Snobbery: The American Version
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This was a fantastic book. I'm a snob. If you've got a GoodReads profile, there's a real good chance you're a snob, too. We're all snobs about something: food, culture, music, fashion, lifestyle, etc. "Snobbery" breaks down the why and how behind American snobbery and provides a funny, intelligent read.
What amazed me most was the history of snobbery that Epstein lays out. It had never occurred to me that the U.S. used to have a high Society (with a capital "S") and that times were a ...more
Epstein footnotes both the last two, but dismisses Fussell as an Anglophile snob in one paragraph that ...more
The Snobbery Test: Are you taking pleasure in a thing or activity for itself, or is the pleasure because most people are excluded from it? The Elitist wants the best, the Snob also wants to make sure other people know he has the best.
By taking away the social solidarity of class, getting rid of any true aristocracy, and even by eliminating the society columns, Americans are left with the need to find some way of distinguishing themselves from their fellow countrymen.
We do this by becoming snobs: Job-snobbery, school snobbery, intellec ...more
How quickly the Land of Oz turns to Was."
I think that this epigram expresses perfectly the fickle nature of fame and celebrity. The author does a fine job of trying to define the nature and boundaries of snobbery, and unintentionally (and as it turns out, humorously) engages in grammatical foreshadowing with a nod to the future role of social media and snobbery in these lines:
"I have not till now called for sympathy for the snob, but life over th ...more
These are my heroes, men and women who take often pedestrian subjects and light them with bottle rockets from the inside. I hope to have a literary legacy like theirs someday. And as I practice, I read books...more
Although much of the writing seems frivolous & overwritten (chapter-length 'first world problems'), I did find the midsec ...more
The honesty of the writer got me. Im sure he’ll say, ( with sarcasm), “what honesty?”. Loved the simple sophistication of writing about so many and being able to relate to all readers - I hope! He is going to cause many (me) to examine their degree of snobbery and the reason we are snobs.
You can discover that shade thrown at work, or that insult tossed in Facebook has historical significance. That it has history, depth to it. And also, how to avoid it in yourself. Marvelous reference.
It was an enjoyable book, if you like social commentary, which is essentially all this is. There are relatively few concrete numbers, owing at least in part to the nature of snobbery itself being a som ...more
It's a strange little book. Epstein starts off by cataloging his many dimensions of snobbishness, defined expansively to encompass most of the ways people judge each other as inferior to themselves: as far as could be told, his definition me ...more
Epstein's study of snobbery should be considered a guilty pleasure, replete with snarky little personal stories. His main premise is snobbery is a strangely unique phenomenon created by Americans. Our democracy gives us countless outlets to compare and judge our fellow humans. In past societies there were certainly social stratas filled with their nouveau and bourgeoisie. But the change ...more
With the rise of egalitarianism, class lines are more blurred, social mobility is up, and thus jockeying for social status becomes more pronounced.
For one class to envy another, they have to be close enough to be compared.
Snobbery will die on the day when none of us need reassurance of his or her worth.
The crux of good manners is in behaving the same way to all.
Moral snobs (virtucrats) strive to convince you that their positi ...more
I found a lot of truth in this book. "reverse snobbery" really hit me, and describes me perfectly from ages 16-17. Snobbery is me from age 22-25. Now, I'm just trying to be me. Here's the quote that REALLY hit me:
"Time to see the world, as the philosophers put it, as in iteself it really is, which snobbery even in small doses, makes ...more