Monday, March 29, 2010


I've always thought of myself as a bit of a snob. Mr Musacha says that anyone who'll save 10 bucks by sleeping on a floor or bunking up with starving college students can't consider themselves a snob but so I always have. I do have some seriously snobby taste after all. But I've recently discovered that there are obviously several types of snobs. Here's an illustrative example and - hurrah - it includes books which is one of my favorite topics.

So my book club read Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood last month. I thought it was very well written with great characters but boring. The book itself is irrelevant to my example other than its genre: science fiction. I love science fiction* so this wasn't the first scifi book I've brought home from the library. However, it was the first scifi book for one of the other members. She made several joking but serious comments about how she didn't even know where the scifi section in the library was, etc and made it pretty clear she found the whole genre sub-par as far as books go. She would never have picked up this book if not for book club and couldn't believe she liked it so much, blah, blah... In fact, I believe her exact words were "I never read scifi because it's all about rocket ships and people living on mars and I prefer books with characters." Oh holy fuck! How much is wrong with that statement????

(*actually I love pretty much everything. a good book is a good book and I certainly don't let something like categorization come between me and good books.)

Wrong the first: "I NEVER read scifi." Then, pray tell, how the shit do you know what the books are about?

Wrong the second: "I prefer books with characters." Please explain to me how you got the impression that a book would not feature characters? How would that even work? Even if the protags were all bacteria, dogs, robots or picnic baskets would they not still be characters?

Wrong the third: The absolute disregard for an entire genre without trying it and basing that disregard on willful ignorance. What the fuck?

So me being me I immediately worked to correct such a stupid description of science fiction explaining that there are many kinds of science fiction and you can find almost every type of story you might want within the genre. This, I fear, fell on deaf ears. But then, as the discussion of the book progressed, it just got worse. This very same member kept going on and on about all these wonderful parts of the book. So fine, that's lovely, that's the point of the book club. But almost all the things she brought up were hallmarks of scifi stories. I actually think she was looking at me a little squinty because I wasn't just all kinds of impressed with such things. I was like, sure I am, they're very nice but they're not new to me. This is science fiction. It's the whole point. Course I tried to sound nice and reasonable and explain why I thought she might like other scifi books because of what she liked in Oryx and Crake but, again, deaf ears. Apparently since it was Atwood it had special dispensation from being considered genuine scifi. whatever.

Ok, so what is that? I mean, whoa! Total snob, right? But it's different from my snobbery - I abhor willful ignorance in all its manifestations - so what kind of snobbery is it?

If she had said she didn't read scifi because she is not such a fan of futuristic environments as part of her stories or that many of the classics marginalize women or any number of other legitimate characteristics of scifi then I wouldn't think a thing of it. But really??? Forming an opinion with no base and then, in the face of information clearly to the contrary (not just my helpful info -heh- but the very book we just read), not even entertaining the idea that scifi might not be what she thinks it is? Grrr! Grrr!!!!!

My inadequate answer to my own question is that it's the prejudiced kind of snob which I am going to call a SNUB. Not only because it's already a fun word but I figure taking the 'u' out of prejudice and throwing it into snob can count as coming up with a new word for this type of person.

So do you know any snubs? How do they press your buttons?

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