been accused of snobbery, it’s only because I’m guilty.
Beer snob, movie snob, grammar snob, whatever, I have no defense. Oh, I suppose I could justify every one of these prejudices of quality, but eventually I just stopped making an effort. In the end, I decided it’s perfectly all right to be a snob (if you spell it “alright,” I think less of you), as long as you aren’t a dick about it.
That means not belittling someone because he orders a Budweiser or watches Adam Sandler movies or gets the nominative and objective case mixed up. As long as you’re not his editor, it doesn’t fall to you to fix any of those things. That doesn’t mean you can’t entice your pal with a nice microbrew or try to turn him on to the films of Lee Chang-dong or suggest he correct the error you spot on his resume, as long as you’re not wobbling your head and looking down your nose while you do it.
This point comes home to me now and then when someone else is a snob to me. Sure, I like artsy films, but I also dig B-movies, and I bristle when someone talks down to me when she finds out I love the Universal horror monsters or comic books. Then I think of the Twilight fans I’ve mocked in past and feel ashamed. We like what we like, and making someone feel small for liking something you despise doesn’t embiggen you in the least.
So I’ve given up on trying not to be a snob, but I do try (and sometimes fail) not to be a dick.
Can you think of something about which you are (or were) a snob? Are there fields in which you’ve been both a snob and the subject of snobbery? Is there any legitimate reason we still think in terms of “high” and “low” art? Or are those categories of class inevitable and unassailable?