Do you look down on other people’s tastes?
Are you an opera fan who thinks country music is not only too twangy but lowbrow and hideously nasal?
Or are you a country music fan who scoffs at opera as boring, pompous and probably enjoyed mostly by old deaf people?
Are you a lover of hip-hop music who almost upchucks at the very thought of anybody who actually enjoys opera, country music, rock or, least of all, Lithuanian zither tunes?
Frankly, what’s it to you if other people enjoy a style of amusement you dislike? Nobody’s holding a gun on you demanding that you love what they love. So be nice. Put a sock in it (but not one of those ugly argyle socks).
I encountered an example of a snooty mindset the other day in a review by British writer Kate Muir of the new movie musical “Les Misérables.”
“You cannot help but applaud (director Tom Hooper),” she said, “for this brave attempt, which will probably please fans of ‘Glee’ and Susan Boyle everywhere.”
Wow! She suggests that Hooper’s movie is something that nobody but the culturally constipated fans of the television show “Glee” or a mere talent show winner like Susan Boyle would appreciate.
How come she and so many other critics, amateur and professional, do that? People who make snide remarks about other people’s pleasures believe a given type of entertainment is wrong.
It’s one thing to say some art form is not your cup of tea. It’s another to suggest that people who like certain kinds of music or television shows are duds because they lack the sensibilities of a high quality person like you – an elitist who rejects other people’s fun.
Choices of music and movies and art and cooking are matters of individual taste, not marks of superiority. There’s nothing right or wrong about things like that.
For instance, which kind of pie is right and which kind is wrong? When I sat down with the family to Christmas dinner, there on the buffet was apple pie and pumpkin pie. I prefer pumpkin pie. Others like apple better. Several of us had some of each and nobody said, “Get that apple pie out of here. It’s so common. It’s wrong, you tasteless dullard.”
I admit, just as a matter of personal preference, intending no insult to you, that I’m a little twitchy about people who drink buttermilk. Oddly enough, my own mother loved buttermilk. I don’t understand that. She seemed such a decent person.
But of course, a buttermilk phobia was my problem, not hers. I had been born with my father’s underdeveloped buttermilk appreciation genes.
But don’t look down on anyone with questionable taste buds. My mother has always been a thoroughly kind and lawful person, no matter what strange deviations from conventional habits she may have had. We have paid our taxes, mowed our lawns, painted our houses and tried mightily not to look down on anybody else, even if that involves bizarre foods like buttermilk.
Oh sure. I am aware that many people are laughing behind my back that I occasionally eat slimy things like okra. But what’s it to you, Mr. Snooty and Miss Perfect?
My parents taught me not to judge the dinners and snacks of other people because we are all weird in some ways. We all know deep down that there is no such thing as a wrong pie.
But there is such a thing as wrong.
Snooty sniffing at other people’s pleasures is wrong. There’s nothing lower class than looking down on the joy of others.Bill Hall can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 1012 Prospect Ave., Lewiston, ID 83501